Many of you are already familiar with the Media Bias Chart (http://www.allgeneralizationsarefalse.com/the-chart-version-3-0-what-exactly-are-we-reading/), which has been updated recently. While a quick view of it is the best way to understand it, briefly, it looks at a variety of news sources, evaluates them on two separate factors (accuracy and political point of view), then charts them on graph, with the implicit understanding that news sources that are accurate and politically neutral are most reliable (duh). Honestly, I think some of the sources I trust most are treated a little too harshly, while some I trust a bit less are let off more easily, but overall I think the chart is fair and balanced, or at least fair enough and balanced enough for me to explore my own media diet to make sure I’m getting enough of all the food groups.
Briefly, the green box at the top lists all the reliable news sources, along with their slight skews. NBC (not MSNBC!) is listed as being slightly liberal, CBS as being slightly conservative and ABC as being the most centrist. Most important, though, all three are seen as having minimal bias. Further out on the ideological scales, but still rated as neutral, are NPR and the BBC on the left and The Christian Science Monitor and The Wall Street Journal on the right. This too seems about right to me—I trust the facts in a BBC story as much as those in a Journal story.
Moving down to the yellow box, we’re examining interpretation of the news, and here the partisan/ideological gulf becomes much wider, with Slate, MSNBC and Mother Jones moving into hyper-partisan territory on the left and National Review, The Weekly Standard and Reason on the right. This shift to the outskirts seems perfectly reasonable, since in interpretation we’re talking not just about facts, but the meaning of those facts. Interestingly, CNN, which I consider a liberal but responsible interpreter of the news, seems to cross over into unfair interpretation of the news, according to the chart. While it may be less politically skewed than, say, MSNBC, it is also a less fair interpreter of information. I may need to reconsider the CNN in my media diet, given this information.
Finally, there are the sources that should be considered unreliable, offering unfair interpretations of the news or nonsense and lies damaging to public discourse. Here we have HuffPo, Daily Kos and Occupy Democrats on the left and The Drudge Report, Fox News and InfoWars on the right. Interestingly, many of my friends on the right use Fox News as their primary news source, something this information may cause them to ponder.
Yesterday, I published a list of all the podcasts I listen to, but today I’ll just be examining the news/opinion/politics shows.
Neutral News, Sources: 6
NBC, NPR, ABC, CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post
Liberal News iInterpretation: 9
Atlantic Monthly (1)
Conservative News Interpretation: 4
National Review (1 podcast)
Weekly Standard (2 podcasts)
Reason (1 podcast)
Biased Liberal Sources: 1
CNN (7 podcasts)
Biased Conservative Sources: 1
Fox (1 podcast)
Quick Response: I really am concerned about CNN, and how many of its news shows I listen to—primarily because they are available quickly in the evening. Inaccuracy or unfairness are, in the words of Winston Churchill, “Up with something I will not put.” At the very least, I’ll be listening with a clearer and more jaded ear, but I’ll likely cut back on one or two of the evening news shows.
Honestly, while I know Fox News and CNN are identified as unfair interpreters of the news, I listen to both their Sunday morning interview shows, and don’t feel in danger of missing any bias there.
Overall, I’m heavier on liberal sources than I’d like, and hope some kind reader can point me to a few more conservative news interpretation podcasts. Please?
Finally, I didn’t include Dan Carlin’s podcast or 538’s politics podcast because neither of them is on the chart.
Tomorrow I promise to return to analysis of the human condition of an aging alcoholic living in a Tiny White Box in the Great North Woods. After all, I’m kind of an expert in that.
Anderson Cooper 360
Fareed Zakaria GPS
SE Cupp Unfiltered
The Situation Room
State of America
State of the Union with Jake Tapper
The Lead with Jake Tapper
New York Times
The Daily (NYT)
Face The Nation
Fox News Sunday
MSNBC Morning Joe
MSNBC Rachel Maddow
The 11th Hour with Brian Williams
The Last Word
1947: The Meet the Press Podcast
This Week with George Stephanopoulos
The Daily Standard
The Daily Standard Podcast
Stay Tuned with Preet
Slate’s Political Gabfest
The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg (NR)
The Weekly Standard Confab
The Washington Post
Can He Do That?