Skip to main content

EDFL 3240 - Media Bias Assignment

What is media bias?

What are Biased or Pro & Con Sources?

The authors of pro & con or biased articles, books, or other sources have a specific bias and are trying to persuade the reader of a specific point of view in contrast to most academic articles that typically focus on topics in an objective manner that is meant to inform the reader.

Here are some characteristics of persuasive or biased articles:

  • Generally the authors do not state their agenda or tell the reader if they are for or against the topic. The reader has to determine if it is objective or persuasive.
  • The authors of these opinion or pro & con articles, books, or other resource may or may not have done research on the topic. The only way to tell is if the authors lists the sources used for their research.
  • If there is a list of sources used available, they are generally only those that support the agenda or argument of the author and do include those that support a different point of view.


Bias is "a particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling, or opinion" about someone or something. When we discuss bias in media in the US, we are generally referring to conservative (also known as right) v. liberal (also known as left) bias, though there are many more ways to be biased and no one is truly free of bias. 

Bias differs from fake news in that fake news is specifically untrue. Biased sources don't necessarily use lies, they just don't include the whole picture, only using the facts that support their viewpoint. By using only the facts that support their cause they are giving an incomplete and therefore inaccurate picture. 

How to spot media bias

When trying to spot bias, ask yourself these questions: 

1. What kind of information is it? 
News? Opinion? Ad? Does it appeal to your emotions or does it make you think?

2. Who and what are the sources cited and why should you believe them?
 Is the source given? Is the source associated with a political party or special interest group?

3. What’s the evidence and how was it vetted?
What’s the evidence and how was it vetted? Is the source a document? Witness? Or is it hearsay/speculation?

4: Is the main point of the piece proven by the evidence?
Did the sources provided justify the conclusion or main point of the story?

5. What’s missing?
Was there an aspect or point that was not covered or unclear that you are left wondering about?

Based on American Press Institute.

What are Biased or Pro & Con Sources?

The authors of pro & con or biased articles, books, or other sources have a specific bias and are trying to persuade the reader of a specific point of view in contrast to most academic articles that typically focus on topics in an objective manner that is meant to inform the reader.

Here are some characteristics of persuasive or biased articles:

  • Generally the authors do not state their agenda or tell the reader if they are for or against the topic. The reader has to determine if it is objective or persuasive.
  • The authors of these opinion or pro & con articles, books, or other resource may or may not have done research on the topic. The only way to tell is if the authors lists the sources used for their research.
  • If there is a list of sources used available, they are generally only those that support the agenda or argument of the author and do include those that support a different point of view.
     

When it is appropriate to use biased sources for assignments

Opinion or pro & con articles, books or other resources with bias are ideal to use in argumentative papers or presentations.

They can also be used for informative research assignments, but you have to be more careful so as not to produce an unintentionally biased paper or presentation that is meant to be objective.

Most importantly, you have to be able to recognize if your source is biased and if it is appropriate for your assignment. If you are not sure, ask your instructor.

Material on this page is based on: COM Library LibGuide https://libguides.com.edu/ https://libguides.com.edu/c.php?g=649909&p=4556558]