How to Detect Bias in the News

How to Detect
Bias in the News
Bias through placement
• Page One – Teen shoots man at bus
• Page 35 – Teens collect turkeys to serve
Bias through selection and
Class choices:
British Lit
American Lit
Not offered: African Literature
Bias by headline
Bias by photos, captions and
camera angles
Bias through use of names and
• Bill Gates the ex con
In 1977 the owner of
Microsoft was arrested for
driving without a license and
not stopping at a stop sign.
This wasn’t the first time he
got arrested though. In 1975
he was arrested for driving
without a license and
speeding. In 1989 he was
arrested for driving drunk but
that charge was reduced later
• Bill Gates the Multimillion Dollar
Bias through statistics and
crowd counts
• Fifty people injured in Air Crash!
Only 7% of passengers sustained
minor injuries
50 out of 700
• To make a disaster seem more
spectacular (and therefore worthy of
reading about), numbers can be inflated.
"A hundred injured in aircrash" can be the
same as "only minor injuries in air crash,"
reflecting the opinion of the person doing
the counting.
If 714 people were onboard, &
7% were injured this would
mean 50 people
Bias by source control
• To detect bias, always consider where the
news item "comes from."
Word choice and tone
• Pushy or Assertive?
• skinny or slim?
• reckless or daring?
Pretend Magazine
• Please turn the
pages of this fake
magazine and
using your media
information sheet
see if you can spot
Memories of Hurricane Katrina
Two residents wade
through chest-deep water
after finding bread and
soda from a local grocery
store after Hurricane
Katrina came through the
area in New Orleans,
Images/Chris Graythen)
Page 2
Page 3
Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham
Clinton spent
nearly a half-hour
Friday meeting with Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas as the
Obama administration tried to prevent
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks from
Let’s look at teen magazines
Page 3
Page 4