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Do you regularly consume print media news? How often and why/why not?What were your thoughts on the Fox News report about the college student questioning media ethics in Week #4?Do you believe that you regularly encounter “fake news”? Where, when, and why?What is a social media influencer? Please provide your definition based on the information in this module and your own experience.helpful links:http://www.greatachievements.org/?id=3661
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By Julie Mastrine
Director of Marketing and Media Bias Ratings, AllSides
Table of Contents
About Media Bias
12 Types of Media Bias
1. Spin
Examples of Spin Words and Phrases:
Examples of Spin Media Bias:
2. Unsubstantiated Claims
Examples of Unsubstantiated Claims Media Bias
3. Opinion Statements Presented as Facts
Words that signal subjective statements
Examples of Opinion Statements Presented as Fact
4. Sensationalism/Emotionalism
Words and phrases that signal sensationalism/emotionalism
Examples of Sensationalism/Emotionalism Media Bias
5. Mudslinging/Ad Hominem
Examples of Mudslinging
6. Mind Reading
Examples of Mind Reading
7. Slant
Examples of Slant
Examples of Flawed Logic
9. Bias by Omission
Examples of Bias by Omission
10. Omission of Source Attribution
Examples of Omission of Source Attribution
11. Bias by Story Choice and Placement
Bias by story choice
Bias by story placement
Bias by viewpoint placement
Examples of Bias by Story Choice and Placement
12. Subjective Qualifying Adjectives
Examples of Subjective Qualifying Adjectives
About AllSides and AllSides for Schools
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About Media Bias
Journalism is tied to a set of ethical standards and values, including truth and
accuracy, fairness and impartiality, and accountability. However, journalism today often
strays from objective fact; the result is biased news. Bias isn’t necessarily a bad thing,
but hidden media bias misleads, manipulates and divides us. This is why AllSides
provides hundreds of media bias ratings, a balanced newsfeed, the AllSides Media
Bias Chart™, and the AllSides Fact Check Bias Chart™.
72 percent of Americans believe traditional news sources report fake news, falsehoods,
or content that is purposely misleading. With trust in media declining, media
consumers must learn how to spot types of media bias.
This page outlines 12 types of media bias, along with examples of their use in popular
media outlets. Don’t forget to check out the 14 types of ideological bias.
AllSides, 2022 | 2
12 Types of Media Bias
1. Spin
Spin is vague, dramatic or sensational language. When journalists put a “spin” on a
story, they push it away from objective, measurable facts. Spin is a form of media bias
that clouds a reader’s view, preventing them from getting a precise take on what
happened.
In the early 20th century, Public Relations and Advertising executives were referred to
as “spin doctors.” They would use vague language and make unsupportable claims in
order to promote a product, service or idea, downplaying any alternative views in order
to make a sale. Increasingly, these tactics are appearing in journalism.
Examples of Spin Words and Phrases:
Emerge
Refuse
High-stakes
Landmark
Major
Critical
Offend
Wary of offending
Meaningful
Monumental
High-stakes
Serious
Crucial
Tirade
Latest in a string of…
Turn up the heat
Decrying
Stern talks
Facing calls to…
Even though
Significant
Sometimes the media uses spin words and phrase to imply bad behavior. These
words are often used without providing hard facts, direct quotes, or witnessed
behavior:
AllSides, 2022 | 3
Finally
Acknowledged
Refusing to say
Dodged
Came to light
Surfaced
Emerged
Conceded
Admission
Admit to
To stir emotions, reports often include colored, dramatic, or sensational words as a
substitute for the word “said.” For example:
Mocked
Raged
Bragged
Fumed
Lashed out
Raged
Incensed
Scoffed
Frustration
Erupted
Rant
Boasted
Gloated
Examples of Spin Media Bias:
“Gloat” means “contemplate or dwell on one’s own success or another’s misfortune with
smugness or malignant pleasure.” Is there evidence in Trump’s tweet to show he is being smug
or taking pleasure in the layoffs, or is this a subjective interpretation?
Source: Business Insider
AllSides, 2022 | 4
In this example of spin media bias, the Washington Post uses a variety of dramatic,
sensationalist words to spin the story to make Trump appear emotional and unhinged. They also
refer to the president’s “vanity” without providing supporting evidence.
Source: Washington Post
2. Unsubstantiated Claims
Journalists sometimes make claims in their reporting without including evidence to
back them up. This can occur in the headline of an article, or in the body.
Statements that appear to be fact, but do not include specific evidence, are a key
indication of this type of media bias.
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Examples of Unsubstantiated Claims Media Bias
In this media bias instance, The Daily Wire references a “longstanding pattern,” but does not
back this up with evidence.
Source: The Daily Wire
In late January 2019, actor Jussie Smollett claimed he was attacked by two men who hurled
racial and homophobic slurs. The Hill refers to “the violent attack” without using the word
