4 Ways to Detect Media Bias and Step Out of the Partisan Bubble

Our overall trust in the media has hit an all-time low, worries about accuracy and bias increase our mistrust while the sheer volume of content can be debilitating when searching for differing yet credible opinions.

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This article was originally posted on ChangeRoots.com 

Our overall trust in the media has hit an all-time low and it can be difficult to find good news sources exposing you to multiple sides of an issue. Worries about accuracy and bias increase our mistrust while the sheer volume of content can be debilitating when searching for differing yet credible opinions. 

The good news is that recent research suggests that trust in the media is not permanently broken, it can be restored. Also, researchers found that media echo chambers, the idea that things like the Facebook algorithm are limiting our exposure to other views, have been exaggerated. 

Since our mission at ChangeRoots is to end toxic partisanship, we spend a lot of time studying how media increases polarization through biased writing. We use what we learn to provide post-partisan context to political news for our users. Here are some good resources and tips on how to detect bias that I’ve learned from our own journey. 

Read about the same topic from different political perspectives with Allsides.com

Allsides is a great resource to help people step outside their partisan bubbles. Their website publishes articles on the same topic from publications across the political spectrum. They use a rigorous method to rate publicans on a left to right spectrum. Their weekly newsletter does a roundup of stories with snippets from Left, Right and Center reporting on the same topics. 

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Check them out and sign up for their newsletter here. Review the methodology they use in assigning ratings here

See the bias and reliability of media organizations with Ad Fontes’ Media Bias Chart

Ad Fontes analyzes news content using a rigorous, non-partisan methodology to rank news for overall reliability and bias. The chart is a bit clunky to navigate at first, but once you stare and click around for a few minutes it becomes a fascinating and insightful resource. My favorite part (nerd alert) is that they have developed a way to score news organizations on their level of reliability in addition to bias. 

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See their interactive chart here. Review the methodology they use in assigning ratings here

Get an email with snippets from the left and right each day with The Flip Side

Their website says it best, ”see the whole political picture with the points from both sides in one easy 5-minute email a day.” They feature one topic per day and pull quotes from various media on both the left and right to give you a quick way to see how each side is framing the issue. I like how they limit it to one topic a day, but give you five or more snippets from each side on that one topic. This gives you a wider variety of perspectives within the conservative and progressive worlds. 

Guide to Spotting Media Bias by Allsides

Allsides (mentioned above) has compiled an excellent and detailed guide on the nuance of how to spot bias in the media. It breaks down the difference between spin, presenting opinions as fact, sensationalism and much more. The guide is long, but it has great examples of highlighting different elements of bias within actual articles. If you don’t want to read all the words, I recommend skimming the examples they include throughout the guide. 

The guide can be found here

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Kylie Berger

Kylie Berger

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