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Evaluating News: "Fake News" and Beyond: Point of View

About Point of View and Bias

Just because you don't agree with something does not make it "fake news." In fact, it is a very important part of the research process to explore information that contradicts your personal beliefs or values. See the tips below for information on determining point of view and detecting bias in various types of media.

Point of View

Magazines, newspapers, broadcasters and organizations may have a reputation for being politically left or right. They may be associated with a particular political party, religious movement, or they may have a one-issue cause (environmentalists). Some media outlets readily acknowledge a bias while others have unacknowledged bias, and still others strive to present a variety of viewpoints.

Bias is neither positive or negative but indicates the filters through which a source may interpret the information they present. Individual contributors to any of the media outlets or organizations listed below may not conform to the source’s label. Evaluate each document within a source for the individual author’s point of view.

Detecting Bias

When deciding if a source is being objective about the information presented, look for some of the following techniques used to convince readers that what they are reading is fact when it may not be:

  1. Persuasive (“loaded”) language—using words and sentences that solicit a positive or negative response from the reader or that lead the reader to a specific conclusion.
  2. Misquoting a source—this often happens in the media when reporters reword, paraphrase, or manipulate a statement or source’s information.
  3. Selective facts—taking information out of context or selective use of data—picking only information that supports the argument and leaving out the rest.
  4. Distortion or stretching the facts—making issues more extreme by using misinformation or exaggeration.
  5. Flawed research—basing a claim on too small a sample, manipulating statistics, using “fuzzy science” or “bad math,” failing to report contrary conclusions from other scientists.

Media Bias Chart

This Media Bias Chart from Vanessa Otero is a great visualization of media sources and where they fall in regards to bias on the political spectrum as well as journalistic quality.

Bias Among News Media

ABC News (leans left)
Associated Press (centrist)
BBC News (centrist)
Bloomberg (centrist)
CBS News (leans left)
CNBC (centrist)
CNN Web News (centrist)
C-SPAN (centrist)
FOX News (right)
MSNBC (left)
NBC News (leans left)
NPR (centrist)
PBS Newshour (centrist)
PRI (centrist)
Reuters (centrist)

American Spectator (right)
Atlantic (leans left)
Chicago Tribune Newspaper (centrist)
Christian Science Monitor (centrist)
Economist (leans left)
Guardian Newspaper-UK (leans left)
Los Angeles Times Newspaper (leans left)
Mother Jones (left)
Nation (left)
National Review (right)
New Republic (left)
New York Daily News Newspaper (left)
New York Post Newspaper (right)
New York Times Newspaper (leans left)
Newsweek (leans left)
Time Magazine (left)
USA Today Newspaper (centrist)
US News and World Report Magazine (leans left)
Wall Street Journal Newspaper (centrist)
Washington Post Newspaper (leans left)
Weekly Standard (right)

Brookings Institution (progressive)
Cato Institute (libertarian)
Center for American Progress (liberal/progressive)
Center for Economic Policy and Research (progressive)
Guttmacher Institute (liberal)
Heritage Foundation (conservative)
Hoover Institution (conservative/libertarian)
Human Rights Watch (liberal)
Kaiser Family Foundation (centrist)
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (conservative)
Pew Research Center (centrist)
Public Citizen (liberal-consumer advocacy)
RAND Corporation (centrist)
Urban Institute (liberal)

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