Frequently Asked Questions

What about international sources?2020-04-29T01:29:31-06:00
The current version of the chart is a US-centric version, so it has mostly US based sources. To the extent there are some international sources, (i.e., BBC, Al Jazeera, The Economist, etc.), we rate those based on their US-facing coverage, rather than the entirety of their coverage.
We do plan to expand to international versions in the future. By necessity, any version of the chart has to be bound by some geography, such as by country or region, because left-right politics differ around the world. What’s left and right in the US is different from what is left-right in France or Saudi Arabia. Therefore, we don’t have Canadian or many European sources on the US-centric chart.
When we do come out with international versions of the chart, they will be made using analysts with political knowledge and include sources from the particular region for which the version of the chart is made.
How is Ad Fontes Media funded?2020-04-29T01:32:32-06:00

Ad Fontes Media funding comes primarily from sales of products and services.

Ad Fontes Media is a Public Benefit Corporation in Colorado, which means it is a for-profit corporation with a stated public benefit mission. That mission is “to make news consumers smarter and news media better.”

The startup company, which was founded in February of 2018, was initially self-funded by its Founder and CEO, Vanessa Otero, who is a patent attorney in Westminster, CO. The company’s initial products included digital licenses and poster prints of the Media Bias Chart®. Ad Fontes Media can and does accept individual donations through its, but they are not tax deductible.

From September to November 2018, the company ran a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and raised approximately $32,000 from 508 individual backers. This funding was used to hire a team of part-time analysts to conduct our first Multi-Analyst Ratings Project, build our database, and build out our Interactive Media Bias Chart.

Since August 2019, Ad Fontes Media has expanded its products and services to include the following:

Ad Fontes Media does not sell ads on its website. Ad Fontes Media currently has no organizational donors or outside investors; however, Ad Fontes Media may seek such funding to grow in the future and will disclose any such funding sources on this site.

What is your methodology for rating these sources?2020-04-29T02:04:23-06:00

Our full methodology explanation can be found at our Methodology Page and in this White Paper.

Isn’t it too simplistic to rank political bias on a left-right spectrum? What about libertarianism? And what about Reason (a libertarian publication)?2021-01-28T20:42:11-07:00

If you think about political dimensions beyond the left-right divide, you are a more astute political observer than most. We use the left-right dimensions because most Americans, whether sophisticated or unsophisticated, recognize that at least these dimensions exist. They exist, in part, by virtue of our two-party system. We recognize that there are additional dimensions, and that many people who are very politically engaged have room for nuance outside of the left-right dimensions.  For further reading, we recommend this article on the dimensionality of Trumpism by Prof. Maxwell Stearns of The University of Maryland Law School.

RE: Reason Magazine:

Reason is a pretty unapologetically libertarian publication. Many libertarians like to think of themselves as centrists because of the whole “socially liberal/fiscally conservative” policy positions, but there’s pretty broad consensus among Democrats and Republicans that Libertarians’ governing policies align with Republicans more than Democrats. This consensus, we believe, has arisen because any Libertarian-friendly politicians in elected positions (there aren’t many, but, for example, Ron and Rand Paul) typically identify as or caucus with Republicans. Also, Libertarians in government tend to not be super interested in implementing new laws (less government!) that would actually protect or advance progressive policies. We believe this is why liberals/progressives/Democrats tend to not vote for Libertarians, while some Republicans do. But notice that Reason is not rated as the most conservative (left-to-right) publication. If you look at  individual articles on the Interactive Chart and on Reason’s Individual Source Page , there are some rated farther to the left because of the particular political issue being discussed.

What about comedy and satire?2020-04-29T01:37:48-06:00

We currently do not rate comedy and satire sources because the sarcasm adds such different linguistic factors, and the shows are in such a different format that each of those considerations require some different dimensions, or at least different categories in the vertical taxonomy. Many current satire and comedy shows do skew liberal or are hyper-partisan liberal, as most observers would likely agree. We may add them in the future, though.

What do you think of MediaBiasFactCheck.com?2021-01-28T20:47:13-07:00

I think it’s a useful site for getting a general sense of partisan bias. The moderators evaluate at least five articles from each site as part of the rating.  Additionally, they crowd-source votes on bias, which can skew the results depending on who the site happens to attract. At the moment, their ratings show CNN to be just as far left as MSNBC, and I don’t think that’s quite right. Another useful site is allsides.com. They also allow people to vote, but they ask the voter to rate their own bias as well. A nice thing about Media Bias Fact Check is that they have tried to rate hundreds of sites–I think they are over 1000 now, so that obviously includes very obscure ones. It’s quite a bit of work, and overall I think that it’s a great resource.

