Is Your News Source Biased?

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I daresay most of us read or listen to “the news” most everyday. In fact, some might even describe themselves as being a “news junkie” — while others simply keep up with with current events via headlines in the local paper or TV newscasts.

I would describe myself as being in the middle. I do check the latest headlines on my computer a couple of times each day, and I also read entire stories or articles that either affect me personally or that I find interesting. Or upsetting.

One of the news sources that I especially like is NPR. According to this website, they have one of the highest ratings in factual reporting (VERY HIGH). However, I must be totally honest. The website also states NPR leans slightly left.

Overall, we rate NPR (National Public Radio) Left-Center Biased based on story selection that leans slightly left and Very High for factual reporting due to thorough sourcing and very accurate news reporting.

Even so, in a nation with news sources that are notably either hard-left or hard-right in their reporting, it’s refreshing to find one that only leans slightly left.

But beyond their (slight) partiality, the really important part to me is NPR’s reputation for accurate news reporting — meaning they aren’t coloring the news to promote their bias.

We all know that partisanship is a major factor in politics — and when it comes to what we read and/or listen to, most of us tend to choose the news source that supports our personal position.

As a result, it can sometimes be a bit unnerving when we come across a news story that goes against our leanings … only to discover what we’re reading or hearing is not only accurate, but neutral. In other words, the news source has not “taken sides” but is simply sharing something they believe their readers will find interesting …or “newsworthy.”

Of course, in order to have confidence that what we’re reading is truly neutral, we need to do a bit of research. This means being open to other sources of information that may (or may not) coincide with our personal opinion.

I urge readers to visit the Media Bias/Fact Check website and take a look at a listing of news sources that are considered to be the “least biased.” Then while you’re there, check out the news sources that you tend to favor and see where they rank.

If you’re up to it, share with the rest of us the news source(s) you personally prefer.

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Image by torstensimon from Pixabay

21 thoughts on “Is Your News Source Biased?

  1. I have generally liked NPR as a news source. And yes, I do donate to my local NPR station.

    The supposedly left-wing news sources are not nearly as left wing as the political right likes to claim. But they do tend to be biased toward the dramatic — I guess that sells more advertising.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Even here in far away Australia I listen to NPR (it is rebroadcast on ABC radios News Radio). I was actually reflecting the other day that it appears to be one of the few news sources that at least tries to be objective. So many news sources appear to have to be apologetically pushing an agenda.

    I find that objectivity tends to be in the eye of the beholder. I was reading twitter comments on a CBS News report about a legal case involving Oberlin College. The comments were interesting for their disparate views. some were lauding the reporter foe fair reporting, whilst others were saying that it was a terribly biased report and they would never watch CBS again. What is obvious is that both of those views cannot be correct.

    Has the media changed or is it our perception of the media? Maybe both, nut I suspect more the former.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Peter! You’ve been missed!

      I tend to think it’s a bit of both as related to the media, but like you, I lean towards the media as the culprit. I’m sure you know the old saying … money talks.

      The thing that bothers me the most is when people “quote” the media as though it’s “Truth” when, in actuality, the article/story simply supports what that person believes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Nan, I should added an ‘un’ before apologetically above.

        I must admit to becoming increasingly disillusioned about the media. In the US it seems that much of the media is trying to promote division rather than bring about unity. I have noted that some mainstream sources like New York Times and Washington Post are both selective in only publishing certain types of stories (the ones that fit their narrative) and putting a particular spin on those stories.

        I am someone who leans to the right in politics and thus would be out of line with most that comment on this sight (I should add I have no time for Trump he is a narcissist sociopath). As an older hetrosexual white man I feel so vilified in much of the media now a days. Many will no doubt respond that I am being over sensitive, but if society keeps calling a group racist, sexist and homophobic (when most are not) then expect these folk to gravitate to those who don’t demonize and judge them without knowing them (labeling people who disagree with ‘woke’ ideology a Nazi is particularly offensive).

