Library Blog

Media Bias and Information Literacy

Voter Resources graphic

With the November election quickly approaching, it may be difficult to figure out how to avoid false or misleading information when trying to determine a candidate’s views. From social media to television, many people aren’t sure where to turn for reliable, fact-based reporting.  

According to the Digital Resource Center’s Glossary for News Literacymedia bias is “pattern of unfairness or willful inaccuracy over time” that a specific journalist or news outlet might use to help sway readers/listeners to their point of view.  

 Learning to recognize bias in news, especially when it comes to politics, is an important step to becoming a more informed voter. Here are some resources to help you get started! 

  • 4 Moves – Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers by Mike Caulfield provides four easy steps for fact-checking and is a good tool for information consumers of all ages. The 4 Moves are part of a larger work about information literacy on the Web. 
  • 7 Types of Mis- and Disinformation and the Misinformation Matrix is a helpful article with infographics from First Draft that discusses types of “fake news” content and the motivations behind these contents’ creation. 
  • The Implicit Bias Test was developed by Harvard University to explore biases you may not be aware of that can inform how you consume information. This is an important step toward avoiding confirmation bias, which results in looking for information that confirms your beliefs, opinions, or views. 
  • A Useable Source Rubric with Caveats from LIS101.com is a high-level rubric you might use to critically evaluate new sources. This is more appropriate for adults and college-aged students and provides an overview of “information frames” that can shape biased news. 
  • Ad Fontes Media has developed an Interactive Media Bias Chart that helps you see where different news outlets are on a spectrum for political bias and reliability. The news sites, publications, and TV channels in the green box have been rated most reliable and least biased. The site also details how it came to its conclusions about these news outlets.