Resources

Monitoring News Bias

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You want to know the “truth”, right?  As such, surely you spread your reading across news sources of varying political perspectives, right?  One can only hope your quest for truth is, indeed a quest and not self-administered salve to soothe intra-psychic fears about your future and the future well-being of those you hold dear.  “Truth” is larger than that.

Should you venture into the wild, attempting to get differing perspectives on current events, how can you know if what you are reading is valid?  If understanding the political leaning of any given site is important to you, check out Media Bias / Fact Check.  (MBFC), a news outlet evaluation site which describes itself as the following:

  • Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC News) is an independent online media outlet. MBFC News is dedicated to educating the public on media bias and deceptive news practices.
  • MBFC News’ aim is to inspire action and a rejection of overtly biased media. We want to return to an era of straight forward news reporting.
  • Funding for MBFC News comes from site advertising, individual donors, and the pockets of our bias checkers.
  • MBFC News follows a strict methodology for determining the biases of sources. Dave Van Zandt is the primary editor for sources. He is assisted by a collective of volunteers who assist in research for many sources listed on these pages.
  • MBFC News also provides occasional fact checks, original articles on media bias and breaking/important news stories, especially as it relates to USA politics.

Just type in the name of any site you are interested in and see what MBFC has to say about it.  Try searching for sites you know.  Try “The Guardian”, “Reuters” or “Breitbart”.  You can also get a list of many outlets that MBFC classifies together – Right-Bias, Pro-Science, Left-Center-Bias, etc. (nine categories in all, including “Conspiracy-Pseudoscience”).   Of particular interest is the category which MBFC considered the Least Biased.  You will notice that these MBFC lists are quite long as they included media outlet from all over the world (ever considered getting your news from the Bangkok Post?).

One of the advantages of MBFC is its employment of differing evaluation criteria during its daily analysis of various news outlets.  For instance, MBFC analyses a site’s relative factual reporting as one criterion.  This criterion focuses on whether the information presented by the site is verifiable.  However, a different criterion considers whether a site presents “biased” stories, which is not the same as accusing the site of “false” reporting. A site might present actual facts, but presents those facts couched in a slanted presentation, presumably with the attempt to sway the interpretation and opinion of readers of those facts.  Such bias can be seen in the use of loaded words, the choice of which stories to tell, what details to reveal and which to omit, for instance, all of which skew the whole truth of the situation.  Comparing even these criteria–and there are others–can be helpful for identifying the nature of the proposed “truth” being presented.  Perhaps MBFC’s greatest value is that the site presents many listings which provide direct links to outlets you might not have heard of (and might find quite informative).

The Media Bias / Fact Check site could be quite useful for anyone, regardless of socio-political orientation.  Give it a look.  You might learn something.

 

Expand your horizon and your mind! 
Read something you do NOT believe and see what happens!


DISCLAIMER: The seekingGood blog does not necessarily endorse the MBFC site except as a possible help in the evaluation of media sources.  As always, do your own research and think for yourself.

A Win for Investigative Journalism

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In a previous post, seekingGood highlighted the need for more investigative journalism.  ProPublica has voiced a similar concern. As the first online site to receive the Pulitzer Prize— ProPublica is known for the depth and thoroughness of its stories. However, the articles posted by ProPublic can be challenging for the average reader.  Enter Vox.  As reported by ProPublica, Vox, a news and opinion website noted for its explanatory journalism, has teamed up with ProPublica to provide visual access to their material.  This might help clarify the message of more complicate stories.  Sharing resources and research, the ProPublica-Vox collaboration can only be a good thing for investigative journalism and, ultimately, for us.

More from Jen Hofmann

We have not referenced Jennifer Hofmann’s activist site for a while.  She is still at it, going strong with her action lists posted weekly.  If you want to do something to shape the country and the world toward your definition of Good, check out her list and blog.

For example, here is just one of the postings from Jen’s April 30th list:

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I believe in a government led by qualified, trustworthy representatives.

Action: Advocate for a special commission to investigate 45-Russia ties.
Newly-confirmed Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein can approve a special prosecutor or commission, but has previously hedged on this action. Speak up.
Call: Dept. of Justice comment line 202-353-1555
Postcard: USDoJ, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001
Script: I am among the 58% of Americans who want an independent commission to investigate Trump-Russia ties. Trust in the four current investigations is compromised, and the Attorney General’s credibility is tarnished. Only an independent commission or special prosecutor will restore confidence.

[Note: “45” refers to the 45th President of the United States]

Jen posts other such actions on her site as well.  There are links to express gratitude (for elected officials who have been doing a “good job”, for instance).  There are also suggestions for actions to maintain good psychological and physical health in these uncertain times.

Most of all, Jen’s lists—by their very existence—are encouragements to stand up and be counted.  Her lists stand as weekly reminders that we all are members of the group “We, the People” and that we all—that is ALL: red or blue, Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, Libertarian, Anarchist, other—we all should express ourselves as the natural exercise of free people in promotion of a free society.

Make a call. Write a letter. Offer encouragement to another. Read a good book—and tell someone about it.  Do whatever you think other people should be doing or what you would want them to do relative to you. Celebrate your freedom!