        Sorry Nan, I am running off at the mouth. I am actually a very mild mannered person, but I just point out if I am feeling so alienated by much of the media I wonder how it must affect others.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Hi Peter, as an older white heterosexual male I would think you know whether you deserve the name “Nazi” or not, and if you do not deserve it, it would roll off your back like water. This is not a word I use, unless I’m talking about WWII, but there are those who walk amongst us that want to be called nazis. It makes them proud to be white, and heterosexual, though I bet there are those who are homosexual or bisexual hiding in their ranks.
          I know if you take things like this personally you may get upset, but really, if you have no use for Trump or his Pets, you should know it is not you who is being insulted.

          Like

        • Using words like “white” or male” in a derogatory or dismissive way is something I see too often on left-leaning news sites, and yes, that is insulting to those entire groups (and is often pretty obviously meant to be so), not just to those among them who hold particular political views.

          Like

  3. There is no realistic option except to read a variety of sources. Mainstream left-wing sources aren’t off in a completely unreal parallel universe the way the most widely-read right-wing sources are, but they do have their biases. And the main way those biases are expressed is not in the ways stories are covered, but in decisions about what to cover or omit. There are things going on that I would never have known about if I didn’t read at least some sites whose ideological slant I generally consider hostile. That doesn’t mean only right-wing sites. There’s one radical-feminist site I regularly read, for example, which is very negative on issues like pornography and sex work but which has covered in-depth some stories I hardly see mentioned elsewhere.

    A lot of people on the left have this weird attitude of sort of recoiling from reading anything on a right-wing site like Dracula recoiling from a cross. I read RedState and NRO and a whole passel of religious websites all the time. It doesn’t warp my thinking. It is profoundly necessary to get exposure to those kinds of sources, both to keep up with what’s going on among the opposition and to avoid the echo-chamber effect that afflicts so many right-wingers and fundamentalists because they so rigorously avoid ever seeing anything that doesn’t reinforce their existing views.

    Sometimes on the link round-ups on my blog, I get a comment about some particular link from someone who says, “such-and-such is a right-wing site”, as if the person thinks I didn’t know that when I linked to it. Yeah, so what? If the information at the link is accurate, the question they should be asking is “why aren’t any left-wing sites covering that story?”

    That’s not to deny that some stuff is simply worthless and a waste of time to read. I never bother reading creationist “arguments” or global-warming denialist stuff, for example, because I know from experience that they don’t understand what they’re attacking and won’t have anything of value to say. The same goes for the “atheism is a religion” claims or the Brexit-bashers.

    Almost all reporting about science, regardless of a site’s ideological slant, suffers from the ignorance of the people writing it. Almost every report about a new fossil discovery, for example, claims that it will “revolutionize our understanding of evolution” in some way, whereas in fact they almost always fit into the existing theories quite well. And don’t even get me started on the nonsense that clutters up mainstream reporting about “Earthlike” planets in other solar systems. For decent reporting about science, you need to go to actual science websites.

    And no, I don’t trust any one website to decide for me what is or is not biased and in what direction.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I can appreciate your last statement. However, I do feel the website I referenced offers some insight on the type of reporting the various news media is offering. But when push comes to shove, it pretty much boils down to each individual’s “take” on things.

      What brings it all home is the existing climate in today’s world. So many are simply unwilling or unable to accept other viewpoints/possibilities/scenarios. It’s “my way or no way” … and I’m going to fight you with all I have to prove you’re wrong! Of course, in the majority of instances, nothing changes.

      Nevertheless, IMO, I think we gain as individuals when we consider other viewpoints. We don’t have to AGREE, but it does broaden our perspective. And to me … that’s always a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think there is this widespread misunderstanding about objectivity going on in the western media. Objectivity is not about presenting “both” or “multiple” views on any issue. It is about the facts.

