Evaluating media outlets

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Evaluating media outlets

Postby drunken » Mon May 17, 2010 6:48 am UTC

After investigating bias and credibility in the media for a short time, it has come to my attention that reliable credible news sources are few and far between. I have begun a side quest to find at least one decent source of news so that I might have something to compare to, and so that I can have a source of information about current affairs. Rather than start an argument here however, I thought it best to admit that this is a rather subjective question and treat it as such. So I will list the news orginisations I have some experience with and rate each out of ten for my perception of bias, and for their breadth of coverage (wether they cover all newsworthy stories or ignore some).

I am requesting that other users of this forum to do the same. Remember this is a subjective personal evaluation so don't tell people they are wrong. I will keep a running average going and hopefully by the end we will know which news sources to use. We are rating the international news not local news, 0 is total propaganda and 10 is superhuman unreproachable credibility.

These are my ratings (I live in New Zealand so my experience of the US networks is not as comprehensive as an American's should be.) Also note I am basing my ratings on the websites of these organisations as I don't watch television.

Al Jazeera: Bias 4/10 Coverage 3/10
BBC World: Bias 2.5/10 Coverage 2/10
CSPAN: Bias 3/10 Coverage 1/10
Fox news: Bias 1/10 Coverage 0.5/10
NBC/CBS/CNN: Bias 2/10 Coverage 1/10
New Zealand Herald: Bias 2/10 Coverage 1/10

Any news organisation that scores below 5 in either category is not worth consulting at all in my opinion. Anyone know of any that are?

This is probably best suited to General. -Hawk
***This post is my own opinion and no claim is being made that it is in any way scientific nor intended to be construed as such by any reader***

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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby The Reaper » Mon May 17, 2010 1:25 pm UTC

I see your bias towards fox news.

DrudgeReport bias 2/10, coverage 4/10
physorg bias 6/10, coverage 5/10 for science news
ainews.org bias 8/10 coverage 2/10 (its a crawler that autograbs news from tech-type sites)
Eurekalert.org bias 9/10 coverage 5/10 (science news only)

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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby drunken » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:57 pm UTC

I am surprised and concerned that no one wants to talk about the credibility of the newsmedia. To me this seems like one of the most important issues of this era. Yes I have a bias against fox news, I wanted to give it a much lower score but I thought I should try and be impartial. I can offer sources and examples of bias, although my ratings are my opinion they are carefully considered and based on careful observation. I challenge someone to convince me or anyone else that fox news is a credible news source.

But this is not about fox, it is a world wide problem. Apart from scientific and tech news, where it is easy to be impartial, even the sole respondent to my thread here didn't seem inclined to rate any news outlets above 4 for bias, meaning we don't even have the average expected credibility anywhere.

According to the moderators media credibility isn't even serious business. US media control is at about the same level now as it was in soviet russia under stalin. I refuse to believe I am the only xkcd user who ha a problem with this.
***This post is my own opinion and no claim is being made that it is in any way scientific nor intended to be construed as such by any reader***

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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby sje46 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:34 pm UTC

Dude, I agree that Fox sucks, but you are way to cynical. A bias of 1 out of 10 should be reserved for North Korea or Oceania (from 1984). And coverage of 0.5? That would mean they cover basically nothing. Fox News covers the oil spill, the wars, the president's speeches, celebrity gossip, etc. A coverage of 0.5 would mean they would not cover huge news. Like the oil spill. Not even fox news is that bad!

Remember this is a subjective personal evaluation so don't tell people they are wrong.
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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby Dark Avorian » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:54 pm UTC

I agree, you can't cover every damn story.
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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby podbaydoor » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:26 am UTC

Also, big news outlets consist of different departments and each are run by different editors/producers with different styles and management/journalistic ability. What if an outlet has a stellar business section and a subpar arts/theater section, for example? The single overall rating doesn't tell the whole story - consider comparing by categories instead. And how do you compare outlets with different mediums? A TV reporter approaches a story differently from a newspaper reporter - starting with the fact that they cater to different audiences, and this inexorably shapes the final product.