I am trying to provide an extra dimension of rating with the quality axis. Most media evaluation right now is limited to left-right bias ratings and “fact-checking.” However, as you know, there is much more to quality than just fact checking. Stay tuned–I’m trying to fill that void.

Why is CNN ranked there? I think CNN should be _______.2021-01-28T20:46:37-07:00

See here.

What is Zoomshift?2021-01-28T20:39:58-07:00

It is a scheduling platform and used for reporting time worked. It is NOT related to Zoom, Video Conferencing (they are separate services).

What Zoomlink do I use for my shifts?2021-01-28T20:39:31-07:00

All shifts start in this meeting room: https://zoom.us/j/4775856282

How do I record my time in Zoomshift?2021-01-28T20:38:38-07:00

Record a new timesheet for each shift, please see the above video for additional details.

Will Zoomshift record my time automatically?2021-01-28T20:38:10-07:00

Zoomshift will not submit a timesheet for you based on the schedule; so, each shift worked needs its own timesheet. Please see the video above for additional details.

How do I record time not associated with a shift?2021-01-28T20:37:40-07:00

If you’re working at a time that is not on the schedule – reading the assigned training materials, for example – is work not related to a shift.

Please include a note in relation to the type of work done for Ad Fontes so hours worked can be validated.

How come I wasn’t able to pick up that shift?2021-01-28T20:37:01-07:00

We have many analysts working for the team, and open shifts tend to be picked up very quickly.

What do I do if I need my shift covered (as an analyst)?2021-01-28T20:36:19-07:00

If you need someone to cover your shift, generally just put out a request in Zoomshift by opening the shift for coverage. In most cases, there will be an eligible person who is happy to take it for you.

If it’s the same day you’re scheduled to work please also send a note to the shift coordinator. The shift coordinator is best reached via Zoomshift, copy Ria (858-945-6040) and Jeff (319-329-2240) as well.

If you can’t get through to one of us, Vanessa is at 303-885-3952.

How does payroll work?2021-01-28T20:35:44-07:00

Please be aware that our payroll program, Gusto, pays the 15th and 30th of the month, NOT EVERY TWO WEEKS. The pay period cutoffs will be 12th and 27th of each month (except for February, which will be the 12th and 26th).

It takes 2 business days for payroll to hit your bank accounts, so 2 days after payroll is run, you will see a deposit in your bank account.

Please reach out via email to Julie Bachman at julie@adfontesmedia.com if you have any questions or concerns regarding payroll.

Can I rate articles in a batch prior to my shift?2021-01-28T20:35:06-07:00

Articles may be placed into batches ahead of shifts, but please don’t rate them ahead of time for the current projects unless the batch is asynchronous. Shifts are done live for the benefit of everyone and their individual ratings; it is the discussion that informs our final ratings.

How should I rate mixed video/text content? And how should I rate news/release-like content, or content that is coming heavily from the subject of the piece rather than entirely from the source publishing it?2021-01-28T20:34:32-07:00
  • When there is an interview of a company or organizational representative, accompanied by some text-based commentary from the publication, watch at least enough of the video to figure out what it covers in relation to the article.
  • Consider both the video and the article text in your overall rating (e.g., if the video adds more bias than the text has, you can rate the overall piece to have more bias)
  • If it is a company CEO/spokesperson interview almost solely about the company, rate it like we rate articles based on press releases.

For a rubric about how to rate press releases, please go to the analyst materials folder https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1t_7dluBeb7sm6Pqttiv8oZMSNma_hNZg?usp=sharing and find the “press release scoring guide.”

What do I do if I need my shift covered (as a coordinator/facilitator)?2021-01-28T20:33:59-07:00

In these cases, it’s preferable if you contact Ria and/Jeff instead of an open call for a cover. The reason is that not just anyone would be able to cover it very readily, as they may need to be both your political lean and set up for facilitation/coordination, though in a real pinch, we sometimes just need someone who can coordinate.

