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Media | Chart | Content Analysis

The Multiple-Analyst-Generated Media Bias Chart by Professor Maxwell Stearns

This post was written by Professor Maxwell Stearns, who is the Venable, Baetjer & Howard Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and an Advisor to Ad Fontes Media. He's a prolific legal scholar and has blogged about the Media Bias Chart twice before. He has written insightful theories about why news sources across the spectrum fall where they do, and why each of the two dimensions of the chart -- reliability and bias -- are important. In this post he takes a deep dive to posit answers to a question I have gotten from ...Read more

By |January 9th, 2020|0 Comments

Media Bias Chart Ranks Patribotics All The Way Left

Even though its author is a self-described conservative and the National Enquirer skews right (and its owner squashed a damaging Trump story) One of the most fascinating types of comments I get are the ones insisting that one of the sources I have ranked in the bottom left of the Media Bias Chart, the Patribotics blog, should actually be ranked to the right. More fascinating still are the comments defending the credibility of the site. This post explores why I have this source ranked where it is, and also discusses similar reasons why National Enquirer is ranked where it is. ...Read more

By |July 28th, 2018|12 Comments

Junk Food and Junk News: The Case for “Information Fitness”

We, as humans, have basic needs for several things. One of them is food. Another is information. We are always, by necessity and want, taking in both. It’s fair to say we even love both food and information. But we also, as humans, have a propensity for indulging in too much of a good thing to the point that we turn it into a bad thing. It’s easy for us to develop bad habits around any of our basic needs. This is especially true when indulging provides some kind of instant gratification but long-term damage. I submit that generally, our ...Read more

By |June 27th, 2018|35 Comments

Part 2 of 4: Why Measuring Political Bias is So Hard, and How We Can Do It Anyway: The Media Bias Chart Horizontal Axis

Post Two of a Four-Part Series   The Media Bias Chart Horizontal Axis:   How to Define Political Bias in a Meaningful, Useful Way In part one of this series I laid out some problems with existing ways of measuring bias and outlined a proposed new methodology for rating such bias in news sources within a defined taxonomy (the horizontal axis of the Media Bias Chart). In this post, I’ll first define what the terms “partisanship” and “political bias” in this taxonomy (“partisanship” and “political bias” are used somewhat interchangeably here, though they are distinguishable in some aspects). More specifically, ...Read more

By |June 7th, 2018|35 Comments

Part 1 of 4: Why Measuring Political Bias is So Hard, and How We Can Do It Anyway: The Media Bias Chart Horizontal Axis

Post One of a Four-Part Series The Media Bias Chart Horizontal Axis:   Part 1: Measuring Political Bias--Challenges to Existing Approaches and an Overview of a New Approach Many commentators on the Media Bias Chart have asked me (or argued with me about) why I placed a particular source in a particular spot on the horizontal axis. Some more astute observers have asked (and argued with me about) the underlying questions of “what do the categories mean?” and “what makes a source more or less politically biased?” In this series of posts I will answer these questions. In previous posts ...Read more

By |May 25th, 2018|11 Comments

An Exercise for Bias Detection

A great exercise to train your bias-detecting skills is to check on a high volume of outlets –say, eight to ten--across the political spectrum in the 6-12 hours right after a big political story breaks. I did this right after the release of the Nunes memo on Friday, Feb 2. This particular story provided an especially good occasion for comparison across sites for several reasons, including: -It was a big political story, so nearly everyone covered it. It’s easier to compare bias when each source is covering the same story. -The underlying story is fact-dense, meaning that a lot of ...Read more

By |February 5th, 2018|18 Comments

Media Bias Chart, 3.1 Minor Updates Based on Constructive Feedback

So why is it time for another update to the Media Bias Chart? I’m a strong believer in changing one’s mind based on new information. That’s how we learn anyway, and I wish people would do it more often. I think it would lead to nicer online discussions and less polarization in our politics. Perhaps people don’t “change their minds based on new information” as much as they should because it is often framed more negatively as “admitting you are wrong.” I don’t particularly mind admitting I'm wrong. In any event, I’m making some minor updates to the Media ...Read more

By |February 5th, 2018|289 Comments

Observations on The Chart by Law Professor Maxwell Stearns of U. Maryland

Law professor Maxwell Stearns, who blogs about law, politics, and culture, recently published this post about the chart, which has several useful insights about 1) distilling the ranking criteria into sub-categories, 2) why the sources on the chart form a bell curve, 3) how the rankings might be made more scientifically. Give it a read! https://www.blindspotblog.us/single-post/2017/11/18/The-Viral-Media-Graphic-with-special-thanks-to-Vanessa-Otero

By |November 19th, 2017|14 Comments

Everybody has an Opinion on CNN

I get the most feedback by far on CNN, and, in comparison to feedback on other sources on the chart, CNN is unusual because I get feedback that it should be moved in all the different directions (up, down, left, and right). Further, most people who give me feedback on other sources suggest that I should just nudge a source one way or another a bit. In contrast, many people feel very strongly that CNN should be moved significantly in the direction they think. I believe there are a couple of main reasons I am getting this kind of feedback. ...Read more

By |November 17th, 2017|17 Comments

The Chart, Version 3.0: What, Exactly, Are We Reading?

Note: this is actually version 3.1 of The Chart. I made some minor changes from version 3.0, explained here: https://www.adfontesmedia.com/chart-3-1-minor-updates-based-constructive-feedback/ Summary: What’s new in this chart: I edited the categories on the vertical axis to more accurately describe the contents of the news sources ranked therein (long discussion below). I stuffed as many sources (from both version 1.0 and 2.0, plus some new ones) on here as I could, in response to all the “what about ______ source” questions I got. Now the logos are pretty tiny. If you have a request for a ranking of a particular source, let me ...Read more

By |November 8th, 2017|682 Comments

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