Bias in the Media: Getting Started

What's in this Guide?

This guide will help you explore the topic of media bias and locate sources for your research:

Why Consider Opposing Viewpoints?

"The only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise person ever acquired their wisdom in any mode but this." ~ John Stuart Mill

In our media-intensive culture, it is easy to find differing points of view. The difficulty lies in deciding which opinion to agree with and determine which viewpoints seem the most credible.

The First Amendment

The media industry has unique qualities that distinguish it from other industries, its privileged legal position under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. This right makes the media exempt from government restraints that would normally apply to other  businesses, and with that comes the responsibility to give people the information they need to make informed decisions.


Recommended Reading

"How To Understand The Bias Of A Publication." Points Of View: Writing An Essay (2014): 10. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 19 May 2016.

Learning Activites That Explore Media Bias

The interactive activities below were prepared by the students at the University of Michigan. Click each link to explore ways in which media bias is demonstrated through word choice, omission, limiting debate, story framing and source selection.

Image Bias Activities
The choice of what images to use or not use to in a news story is an important decision made by all media sources. This decision will often shape our viewpoint or opinion about people or events. Try these activities to see how you interpret the media images.

Heads-Up Headlines
See how a headline is used to evoke a response from the reader. Click on the headlines and attempt to predict the content/slant of the article based on what the headline tells you.

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