“alleged” or “allegations.” The incident was revealed to be a hoax created by Smollett himself.
Source: The Hill
This Washington Post columnist makes a claim about wealth distribution without noting where it
came from. Who determined this number and how? Source: Washington Post
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3. Opinion Statements Presented as Facts
Sometimes journalists use subjective language or statements under the guise of
reporting objectively. Even when a media outlet presents an article as a factual, hard
news piece, it may employ subjective statements or language.
A subjective statement is one that is based on personal opinions, assumptions,
beliefs, tastes, preferences, or interpretations. It reflects how the writer views
reality, what they presuppose to be the truth. It is a statement colored by their specific
perspective or lens and cannot be verified using concrete facts and figures within the
article.
There are objective modifiers — “blue” “old” “single-handedly” “statistically”
“domestic” — for which the meaning can be verified. On the other hand, there are
subjective modifiers — “suspicious,” “dangerous,” “extreme,” “dismissively,”
“apparently” — which are a matter of interpretation.
Interpretation can present the same events as two very different incidents. A political
protest in some people sat down in the middle of a street blocking traffic to draw
attention to their cause can be described as “peaceful” and “productive,” or, others
may describe it as “aggressive” and “disruptive.”
Words that signal subjective statements include:
Good/better/best
Bad/worse/worst
Is considered to be
It’s likely that
Seemingly
Dangerous
Extreme
Suggests
May mean that
Would seem
Could
Possibly
Apparently
Source: Butte College Critical Thinking Tipsheet
AllSides, 2022 | 7
An objective statement, on the other hand, is an observation of observable facts. It is not
based on emotions or personal opinion and is based on empirical evidence — what is
quantifiable and measurable.
It’s important to note that an objective statement may not actually be true. The following
statements are objective statements, but can be verified as true or false:
Taipei 101 is the world’s tallest building.
Five plus four equals ten.
There are nine planets in our solar system.
Now, the first statement of fact is true (as of this writing); the other two are false. It is
possible to verify the height of buildings and determine that Taipei 101 tops them all. It
is possible to devise an experiment to demonstrate that five plus four does not equal
ten or to use established criteria to determine whether Pluto is a planet.
Source: Butte College Critical Thinking Tipsheet
Editorial reviews by AllSides found that some media outlets blur the line between
subjective statements and objective statements, leading to potential confusion for
readers, in two key ways:
● Including subjective statements in their writing and not attributing them to a
source. (see Omission of Source Attribution, page 16)
● Placing opinion or editorial content on the homepage next to hard news, or
otherwise not clearly marking opinion content as “opinion.”
Examples of Opinion Statements Presented as Fact
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The sub-headline Vox uses is an opinion statement — some people likely believe the lifting of
the gas limit will strengthen the coal industry — but Vox included this statement in a piece not
labeled “Opinion.”
Source: Vox
In this article about Hillary Clinton’s appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” the
author makes an assumption about Clinton’s motives and jumps to a subjective conclusion.
Source: Fox News
4. Sensationalism/Emotionalism
Sensationalism is the presentation of information in a way that gives a shock or makes
a deep impression. Often it gives readers a false sense of culmination, that all previous
reporting has led to this ultimate story.
Sensationalist language is often dramatic, yet vague. It often involves hyperbole — at
the expense of accuracy — or warping reality to mislead or provoke a strong reaction in
the reader.
In recent years, some media outlets have been criticised for overusing the term
“breaking” or “breaking news,” which historically was reserved for stories of deep
impact or wide-scale importance.
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Many reporters increase the readability of their pieces using vivid verbs. But there are
many verbs that are heavy with implications that can’t be objectively corroborated:
“blast” “slam” “bury” “abuse” “destroy” “worry.”
Words and phrases that signal sensationalism/emotionalism include:
Shocking
Explosive
Remarkable
Slams
Rips
Forcing
Chaotic
Warning
Lashed out
Embroiled in…
Onslaught
Torrent of tweets
Scathing
Desperate
Showdown
Examples of Sensationalism/Emotionalism Media Bias
“Gawk” means to stare open and stupidly. Does AP’s language treat this event as serious and
diplomatic, or as entertainment?
Source: AP
AllSides, 2022 | 10
Here, BBC uses sensationalism in the form of hyperbole, as the election is unlikely to involve
bloodshed in the literal sense. Source: BBC
In this piece from the New York Post, the author uses multiple sensationalist phrases and
emotional language to dramatize the “Twitter battle” it is describing.
