Check yourself: The Media Bias Chart

Check yourself: The Media Bias Chart

Just like eating different kinds of foods, you should know what you’re eating so you know if your diet is balanced, healthy, or downright garbage. Media, and social media (which has the added benefit of being largely unhealthy to boot), is the same way.

I’ve written about this before, but the Media Bias Chart continues to improve. Go check out your favorite sources, or better yet, find better ones to start reading. It’s interesting how things have shifted, and continue to shift over time – so be sure to check up on your news sources every year or so.

This is not just a chart, but something that gives us some data to infer from and can be used as a tool. I find it interesting that the more left OR right the source, that the media source pretty universally drops in quality to near garbage. This reveals a lot about how left/right partisan takes on any issue results in very poor analysis or thought about a topic.

I also find this a useful tool for those that claim to be unbiased, open minded, or whatever. Where do you think YOUR opinions fall on this chart? Now, go read something on the chart that aligns with it and see how good of a news source it really is (how far down on the y axis is your opinion)? Now, go read something that is on the OTHER side of the line. Nothing far from center. Check in the ‘skews left’ or ‘skews right’ area and read it. If you find yourself calling a largely good news source with a moderate leaning a bunch of pinko Commies or a bool-licking Nazis, then I think you might have a very distorted view of the world. It might be worthwhile to check yourself.

It’s also a good time to go watch some news broadcasts from the 1950’s-1980’s to see how journalism was done years ago. I remember being taught that a good reporter answered the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, hoW, and Why) by just reporting the facts. It’s impossible to be unbiased; but that was at least the goal. I’m not sure if that’s even the basic premise of journalism these days.

Today I find that any news item I was actually involved in (local news to more broad industry reporting on something I knew internally to the company/etc) breaks into 2 parts. The factual part is usually pretty accurate (the person hid on the roof of this garage from police, or this guy stole a $2000 bike, or that some information X was leaked from an internal company mistake). The commentary by experts and average readers is pretty bad. I find the news source usually finds an ‘expert’ that aligns with however they’d like to spin the news item based on the particular bias of the news source.

Even worse, the comment and speculation sections in the bottom of the news articles are the absolute worst. It’s full of horribly simplistic/incorrect analysis, wildly incorrect data, inflammatory posturing/language, and often conspiracy-theory laden stuff. Which is probably why any of the better news sources do not allow commenting on news articles (hint hint). I now don’t usually go to news sources that have comment sections – or I skip those sections all together. I only have so much of my life; and I’m not wasting it sifting through hours of anonymous incorrect opinions or bad or inflammatory thought/language just to get one nugget of truth.

Which makes you wonder the value of social media like reddit in which the content IS anonymous internet opinion

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