Please also use Zoomshift discussions to send a note to everyone who may be eligible. Just click the “public” option off, and use checkboxes by the people who may be able to help out. Please include Ria and me when you do it.

What is the role of the Coordinator?2021-01-28T20:33:28-07:00

This person leads a shift of analysts called pods, while simultaneously acting as an analyst and facilitator to their pod. The role includes:

  • Opens the Zoom room by logging in as host
  • Admit the analysts
  • If there’s more than one pod, work with the facilitator(s) to determine which analysts go to each pod
  • If there’s more than one pod, create and manage breakout rooms
  • Ideally, this person also knows how to upload articles to batches, but it’s a little less essential as batches are created in advance of shifts
  • Assist the facilitator(s) as needed
  • Plus everything the facilitator does in the other room. (See Coordinator description)
What is the role of the Facilitator?2021-01-28T20:33:01-07:00
  • In addition to being facilitator, they will be one of the analysts for your pod
  • Add analysts to the batch of articles you’re working on with your pod.
  • Guide the group in moving through articles and discussions
  • View scores and share with the group
  • Assist the coordinator as needed
What is an Analysis Project Lead?2021-01-28T20:31:41-07:00

This person is working on the back end of an analysis project usually corresponding with a client. They either receive or choose and pull URLs related to the project, using guidelines; determine the number needed for each source; upload articles to batches corresponding with that project; track which URLs have been assigned for rating, which has been rated, etc.

Is Ad Fontes looking to hire more analysts?2021-01-28T20:31:08-07:00

We anticipate growth and are always looking for new analysts, if you want to refer someone please send their resume to Ria and Jeff so we have those on file for when we do the next round of hiring.

What do I do if I cannot access an article because of a paywall?2021-01-28T20:30:36-07:00
  • Please refer to the Login & Passwords sites here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14YmBSm9stjSd4kvkLKb-dlXzPcoVm8EMMvlSdQSetvk/edit#gid=0
  • If there is no account try logging in with your email, some sites only require you to log in and you will receive access to several free articles
  • If you are using Chrome as your browser, you can open up an Incognito window which will bypass some paywalls
  • If you have exhausted all your options the Facilitator will pdf. the article and share with the pod in the Zoom chat
How do I open an Incognito browser?2021-01-28T20:30:10-07:00

Google Chrome – Ctrl-Shift-N (Windows), Command-Shift-N (macOS) or click on the 3 dots at the top right of your browser and select ‘New Incognito window’ from the drop-down menu

Microsoft Edge – Ctrl-Shift-N (Windows), Command-Shift-N (macOS), or click on the 3 dots at the top right of your browser and select ‘New InPrivate window’ from the drop-down menu

Mozilla Firefox – Ctrl-Shift-P (Windows), Command-Shift-P (macOS), or click on the 3 dots at the top right of your browser and select ‘New Private Window’ from the drop-down menu

Safari – Command-Shift-N (macOS), or select the File menu and select ‘New Private Window’ from the drop-down menu

Internet Explorer – Ctrl-Shift-P (Windows), or Select the gear icon at the top right of your browser, select safety, and then choose ‘InPrivate Browsing’ from the drop-down menu.

How do I pdf. an article to my pod (as a facilitator)?2021-01-28T20:29:40-07:00

Go to ‘Print’ and when the dialogue box pops up select from the Printer drop-down menu to ‘Save As’ a pdf. Once this is completed you may send the file through the Zoom chat to the others in your pod.

Who are your analysts? How are they selected?2021-01-30T22:16:52-07:00
There are a few spots on our site you can find info about our analysts and how we select them. Section two of this White Paper discusses our selection process.
We occasionally put out calls for new analysts pointing candidates to this Analyst Application link. It has information on the qualities we seek.
Our analyst team is generally split into 1/3 lean-left, 1/3 centrist, and 1/3 right, because our methodology requires each article to be rated by at least 3 people of different political positions. We don’t have formal requirements for particular education or experience levels, but generally, all of our analysts have completed at least some college, with the majority having advanced degrees. The most common fields of experience for our analysts are journalism, education, library/information science, and law. They submit resumes, CVs, or other statements of qualification to apply. We received nearly 150 applications in our last call for analysts.
We have some of our current and former analysts basic bios on our site at our Team Page. We don’t require our analysts to post their bios because they are all part-time volunteers, and most have other employment.