    The fact, that politics in the entire western world has lately moved from liberal towards more authoritarianistic, nationalistic and conservative is a direct result of a longer trend of the world becoming more liberal. Liberalism has opened doors for more free markets, more competitive society, wich in turn causes powerty and angxiety and even fear, that causes all sorts of primitive reactions in people, like xenophobia (nationalism), homophobia (conservatism) and religious values to effect policies. The media taps into the concerns people have and that gives more visibility even to the most extreme right-wing talking points. Especially so, when the level of journalistic ananlysis is poor and because most people have a fairly limited ability to evaluate things like right, or wrong on any other terms exept what some authority, or alledged authority, such as a religious leader or a populist politician has put forward as being moral. Hence, even very liberal media, because of their need to have success in the popularity contest, have actually helped all sorts of very counter-liberalist populist politicians.

    The idea of the enlightenment was somewhat, that if people have better tools to evaluate reality around them by having better facts about it, they would also have better judgement on what is good and proper. This is how you make democracy work. Yet, many of the major news agencies, and much of media, wether big or small, does not serve the people with that goal in mind. Sectarian twisting of the facts does not help even if it is a clever way to scam some people. It does not represent some side of objectivity. It is counter objective. Observing opposite sectarian twisted views equally does not sum up as objectivism. It is just a silly mess of twisted views. Not all opinions are equal. Some opinions are based on some facts and some opinions are based on more facts. Objectivity and journalsim requires research of the facts and as many as you possibly can, not just the ones that support the preassumption of the writer, or the reader. But you can bet, that most people are more likely to literally buy their news from the source, that confirms their own preassumptions, be those based on few or many facts.

    People in general have the childish notion, that democracy is about the dictatorship of the majority and that nations are consistent only when they represent a particular demography, religion, or ethnicity. Most people hold certain values, because they were taught as some sort of taboos to them, not because they have even tried to objectively evaluate what they hold dear. The more “religiously” people identify to their cultural taboos, the more right-wing they are likely to be.

    I get my my news mainly from YLE, wich is the Finnish national broadcasting company. I see them fairly objective and reliable, much in the same fashion as the BBC. When I want some deeper analysis, I read a few Finnish magazines from a wide spectrum of politics. I guess, the joke is on me, because looking from Finland both parties in the US seem like right-wing. One is just barely more liberal than the other. We have our religious nutjobs and nationalist extremists, but their news broadcasting is fairly limited to social media sources, that I do not follow. In fact, I hardly follow any social media.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Excellent comment, rautakyy!!

      This — The media taps into the concerns people have — nails it! Whether on the “right” or the “left”, when a person hears or reads something that coincides with their personal take on things, that’s the one they support.

      It’s just too bad that more don’t try to look at BOTH sides and be open to facts and data that don’t affirm their particular viewpoint. But when push comes to shove … how many of us can do that?

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I too rely on NPR’s reporting as well as PBS Newshour and several of PBC’s other shows, e.g. Frontline. I also enjoy and trust the Austin-based The Texas Tribune. As I’ve mentioned to you before as well, I always recommend during important upcoming elections ProCon dot org. However, they cover many controversial issues facing our country, making their invaluable website a goldmine of bipartisan reporting! 🙂

    Here are Media Bias/Fact-Checking’s ratings for The Texas Tribune and ProCon dot org respectively:

    The Texas Tribune:
    Overall, we rate the Texas Tribune Left-Center Biased based on story selection and editorial positions that slightly favor the left. We also rate them High for factual reporting due to proper sourcing and an excellent fact checking record.

    Factual Reporting: HIGH

    ProCon.org:
    Overall, we rate ProCon Least biased based on presenting both sides of issues with minimal bias. We also rate them High for factual reporting due to proper sourcing and a clean fact check record.

    These sources have minimal bias and use very few loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes). The reporting is factual and usually sourced.

