Evaluation

Check Your Bias: Media Evaluation

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I used to tell my students there was no such thing as unbiased media – everyone has a slant – and I stand by that statement. However, there are media resources/outlets that do their best to remain “neutral”, as hard as that may be. One thing we know, even if an outlet tries to remain bias free the person/people contributing the media still have a bias.

I recently found a source I wish I had known about while I was in the classroom. It would have been incredibly valuable! The site is called AllSides.com. The cool thing is that you can get news from across the political spectrum – the Left, Center, and the Right. So, if you are a news hound like I am, you can get your news from all perspectives, not just the ones Google thinks you want to see (remember, Google logs your clicks and searches so it progressively narrows the results you get based on your selections).

Allsides

AllSides.com site banner

An interesting part of this website is the ability to check your own bias. It has you take their short bias survey, but you also have the ability to complete a bias survey from Pew Research as well as a political party quiz from Pew (for confirmation of where you fall, specifically, or seriously have no idea). All together those surveys give you a pretty complete picture of your social and political bias.

From there, you can rate the numerous media outlets based on your perception of their bias. Of course, your opinion is only a small part of the overall bias rating. They take all the submissions (a sort of crowd-sourcing) and then use statistical research and methodologies to develop on over-all rating for the media source. The methods they are using is really quite interesting. For me, I agreed with the bias rating on about 70% of the media outlets. I gave my input and added it to the aggregate results.

Article

An example of what you would see at AllSides.com

The important thing here is that you are contributing to bias awareness. Why is that important? Well, too many American’s get their information from too few sources. If more Americans took time to look at the same topic from different sources/perspectives, they might understand the topic in a more well-rounded way. Instead, many Americans fall into or use a confirmation bias. This is dangerous, especially in a technological, highly connected society that is hyper-sensitive and hyper-politicized.

We have to (no, really NEED to) stop using just one source to support our argument. Or, even better, we need to stop using sources that fit our point of view. We need to encourage more media sources to go back to what they used to do – report, without editorial and bias. We need to stop trying to argue our points over social media and instead demand truthful, unbiased reporting.

I know. Maybe I am too hopeful that we can “turn this ship around”. But, I believe that if we are more aware of our own bias we might have a chance. I think using websites like this is a good first step in the right direction.

**Disclaimer: This is not a paid endorsement for the website mentioned above and I am in no way affiliated with the organization. Just a satisfied new user.**

Two Kinds of People

There are two kinds of people in this world.

Surprisingly (not really) there are lots of sayings out there on the internet that start with this phrase. I have done some research and I can’t find anything that resembles what I am about to say, so I apologize to whomever if I am stealing your words. I have no intention of stealing your words, so if you said it you can claim it here and I’ll give you attribution.

There are two kinds of people in this world,

those who give life and those who suck life right out of you.

I have known this for a long time. However, there are stages in my life that I realize as I look back on them that I have either been one of them, or both. I hope that I haven’t been the latter as often as I have been the former, but I guess that really isn’t up to me to judge. I also know, as I look back, that I have most certainly had both kinds of people in my life. I haven’t always recognized it as quickly as I should have. Lessons learned.

I have two pieces of advice. First, evaluate the people in your life. Do it honestly (this will be tough!), and do it quickly. The sooner you realize who the givers and the suckers are, the better off you’ll be. Second, get rid of the suckers. They aren’t worth it. That’s not to say give them a second chance and to have grace with them, but after a while the sucking overrides the giving and that is when it is time to cut them loose.

Where do you fall? Be honest with yourself. Are you a giver of life or a sucker of life?

Feel free to comment on the subject of this post or to add your own “two kinds” statement.