Intro to the Media Bias Chart®

This is the Media Bias Chart, in its latest iteration. It’s a unique way of laying out the complex media landscape in two dimensions: news value and reliability, on the vertical axis, and bias, on the horizontal axis.

People find it helpful because it’s a useful taxonomy (i.e., system of classification) for discussing a complex subject. We also have a detailed methodology for how we place sources on the chart. Further explanations about the Media Bias Chart below:

Download the Media Bias Chart

Here are a few FAQs about the Media Bias Chart. We go into the answers to each of these in detail in our methodology.

-Who decides where the sources get placed?

Ad Fontes Media has a team of over 40 paid analysts who rate individual articles, episodes, and shows of news sources. They are politically balanced left, right, and center, and come from a range of personal and professional backgrounds.

Read about Ad Fontes Media’s founder, leadership and development team, and media analysts.

-How are scores calculated?

The overall source score for each news source is comprised of a weighted average of the individual article scores. Lower reliability scores and higher bias scores get weighted more heavily.

-What does the left-right axis represent?

The left-right spectrum is anchored by the contemporary political positions of United States elected officials.

-What does it mean if a source is in the “middle” of the Chart?

The “middle” represents three distinct concepts. A source can be in the middle if it is either 1) minimally biased, 2) centrist, or 3) balanced. The “middle” isn’t necessarily the “best.” This Chart just tries to capture what the “middle” of US contemporary politics IS, without taking a position on what it “should be.”

For a full primer on the Media Bias Chart, see this 1-hour webinar recording by Ad Fontes Founder and CEO Vanessa Otero:

Intro to the Media Bias Chart: Definitions and Methodology