    Factual Reporting: HIGH

    Another issue I’ve voiced several times (as you know well Nan 😉 ) regarding the general American news audiences/consumers today versus say 30-years ago or 60-years, 70-years ago has been the ongoing struggle or failure of our public education system being embattled and constantly deterred to teach our elementary, middle, and high school students (past & present) proper, sound critical-analysis or critical-thinking skills and tools… doing it with the reasoning and impartiality you are alluding to here. Personally, over this 70-yr time-span our public school systems and educators have succumbed to two forces:

    1. Public Independent School Districts are subject to STATE-governed “standards” inline with that state’s political party officials, not so much (or at all) cumulative academic consensus—that is now more globalized. This has allowed the DEemphasis of critical curriculum subjects as advanced mathematics, all sciences, HISTORY (that is full contextual!), logic, all the fine arts, and less so language, but foreign languages too. In Europe most students learn over their academic lives to speak at least 3 foreign languages fluently.

    2. The aggressively increased systems and popularity of “private” tuitioned schooling and charter schooling over this 70-yr time-span that are not under the same laws and influences of liberally-perceived curriculums of public schools. No surprise at all, most all private schools and many/most charter schools are religiously based and free to teach their own indoctrinations.

    As a result, these two forces have crippled our latest American generations from learning the basic, much less the advanced tools/skills, of critical-reasoning and critical-thinking which nurtures higher impartiality, objectivity, or how to be more fair and how to (quickly?) recognize blatant propaganda, bias, divisive rhetoric, and UN-democratic UN-Constitutional behaviors or verbiage.

    Sorry for the length Nan 😉 and thank you in advance for indulging my passion (as a former educator/teacher) on this subject and its causes. ❤

    Like

    • Yes, PT, your passion is showing … once again. ❤ Thing is, it is what it is. Until the educational system changes, all we can do is bemoan its effects on today's — and future — generations. Of course, it would help if we could get rid of Devos.

      I just took a quick look at ProCon.org. Hadn't heard of it before. It looks like a website that covers a lot of hot issues/topics. If it's as unbiased as Media Bias/Fact-Checking — and you — say, it will be interesting to get their take on things.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just wanted to add that I took a quick look at the ProCon site … and read tRumpsky’s “position” on various election issues. I had to shake my head as I noticed that several of them were “Not Clearly Pro or Con.” That describes his outlook on important matters sooooo well!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yep. If people really want to seek out ALL viewpoints and decipher the probable/actual truth, then there is no way to deny that tRump cares only about two things: 1) his own benefit/interest, and 2) say and/or do WHATEVER rallies and gathers the most loyal minions to his own benefit/interest.

          One way of doing #2 is to appease or tell people what they want to hear, support you for awhile, then if they waver too much in their undying loyalty, FIRE THEM!!! That probably (most likely?) indicates his own disloyalty to others and loyalty only to self. Doesn’t it? Lol 😉

          Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve liked ProCon.org for years. I even managed to get my own Mom to use it during important elections and she is a Moderate Conservative—but loathes any form of extremism—with a Pentecostal childhood, which she also loathed. However, I am pretty sure she voted for tRump because she fell victim to all the partisan campaigning rhetoric and propaganda. 😦 Plus, she didn’t care for Hillary. However, if I can get my Mom to use ProCon.org, that is a huge victory for me! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I do not mind bias as long as it is honest and small (no one would be in the news business and expanding their biases).

    I have given up on newspapers, except I subscribe to The Guardian and I get most of my news form non-news sites. Virtually all of the major news sites have sold out, usually for profit, although Fox News did it for ideology.

    When I was young we had a great many news sources, all of which were to have broken even (mostly newspapers) and the TV network news could lose money (As CBS said, it had “I Love Lucy” to make money.)

    I have to ask: is the profit motive ever the correct motive? In business it used to be a means to and end and somehow it became an end in itslef and, as such, I cannot see that it is an effective motive for anything (other than getting the owners rich).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Nan
    I also like NPR I find it soothing to listen to. They could be reporting the end of the world. One of the news sources that I especially like is NPR.

    Like

    • Thank you for visiting, kisanSatta. I’m quite sure I don’t have any visitors that can read Hindu so I have deleted the link you provided.

      I agree the NPR reporters are soothing. I also like their approach to the news.

      Like

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