Media Bias Chart version 11 — Journalism sorted by bias (Left / Center / Right), reliability (Fact vs Fabrication) and medium (Web/Text, Video/TV, and Audio/Podcast/Radio) (Ad Fontes Media)

The very useful “media bias chart” is one of several useful ways to classify sources of journalism.

While individual items published by any of these sources can vary considerably from the general location depicted in this chart, the takeaway message is that journalism can still be valid and useful even if it has a slant, but the more slanted media you consume, the less likely you are to encounter credible accounts that engage with actual ideas “the other side.”

I make sure to check in regularly with sources above the green line. If I find myself spending a lot of time with the sources in the yellow box, I will hop across the aisle regularly to make sure I understand what credible voices on the other side are saying about a story I’m following.

If we celebrate every source that leans one way as “fair reporting” and every source that leans the other way as “fake news,” that’s an oversimplification. A century ago, even small towns often had both a liberal newspaper and a conservative paper. If you really wanted to understand your community, you would subscribe to both.

Today, if we want want to know how younger educated urban liberals are informing themselves about an issue, Rolling Stone is a valuable source. If we want to know how older working class rural conservatives are informing themselves, then Fox News (the website) is a valuable source.

I feel no need to spend any time with sources in the orange and red zones. 

The publisher, Ad Fontes, also offers an interactive media bias chart, which includes many sites that simply won’t fit on the static version.


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