Source: New York Post
5. Mudslinging/Ad Hominem
Mudslinging is a type of media bias when unfair or insulting things are said about
someone in order to damage their reputation. Similarly, ad hominem (Latin for “to the
person”) attacks are attacks on a person’s motive or character traits instead of the
content of their argument or idea. Ad hominem attacks can be used overtly, or as a
way to subtly discredit someone without having to engage with their argument.
AllSides, 2022 | 11
Examples of Mudslinging
A Reason editor calls a New York Times columnist a “snowflake” after the columnist emailed a
professor and his provost to complain about a tweet calling him a bedbug.
Source: Reason
In March 2019, The Economist ran a piece describing political commentator and author Ben
Shapiro as “alt-right.” Readers pointed out that Shapiro is Jewish (the alt-right is largely
anti-Semitic) and has condemned the alt-right. The Economist issued a retraction and instead
AllSides, 2022 | 12
referred to Shapiro as a “radical conservative.”
Source: Twitter
6. Mind Reading
Mind reading occurs in journalism when a writer assumes they know what another
person thinks, or thinks that the way they see the world reflects the way the world
really is.
Examples of Mind Reading
We can’t objectively measure that Trump hates looking foolish, because we can’t read his mind
or know what he is feeling. There is also no evidence provided to demonstrate that Democrats
believe they have a winning hand.
Source: CNN
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How do we know that Obama doesn’t have passion or sense of purpose? Here, the National
Review writer assumes they know what is going on in Obama’s head.
Source: National Review
Vox is upfront about the fact that they are interpreting what Neeson said, yet this interpretation
ran in a piece labeled objective news — not a piece in the Opinion section. Despite being overt
about interpreting, by drifting away from what Neeson actually said, Vox is mind reading.
Source: Vox
7. Slant
Slant occurs when journalists tell only part of a story. It can include cherry-picking
information or data to support one side. Slant prevents readers from getting the full
story, and narrows the scope of our understanding.
Examples of Slant
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In the above example, Fox News notes that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s policy proposals
have received “intense criticism.” While this is true, it is only one side of the picture, as the
Green New Deal was well received by other groups. Source: Fox News
8. Flawed Logic
Flawed logic or faulty reasoning is a way to misrepresent people’s opinions or to arrive
at conclusions that are not justified by the given evidence. Flawed logic can involve
jumping to conclusions or arriving at a conclusion that doesn’t follow from the premise.
Examples of Flawed Logic
Here, the Daily Wire interprets a video to draw conclusions that aren’t clearly supported by the
available evidence. The video shows Melania did not extend her hand to shake, but it could be
because Clinton was too far away to reach, or perhaps there was no particular reason at all. By
jumping to conclusions that this amounted to a “snub” or was the result of “bitterness” instead
of limitations of physical reality or some other reason, The Daily Wire is engaging in flawed
logic.
Source: The Daily Wire
AllSides, 2022 | 15
9. Bias by Omission
Bias by omission is a type of media bias in which media outlets choose not to cover
certain stories, omit information that would support an alternative viewpoint, or omit
voices and perspectives on the other side.
Media outlets sometimes omit stories in order to serve a political agenda. Sometimes,
a story will only be covered by media outlets on a certain side of the political spectrum.
Bias by omission also occurs when a reporter does not interview both sides of a story
— for instance, interviewing only supporters of a bill, and not including perspectives
against it.
Examples of Bias by Omission
In a piece titled, “Hate crimes are rising, regardless of Jussie Smollett’s case. Here’s why,”
CNN claims that hate crime incidents rose for three years, but omits information that may lead
the reader to different conclusions. According to the FBI’s website, reports of hate crime
incidents rose from previous years, but so did the number of agencies reporting, “with
approximately 1,000 additional agencies contributing information.” This makes it unclear as to
whether hate crimes are actually on the rise, as the headline claims, or simply appear to be
because more agencies are reporting.
Source: CNN
AllSides, 2022 | 16
10. Omission of Source Attribution
An informative, balanced article should provide the background or context of a story,
including naming sources (publishing “on-the-record” information).
Sometimes, reporters will mention “immigration opponents” or “supporters of the bill”
without identifying who these sources are.
It is sometimes useful or necessary to use unnamed sources, because insider
information is only available if the reporter agrees to keep their identity secret. But
responsible journalists should be aware and make it clear that they are offering
second-hand information on sensitive matters. This fact doesn’t necessarily make the
