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How to Detect Media Bias

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Presentation on theme: "How to Detect Media Bias"— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Detect Media Bias
BIAS IN THE NEWS How to Detect Media Bias

2 Today’s Targets 2/6/2014: You will be able to: understand how to detect bias in the news (future articles)

3 What is “bias”? Favoring one side, position, or belief.
Generally it is unannounced – readers need to be wary and “read between the lines” to discover bias What is “bias”?

4 Is the news biased? YES! News can be biased.
Bias can be hard to avoid – we’re all human and we all have personal biases that can sometimes accidentally slip into our work. Stories are influenced by: the people interviewed the reporters’ personal beliefs the way a story is edited the types of photographs used Is the news biased?

5 FACT VS. OPINION Statement F or O?
Many American soldiers are being killed in Afghanistan. Afghanis want the American soldiers to leave their country. Iran’s President has stated the Holocaust never happened. The War on Terrorism can never be won.

6 So what’s the difference?
OPINION Not supported by evidence “Evidence” is insufficient to produce complete certainty So what’s the difference? FACT Can be verified – generally by multiple sources Supported by evidence Can be proven

7 HOW TO DETECT CERTAIN TYPES OF BIAS –

8 Selection and Omission
Using or not using a source can change the ‘reality’ of a story for the readers. Compare numerous sources to find the truth!

9 Bias through Placement
Stories that run first are seen as the most important. Stories placed on the front page or ‘above the fold’ are deemed most important. A person makes these decisions – they are constructing the importance of an issue!

10 Bias by Headline Headlines are the most read part of the paper and are designed to draw the reader to an article. Most readers do not read the articles, so a biased headline (even paired with a balanced article) will mislead readers.

11 Bias by Photos, Captions, and Camera Angles
Pictures only show a portion of the person, issue, or event. • You see what the photographer wants. • Captions provide the photographer or writer’s description of the image.

12 Bias through use of Names or Titles
Labels used to describe a person, event, and place. Writer selects what label to use. “accused murderer” vs. “suspected murderer” “the crime” vs. “the alleged crime” “the frontrunner” vs. “the candidate”

13 Bias through Statistics and Crowd Counts
Inflated numbers make a story more interesting or seem more important. Not all numbers create bias, so read carefully! 2,239 students attend LZHS this year LZHS’ student population is up 29% The flat statistic is unbiased and unemotional. It just IS. The % should be questioned – it’s up from when? Many years ago vs. last year? The stat seems impressive but it isn’t all that shocking if the population went up 29% over many years.

14 Bias by Source Control Where does the story originate? Who are the sources for the story? Whose point of view are you hearing/ reading? Question why the reporter used these specific sources!

15 Word Choice and Tone Similar to headlines – use of positive or negative words can persuade people.

16 INTENTIONALLY BIASED: COMMON
TAKE NOTE! Some media are meant to contain opinion. INTENTIONALLY BIASED: COMMON

17 Bylined viewpoint pieces by newspaper staff
Op-Ed / Editorial Page Letters to the editor Political cartoons Columns Bylined viewpoint pieces by newspaper staff Not all bias is easy to detect, but there are some media types that are always opinionated because they are meant to be!

18 Purpose of Op-Ed or Editorial Page
Encourage thought and discussion Influence action Push for reform Provide background and analysis Allow the community to have a voice

19 THE SMELL TEST…

20 S stands for Source. Find out who is providing the information.

21 Question: Why are they telling me this stuff?
M is for Motivation. Question: Why are they telling me this stuff?

22 E is for Evidence. Question: Do they have real evidence for their assertions? What kind of evidence is provided?

23 L is for Logic. Wonder aloud: Do the facts offered logically compel the conclusions? Or does this sound like twisted thinking?

24 L is for Left out. Think about it: What's missing in the information that might change the interpretation of the subject matter?

25 Sources • • "How to Detect Bias in the News | Handout.“ Media Awareness Network | Réseau éducation médias. 6 Mar <http://www.mediaawareness.ca/english/resources/educational/handouts/broadcast_news/bw_bias_in_the_news.cfm>0. John McManus, author of the book, "Detecting Bull"


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