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Hebrew 12 - Israeli News Assignment

Guide to finding news articles and to evaluating media bias


Detecting Media Bias

What type of content is this?

Is it a news article? An investigative report? An opinion piece? An editorial? An “advertorial”?

Who is the publisher and what are their affiliations?

Are they sponsored by an outside organization or publication? Do they have a political or religious slant? (Hint: you might not be able to tell from just one article).

Follow the money! (ABC is the network that produces World News Tonight, but ABC is owned by Disney. Can World News Tonight run a completely un-biased story about sexism in Disney films?)

How did the journalist get his or her information?

Was he or she an eyewitness? How many people were interviewed and quoted? Are they named? If they are government or corporate officials is their title given? If the source is a document who produced it and when?

Is the main point of the piece proven by the evidence?

With the exception of a straightforward breaking news story (think: “this just in, fire destroys downtown lightbulb factory.”) most news stories have a thesis or try to make a point (think: “officials in Flint, MI knew about lead in the drinking water.”)

What conclusions are being drawn? Is there enough evidence to support the case being made? Are alternative views given a chance to make their case? Does the journalist acknowledge what is unknown or uncertain?

Does the tone and content of the headline match what the article is about and the conclusions drawn?

Be wary of “clickbait” in online media outlets. Online newspapers generate ad revenue when you click on a headline to read the full article, so they will often write provocative headlines that make claims that are actually contradicted in the article. Media outlets that do this frequently are generally considered to be less reputable than those who are tamer with their headlines.

Headlines can also be used to convey approval or disapproval.