statements false, but it does make them less than reliable.
Examples of Omission of Source Attribution
In this paragraph, the Epoch Times repeatedly states “critics say” without attributing the views
to anyone specific.
Source: The Epoch Times
AllSides, 2022 | 17
In a piece about the Mueller investigation, The New York Times never names the investigators,
officials or associates mentioned. Source: The New York Times
11. Bias by Story Choice and Placement
Story and viewpoint placement can reveal media bias by showing which stories or
viewpoints the editor finds most important.
Bias by story choice
This is when a media outlet’s bias is revealed by which stories the outlet chooses to
cover or to omit. For example, an outlet that chooses to cover the topic of climate
change frequently can reveal a different political leaning than an outlet that chooses to
cover stories about gun laws. The implication is that the outlet’s editors and writers find
certain topics more notable, meaningful, or important than others, which can tune us
into the outlet’s political bias or partisan agenda. Bias by story choice is closely linked
to media bias by omission and slant.
Bias by story placement
The stories that a media outlet features “above the fold” or prominently on its
homepage and in print show which stories they really want you to read, even if you
read nothing else on the site or in the publication. Many people will quickly scan a
homepage or read only a headline, so the stories that are featured first can reveal what
the editor hopes you take away or keep top of mind from that day.
AllSides, 2022 | 18
Bias by viewpoint placement
This can often be seen in political stories. A balanced piece of journalism will include
perspectives from both the left and the right in equal measure. If a story only features
viewpoints from left-leaning sources and commentators, or includes them near the top
of the story/in the first few paragraphs, and does not include right-leaning viewpoints,
or buries them at the end of a story, this is an example of bias by viewpoint.
Examples of Bias by Story Choice and Placement
In this screenshot of ThinkProgress’ homepage taken at 1 p.m. EST on Sept. 6, 2019, the media
outlet chooses to prominently display coverage of LGBT issues and cuts to welfare and schools
programs. In the next screenshot of The Epoch Times homepage taken at the same time on the
same day, the outlet privileges very different stories.
(Continued on next page)
AllSides, 2022 | 19
Taken at the same time on the same day as the screenshot above, The Epoch Times chooses to
prominently feature stories about a hurricane, the arrest of illegal immigrants, Hong Kong
activists, and the building of the border wall. Notice that ThinkProgress’ headline on the border
wall focuses on diverting funds from schools and daycares, while the Epoch Times headline
focuses on the wall’s completion.
AllSides, 2022 | 20
12. Subjective Qualifying Adjectives
Journalists can reveal bias when they include subjective, qualifying adjectives in front
of specific words or phrases. Qualifying adjectives are words that characterize or
attribute specific properties to a noun. When a journalist uses qualifying adjectives,
they are suggesting a way for you to think about or interpret the issue, instead of just
giving you the facts and letting you make judgements for yourself. This can manipulate
your view. Subjective qualifiers are closely related to spin words and phrases, because
they obscure the objective truth and insert subjectivity.
For example, a journalist who writes that a politician made a “serious allegation” is
interpreting the weight of that allegation for you. An unbiased piece of writing would
simply tell you what the allegation is, and allow you to make your own judgement call
as to whether it is serious or not.
In opinion pieces, subjective adjectives are okay; they become a problem when they
are inserted outside of the opinion pages and into hard news pieces.
Sometimes, the use of an adjective may be warranted, but journalists have to be
careful in exercising their judgement. For instance, it may be warranted to call a
Supreme Court ruling that overturned a major law a “landmark case.” But often,
adjectives are included in ways that not everyone may agree with; for instance, people
who are in favor of limiting abortion would likely not agree with a journalist who
characterizes new laws restricting the act as a “disturbing trend.” Therefore, it’s
important to be aware of subjective qualifiers and adjectives so that you can be on
alert and then decide for yourself whether it should be accepted or not. It is important
to notice, question and challenge adjectives that journalists use.
Examples of Subjective Qualifying Adjectives
disturbing rise
serious accusations
troubling trend
sharp rise
sinister warning
critical bill
extreme law
baseless claim
debunked theory (this
phrase could coincide with
bias by omission, if the
journalist doesn’t include
information for you to
determine why the theory
is false.)
awkward flaw
offensive statement
harsh rebuke
extremist group
far-right/far-left
organization
AllSides, 2022 | 21
HuffPost’s headline includes the phrases “sinister warning” and “extremist Republican.” It goes
on to note the politician’s “wild rant” in a “frothy interview” and calls a competing network
