Can you spot the bias? How biased media creates biased consumers

“Another reason some people may demonstrate high levels of bias in reading the news is that they habitually consume highly biased news, distorting their frame of reference.”

This quote from a New York Times piece referencing the results of a Gallup poll underscores a situation we now face as a country.  After years where people consumed cable news stations and other media sources that largely fit their narrative of interest, we have a public that may be as biased as the left and right-leaning news stations we often blame for where we are today.

I recently put on a “can you spot the bias?” exercise during a conference and was pleased to see participants point out all sorts of things.  From the graphics used on the screen to the amount of time given to candidates to adjectives that some felt went too far, the participants uncovered all sorts of problems.

Take a look and give it a try yourself:

Along with the participants of the workshop, we found a few solutions to find balance over bias when consuming media:

  • Try to find unbiased sources:  The company I work for launched a primetime newscast that works each day to provide unbiased coverage.  There are other sources out there also trying to do that.
  • Consume multiple sources.  Don’t rely on just one: You can’t just watch CNN or Fox News.  If you do, you’ll find yourself in the position outlined at the top of this blog post.
  • Go local: I’ve worked in and with dozens of local newsrooms across the country.  On very few occasions will you find an agenda.  These are local journalists simply looking to keep their communities informed.

With so many Americans getting news from social media, that presents an entirely different set of problems.  We’ll take a look at that in a post next week.

What steps have you taken to ensure the news you receive is unbiased as possible?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments. 

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