Tuesday, December 20, 2016

News Bias . . . Yes, this is a real thing!

A recent conversation came to mind when I saw Prof McGrath's post "What's your Source".  I loved the opening sentence:

"Does it match your perception of these sources?  If not, do you assume that the issue is with the chart, or with your perception?"
Here's the chart in question:

The conversation was mercifully brief with someone who considers CNN a liberal partisan news organization and Fox News as the bastion for truth.  I wish I had this graphic with me during that brief, but memorable conversation.

For me, I find the graphic very close to my own perceptions.  I might have moved the Huffington Post a bit lower on the Journalistic Quality axis and maybe NPR a tiny bit more to the left on the Partisan Bias axis, but for the most part the only thing I really have trouble with is the oval that contains Fox News reaching nearly to the Analytical.  I don't watch much of Fox News, so maybe there is a Fox show or two that lean that way, but my experience would have ruled against that.  The shows I have seen fall much further to the right and at best would rarely come under the heading of 'Meets High Standards".

In fact of all the news organizations, Politifact usually measure Fox News much lower on any scale of truthfulness, rating their average at 60% being untruths, or as I was brought up to call them, lies.  CNN, the news service much maligned by most of the conservatives that I know, came in at 20% untruths.  If you wonder about what political ax Politifact grinds, you might do some homework and find that unlike Fox News, Politifact doesn't seem to care about content, only how the content relates to the actual facts.

So there you have it.  I would be interested in feedback and where you would rate your usual sources for news, as compared to this chart.  So, if you feel like it, leave a comment or two.  My usual sources are NPR, NBC, my local paper (Dayton Daily News -- which my much more right-leaning spouse calls the 'Dayton Daily Liberal'), and Google News.  But, unlike some, I try and trace information back to sources rather than just accept the headlines as gospel.  For example if Fox has a story and cite Reuters, I nearly always find the Reuters story and rarely find it says what Fox News said it did.  But that's just me!  It's not just "What are your Sources", but checking your source material as well.

As for my own political leanings, I would have said more of a Centrist for years, even though I was a Republican.  But recent Republican activities over the past couple of decades has made me an independent.  I still lean a little left on social issues, right on fiscal conservation, and most interested in accuracy from my news sources than any sort of spin.  Which is why my expectation of Fox News, in particular, is pretty low . . . and they seem to meet that expectation quite regularly.


  1. Just noticed something in the chart that I hadn't seen before. Look at the right and left sides, notice anything interesting? All at the bottom of the scale for Journalistic Quality. Notice that nothing leaning to the far right or left rises even to the level of 'Meets High Standards', let alone being 'Analytical' or 'Complex'. Guess the further out you go, the less news spun like that can stand the light of day!

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  3. I removed this comment because it was a nothing comment that directed you another site which spoke of adding lots of blog comments . . . it was valueless, so I dumped it.