“far-right.” These qualifying adjectives encourage the reader to think a certain way. A more
neutral piece would have told the reader what Cawthorn said without telling the reader how to
interpret it.
Source article
HuffPost bias rating
Some Final Notes on Bias
Everyone is biased. It is part of human nature to have perspectives, preferences,
prejudices, leanings, and partialities. But sometimes, bias — especially media bias —
can become invisible to us. This is why AllSides provides hundreds of media bias
ratings and a media bias chart.
We are all biased toward things that show us in the right. We are biased toward
AllSides, 2022 | 22
information that confirms our existing beliefs. We are biased toward the people or
information that supports us, makes us look good, and affirms our judgements and
virtues. And we are biased toward the more moral choice of action — at least, that
which seems moral to us.
Journalism as a profession is biased toward vibrant communication, timeliness, and
providing audiences with a sense of the current moment — whether or not that sense
is politically slanted. Editors are biased toward strong narrative, stunning photographs,
pithy quotes, and powerful prose. Every aspiring journalist has encountered media bias
— sometimes the hard way. If they stay in the profession, often it will be because they
have incorporated the biases of their editor.
But sometimes, bias can manipulate and blind us. It can put important
information and perspectives in the shadows and prevent us from getting the
whole view. For this reason, there is not a single type of media bias that can’t, and
shouldn’t occasionally, be isolated and examined. This is just as true for journalists as
it is for their audiences.
Good reporting can shed valuable light on our biases — good and bad. By learning
how to spot media bias, how it works, and how it might blind us, we can avoid being
fooled by media bias and fake news. We can learn to identify and appreciate different
perspectives — and ultimately, come to a more wholesome view.
Author
Julie Mastrine | Director of Marketing and Media Bias Ratings, AllSides
Early Contributors and Editors (2018 Version)
Jeff Nilsson | Saturday Evening Post
Sara Alhariri | Stossel TV
Kristine Sowers | Abridge News
AllSides, 2022 | 23
About AllSides and AllSides for Schools
AllSides strengthens our democracy with balanced news, diverse perspectives, and real conversation.
We expose people to information and ideas from all sides of the political spectrum so they can better
understand the world — and each other. Our balanced news coverage, media bias ratings, civil dialogue
opportunities, and technology platform are available for everyone and can be integrated by schools,
nonprofits, media companies, and more.
Our mission is to free people from filter bubbles so they can better understand the world — and each
other.
AllSides for Schools prepares students for thoughtful participation in democracy — and in life. AllSides
for Schools improves our democracy by helping students from middle school through college and
beyond learn news literacy, civil dialogue, and life skills. Visit AllSides.com and AllSidesforSchools.org
to learn more.
AllSides, 2022 | 24
RADIO AND TV HISTORY
(THIS IS BROADCASTING!)
BACKGROUND
• Marconi harnesses invisible light.
• https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/guglielmo-marconi
(please read about the Titanic connection here!)
• 1901 – the Morse code ‘S’
• And now…
• 1990 – HDTV front-projection tested
• Lots of attempts. Lots of failures.
EARLY ADVANCES
• 1906 – the alternator
• 1912 – electronic radio wave device
• 1923 – RCA radio popularity
• 1930s – four of five households have a radio
News
Lectures
SOME OF THE FIRST
THINGS THIS
TECHNOLOGY
TRANSMITS……
Presidential addresses
Sports
Concerts
RADIO INTO TELEVISION
(LET’S USE THESE AIR WAVES FOR SOMETHING ELSE!)
• 1935 – televising of the World’s Fair
• 1953 – color televisions arrive to household market
• 1956 – video cassette recorders (VHS videos)
• 1965 – transmission via satellite
• 1990s – consideration of high-definition TV
MEDIA BIAS
THE BRIEFEST OVERVIEW
(TO THE PREVIOUS PICTURE –
THAT’S ME IN THE RED CIRCLE.
I WAS MODERATING A DEBATE.
MY POINT IN CLASSES IS THAT
ANYONE CAN MAKE A MEME,
BUT SOME LOOK LEGITIMATE,
AND PEOPLE BELIEVE THEM
AND SHARE THEM.
OVERVIEW
• 72% of Americans believe traditional news sources
report a form of fake news.
• We are all biased toward information that confirms
our points of view.
• Journalists are biased in that we/they want to have
news that is shareable and consumable.
• We as consumers should know how to identify
media bias.
• We should also acknowledge and appreciate
different perspectives.
SPOTTING THE SPIN

Making claims without support


Presenting opinions as facts


Presenting statistics without citing the evidence
“In the latest string of actions that will not go anywhere, Reps and Dems discussed….”
Sensationalism/Emotionalism

Using shocking exaggeration, like calling a football game a bloodbath
SPOTTING THE SPIN

Ad Hominem


Attacking the person and not the issue
Bias by Omission

Choosing to not cover or place certain sides of a story

And there are many more listed in your PDF reading!

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