Media Bias

Mendel

Senior Member.
Facts: A big issue with using media reports is the quality of media you're using to get your information; some media are more prone to spread misinformation than others. Happily, there are people tracking this.

Bias: Apart from the factual accuracy, there is also media bias that shapes the perspective how information is presented, and which information is selected for presentation.

If you want to get out of a rabbit hole (or get someone else out of one), opening up the daily news consumption to more factual and less biased media is a good idea.

Media Bias Chart (Ad Fontes)

This is a big overview chart. You need a license to download and publish it, but you can simply link to their site https://www.adfontesmedia.com/ or use the copies they shared on social media. (Note: they have two icons each for MSNBC and CNN to distinguish their TV programming from their web sites.)
Source: https://twitter.com/vlotero/status/1337477043504570371

Media Bias Fact Check​

Another site that lets you search for a specific news outlet (use the search box in the upper right corner) is https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/ . They report on both bias and factual accuracy of a source; I like that.
Where our report says "PRO-SCIENCE", most other sites have a bias slider that positions them on a spectrum of left to right.
Article:

Metabunk​

Metabunk - Pro Science - Evidence Based - Credible - Non Biased

Factual Reporting: High - Credible - Reliable


PRO-SCIENCE​

These sources consist of legitimate science or are evidence based through the use of credible scientific sourcing. Legitimate science follows the scientific method, is unbiased and does not use emotional words. These sources also respect the consensus of experts in the given scientific field and strive to publish peer reviewed science. Some sources in this category may have a slight political bias, but adhere to scientific principles. See all Pro-Science sources.
  • Overall, we rate Metabunk a Pro-Science source based on providing evidence-based information to debunk pseudoscience and conspiracy theories.

Detailed Report​

Factual Reporting: HIGH
Country: USA
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
History

Founded in 2010 by Mick West, Metabunk is primarily a forum that debunks pseudoscientific claims such as chemtrails, UFOs, and conspiracy theories. Mick West is is a science writer, skeptical investigator, and retired video game programmer. He also runs the site contrailscience.com. According to their about page “Metabunk.org is dedicated to the art and pastime of honest, polite, scientific investigating and debunking. It is primarily a discussion forum, however, the focus is on providing concise useful resources, and attempting to avoid repetitive debate and arguments.”

Funded by / Ownership
Metabunk is owned by Mick West. He reports on his about page “I do this purely out of personal interest, and nobody pays me in any way.” Revenue appears to be derived through advertising.
Analysis / Bias

In review, Metabunk consists of people who post forum questions that are answered by other members and Mick West. For example, a thread was created to investigate a potential UFO, Black UFO At Skinwalker Ranch (A Fly). Users prove it is actually a black fly that crossed in front of the lense. They also debunk ridiculous conspiracies such as Coronavirus being spread by 5G Debunking Correlations Between 5G deployments and Coronavirus. In general, this is a pro-science source that debunks pseudoscience and conspiracy theories through evidence.


Failed Fact Checks
  • None to date
Overall, we rate Metabunk a Pro-Science source based on providing evidence-based information to debunk pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. (D. Van Zandt 9/11/2016) Updated (8/13/2020)
Source: https://www.metabunk.org/

Allsides​

Allsides.com has a bias chart, and a database of over 800+ news outlets (scroll down on https://www.allsides.com/media-bias/media-bias-ratings to find the search box), but it doesn't rate sites on factual accuracy. AllSides Media Bias Ratings™ by AllSides.com are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. These ratings may be used for research or noncommercial purposes with attribution.
AllSidesMediaBiasChart-Version3.jpg


How reliable are these databases?​

These databases are good when you want to get a quick picture of what to expect from an outlet. But it doesn't say anything about a specific individual article from that outlet: it could still be biased or have errors in it. I'm using them more as a tool for setting my expectations when dealing with a specific source, but I remain alert to signs of errors and bias in the specific item of news I'm using as evidence.

The Poynter Institute took a look at the charts I mentioned above:
Article:
But perceiving the chart as distilled truth could give consumers an undue trust in outlets, McBride said.
“Overreliance on a chart like this is going to probably give some consumers a false level of faith,” she said. “I can think of a massive journalistic failure for just about every organization on this chart. And they didn’t all come clean about it.”
[..]
The charts are only as good as their methodologies. Both McBride and Groeling shared praise for the stated methods for rating bias of AllSides and Ad Fontes, which can be found on their websites. Neither Ad Fontes nor AllSides explicitly rates editorial standards.
[..]

Should you use the charts?​

Media bias charts with transparent, rigorous methodologies can offer insight into sources’ biases. That insight can help you understand what perspectives sources bring as they share the news. That insight also might help you understand what perspectives you might be missing as a news consumer.

But use them with caution. Political bias isn’t the only thing news consumers should look out for. Reliability is critical, too, and the accuracy and editorial standards of organizations play an important role in sharing informative, useful news.


MediaWise​

The Poynter Institute runs politifact.com. They also offer online training to enable users to do fact-checking for themselves with their MediaWise program at https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/ .
mediawise.jpg

They advocate for 3 simple questions to ask yourself before sharing informrtion:
  1. Who is behind the information?
  2. What is the evidence?
  3. What are other sources saying?
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY6_p3w8oi4

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYUwDbVJ75Y

 
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