media bias - ... media bias things to look for . . . visual evidence of bias bias...

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  • Media Bias

    The media serves as GATEKEEPERS.

    That is, among the hundreds of important news stories which occur each day, they have to

    select a sample of them to show their viewers and decide how much coverage in terms of time

    to devote.

    This in-and-of-itself is not nefarious bias.

    However, it is a process which can open up the media to opportunities to try to pass along

    certain liberal/conservative views.

  • Media Bias

    Things to look for . . . Visual Evidence of Bias

    Bias through selection and omission

    Bias through placement

    Bias by headline

    Bias through a lack of context

    Bias through use of stereotypes

    Bias by word choice and tone

    Bias by photo, captains and camera angle

    Bias through use of names and titles

    Bias through statistics and crowd counts

    Bias through source control

    Do headlines and stories match?

    Subtle Evidence of Bias

    ▪ Donations by reporters to political ideology ▪ Donations by parent company (which owns media outlet) to political ideology.

    Tools for measuring and evaluating media bias

    Richard Alan Nelson's study on Tracking Propaganda to the Source: Tools for Analyzing Media Bias (2004)

    reports there are at least 12 methods used to analyze the existence of and quantify bias:

    1. Surveys of the political/cultural attitudes of journalists, particularly members of the media elite, and of journalism students.

    2. Studies of journalists' previous professional connections. 3. Collections of quotations in which prominent journalists reveal their beliefs

    about politics and/or the proper role of their profession.

    4. Computer word-use and topic analysis searches to determine content and labeling.

    5. Studies of policies recommended in news stories. 6. Comparisons of the agenda of the news and entertainment media with agendas

    of political candidates or other activists.

    7. Positive/negative coverage analysis. 8. Reviews of the personal demographics of media decision makers. 9. Comparisons of advertising sources/content which influence

    information/entertainment content.

    10. Analyses of the extent of government propaganda and public relations (PR) industry impact on media.

    11. Studies of the use of experts and spokespersons etc. by media vs. those not selected to determine the interest groups and ideologies represented vs. those


    12. Research into payments of journalists by corporations and trade associations to speak before their groups and the impact that may have on coverage.

  • How to identify fake news sites

    First, know the different types of misleading and false news

    1. Fake news

    These are the easiest to debunk and often come from known sham sites that are designed to look like real

    news outlets. They may include misleading photographs and headlines that, at first read, sound like they

    could be real.

    2. Misleading news

    These are the hardest to debunk, because they often contain a kernel of truth: A fact, event or quote that has

    been taken out of context. Look for sensational headlines that aren't supported by the information in the


    3. Highly partisan news

    A type of misleading news, this may be an interpretation of a real news event where the facts are

    manipulated to fit an agenda.

    4. Clickbait

    The shocking or teasing headlines of these stories trick you into clicking for more information -- which may

    or may not live up to what was promised.

    5. Satire

    This one is tough, because satire doesn't pretend to be real and serves a purpose as commentary or

    entertainment. But if people are not familiar with a satire site, they can share the news as if it is legitimate.

    Second, hone your fact-checking skills

    For starters, here are 10 questions you should ask if something looks fake:

    A. Does the story come from a strange url? B. Does the headline match the information in the article? C. Is it a recent story, or an old one that has been re-purposed? D. Are the supporting videos or photos verifiable? E. Does the article cite primary sources? F. Does the story feature quotes, and are they tracible? G. Is it the only outlet reporting the story? H. Is your own bias getting in the way? (consider ‘confirmation bias’) I. Has it been debunked by a reputable fact-checking organization?

    This study found evidence that conservatives were more likely to perceive media bias than liberals, but that both

    conservatives and liberals detected bias in media outlets that leaned against their political perspectives.

    Fake News Sites (Designed to be deceptive)

  • Generalized Political Leanings, c.January 2017

    Far Left

    (advocating for liberal position with minimal weak counterpoints; borders on propaganda)


    Larry King


    (focus on liberal position, with weak counterpoints and limited advocating of that position)

    CNN with Don Lemon

    ABC World News Tonight

    NBC Nightly News


    NPR National Public Radio

    New York Times

    Center / Moderate

    (reasonable balance between the both ideologies most of the time on most topics)

    CNN with Anderson Cooper

    PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer

    PBS Washington Week

    ABC Good Morning America


    (focus on conservative position, with weak counterpoints and limited advocating of that position)

    Fox Special Report with Brit Hume

    Drudge Report

    Newsweek Magazine

    Wall Street Journal

    Christian Science Monitor

    Washington Times

    New York Post

    Washington Post

    Far Right

    (advocating for conservative position with minimal weak counterpoints; borders on propaganda)

    Fox News with Bill O’Reilly

    Fox News with Glenn Beck

    American Spectator

    Weekly Standard

    Breitbart News

    Donations by employees to political parties… (c.2010)

    Are forbidden at: Are allowed at: No formal policy:

    ABC Fox News Washington Post

    CBS Forbes Magazine Boston Globe

    CNN Time Washington Times

    NPR New Yorker USA Today

    Newsweek Reuter

    New York Times Bloomberg News

    NBC & MSNBC Reuters

    Atlantic US News and World Report

    Dow Jones

  • Donations from certain companies

    (some information needs to be further completed)

  • Results of a survey of Reuters reporting (2003)

    Named subject

    1. In violent acts against Israelis, the Palestinians agent is named in 33% of the headlines 2. In violent acts by the Palestinians, the Israeli agent is names in 100% of the headlines. 3. Moreover, Israel is always emphasized by appearing as the first word in the headline

    Named object

    1. In violent acts against Israeli, causalities are labeled “Israeli” in 11% of the headlines 2. In violent acts against Palestinians, casualties are labeled “Palestinian” or “Hamas” in 50% of the headlines.

    If “Militant” is considered as a Palestinian-specific team, the figure raises to 71% of the headlines

    Verb Selection

    1. Violent acts by Palestinians are described with “active voice” verbs in 33% of the headlines. 2. Violent acts by Israelis are described with “active voice” verbs in 100% of the headlines

    “Israeli Troops Shoot Dead Palestinian in West Bank”

    “Israeli Tank Kills 3 Militants in Gaza – Witnesses”

    “New West Bank Shooting Mars Truce”

    “Bus Blows Up in Central Jerusalem”

    To describe diplomatic events, Reuters consistently grants Palestinian statements neutral or pleading language, while

    Israeli positions are described in uncompromising, aggressive terms.

    “Palestinian Islamic Militants Declare Truce”

    “Israel Pours Scorn on Cease-Fire with Militants”

    “Palestinians Urge Israel to Free Prisoners”

    “Israel Sets Tough Terms for Prisoner Release”

    Possible Headlines (which is real?)

    A. “Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem”

    B. “Car slams into east Jerusalem train station”

    C. “Palestinian kills baby at Jerusalem station”

    Israeli named as perpetrator; Palestinian

    named as victim; Described in active voice.

    Palestinian not named as perpetrator; Israeli

    not named as victim; Shooting described in

    passive voice

    A Real Press Report:

    JERUSALEM (AP) – A Palestinian motorist with a

    history of anti-Israeli violence slammed his car into a

    crowded train station in Jerusalem on Wednesday,

    killing a three-month old baby girl and wounding eight

    people in what police called a terror attack.

    The incident came after months of tensions between

    Jews and Palestinians in east Jerusalem – the section of

    the city claimed by the Palestinians as their future

    capital. The area has experienced unrest and near-

    daily attacks on the city’s light rail by Palestinian

    youths since a w