Media Bias Fact Checks

Events occurring and how they relate/affect Anabaptist faith and culture.
Bootstrap
Posts: 2302
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:59 am
Affiliation: Kingdom Christian

Media Bias Fact Checks

Postby Bootstrap » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:54 pm

I'm looking for media bias fact checks that are (1) fairly objective, (2) nonpartisan, and (3) easy for most people to apply. Here's one that looks good to me:

Media Bias Fact Check

  • Biased Wording/Headlines: Does the source use loaded words to convey emotion to sway the reader. Do headlines match the story.
  • Factual/Sourcing: Does the source report factually and back up claims with well sourced evidence.
  • Story Choices: Does the source report news from both sides or do they only publish one side.
  • Political Affiliation: How strongly does the source endorse a particular political ideology? In other words how extreme are their views. (This can be rather subjective)


I like these categories because I suspect that people with different political leanings could still look at the same article and come to reasonably good agreement on how to rate various articles using these criteria, and the categories aren't biased toward any particular political agenda. I also think these categories can help you learn to read intelligently, knowing when you should be suspicious of an article. (Of course, knowing how good the sourcing is requires some expertise, and takes time, but the rest is straightforward.)

This website rates various publications and places them into categories, using a reasonably clear methodology. Here are the categories they use:

  • Left Bias
  • Left-Center Bias
  • Least Biased
  • Right-Center Bias
  • Right Bias
  • Pro-Science
  • Conspiracy-Pseudoscience
  • Questionable Sources
  • Satire

They also let you read current news from publications representing various kinds of bias.

  • Top World News
  • Least Biased News
  • Left News
  • Left-Center News
  • Right-Center News
  • Right News
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Josh
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Re: Media Bias Fact Checks

Postby Josh » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:35 am

Does this site bother to disclose what their own biases are? A quick glance shows they seem to have a bit of their own bias.

It gets wearying how people on the left act like they have a monopoly on truth / facts.
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Bootstrap
Posts: 2302
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:59 am
Affiliation: Kingdom Christian

Re: Media Bias Fact Checks

Postby Bootstrap » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:54 am

Josh wrote:Does this site bother to disclose what their own biases are? A quick glance shows they seem to have a bit of their own bias.

It gets wearying how people on the left act like they have a monopoly on truth / facts.


I don't think either side of the political spectrum has a monopoly on truth / facts. But if we care about truth and facts, why not focus on the facts, and avoid emotional claims or appeals to left versus right? Focusing on facts gives us common ground to discuss.

I think their "bias" is clearly spelled out in their methodology. Their methodology is biased toward stories that do not use loaded emotional words to sway the reader, stories where the headline matches the story, stories that report facts and back them up with evidence, report news from both sides instead of publishing just one side of a story, and do not use their reporting to endorse a particular political ideology. The person who runs the site is registered as a non-affiliated voter, not a member of a political party.

They acknowledge that this is inherently subjective, but also claim that they have reviewers across the political spectrum, and that they have pretty good agreement when they rate an article. From their FAQ:

Are your ratings objective?

All sources are rated objectively using our methodology which calculates a score. However, every source on this website has been reviewed by a human being, who certainly does have bias. This means that a different reviewer using our methodology may come up with a slightly different score. Our testing has concluded that people from different political affiliations have similar scores once they understand how to apply the methodology. So, the answer is ratings are somewhat subjective.


And that's one of the things that I find attractive. To me, it looks like a simple test that people can learn to use, and would probably agree on - at least much of the time - across the political spectrum.

You are wrong! Why is (such and such) source in this category?

We use the same methodology to evaluate every source. We freely publish the methodology so that anyone can rate sources on their own. Reading bias is quite subjective based on the individual readers own biases. We use a team approach to combat this. We suggest you try our methodology on the source in question before declaring it wrong or labeling MBFC as left or right bias. The fact that we get accused of both probably means we are doing a good job.


If you have a source where you disagree with their label, could you try rating it on their scale?

And I think this is relevant:

I’ve seen negative articles written about MBFC. Why is that?

It is simple. Highly biased websites that are not always factual don’t like us exposing them. Since we back our ratings with evidence they don’t really have any recourse other than to discredit our website and ratings. We fully expect this, but are confident the readers of this website will be able to look at the source, our ratings, and decide for themselves who is credible.


They publish their method, why not try it on some sources and see where you agree or disagree? Or if you know more objective ways to measure bias, can you share them?
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