US media control is at about the same level now as it was in soviet russia under stalin.

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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby orinjuse » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:19 am UTC

You gave the BBC two out of ten for coverage? Seriously? What kind of omniscient bloody pantheon of an editorial team are you looking for?

I agree with your basic premise that good quality journalism is thinner on the ground than it ought to be, but otherwise...go back to your studies, mate.
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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby Krong » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:36 am UTC

Also, ignoring the cynicism expressed by your numbers, it's kind of unfair to rate news organizations based solely on their focus on international news when some are catering to an international audience and some aren't.
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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby the_bandersnatch » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:40 pm UTC

To the OP: you're seriously rating Al Jazeera as better in both bias and coverage than the BBC World service? I'm but if that's the case I find it hard to take your other ratings seriously.

Also, I agree that as awful as Fox are a bias of 1 may be a little too low... maybe 2 would be better. Coverage for them should be higher.
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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby Enuja » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:42 pm UTC

What stories do you criticize the BBC for missing? Since you said you're judging websites, I'm surprised you said BBC World: that's the name of the radio news channel for the BBC, but http://news.bbc.co.uk/ is a much more comprehensive index to the BBC's online coverage of world news than http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice which is the BBC World page.

How are you judging bias?

I agree with the other posters that your ratings are uselessly low (what's the point of having a 10 unit scale if you only use 4 units?), and that online global news coverage is radically less censored, less propaganda, and more coverage than Soviet Russia under Stalin. To claim otherwise is absurd hyperbole that helps convince people not to join your conversation.

However, I am very surprised that you said that Science and Tech news is easy to cover without bias. I think that world Science news coverage is much, much worse than world political news. At least with world political news, you can get coverage from journalists with different political backgrounds that give very different ideas of the news. With Science news, you usually have to read the actual journal article (and a bunch of other articles in the field) to really understand what is going on, science journalists rarely give do a decent job of locating the news within the current state of the field in question. With Tech news, it's mostly advertisements for the newest commercial product.

It doesn't make sense for you to take personally the move of your thread into General from Serious Business. Serious Business is (supposed to be) about high quality, information based and analytical discussion. Your thread started out as an opinionated rant begging for additional posts. General has a much higher traffic volume (therefore, more responses), and your rant fits here better than it fits in Serious Business, which is not supposed to be for ranting.

You want ratings from other posters? Fine.

BBC news 10/10 for not-propaganda and 10/10 for breadth of coverage. I think that the BBC does an excellent job of providing background information, and going into just enough detail on each story that they can have a breadth of coverage.

NPR news 8/10 for not-propaganda and 4/10 for breadth of coverage. If you want world news, don't go here, but it if you want US news, it's a credible source.

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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby Indon » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:43 pm UTC

If you're going to have standards, I'd say you should describe some objective criteria for those standards. How often does a news network bring in 'consultants' as opposed to reporters, for instance?
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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby drunken » Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:58 pm UTC

There are many good points made in these responses. I don't have enough time to respond to them all right now as I have to go to work, and some of them will take hours of research to provide an adequate answer to. Let me say now though that you are all right that my ratings might be much too low, I will do some research over the next few days and see if I can either provide supporting evidence, or failing that, change them. I agree that fox news most likely covers more than 5% of viale stories and the bbc more than 20%.

I would like to thank Enuja for actually offering his/her own opinion on the question, which is what I asked for at the start. I really do care what other people think and this was the main reason for posting this. Actually trawling through hundreds of pages of coverage will be time consuming and difficult but when I do, I will concentrate on adressing Enuja's concerns first. With reagards to science and tech news, I totally agree, and I realise I misspoke. While it still seems to me that if one wanted to publish unbiased science and tech news that would be easier than social and political news, what you say is true about the reality of those who actually do it. With regard to general vs. serious forums, I was not taking it peronally at all, in fact I don't think the moderators in either forum actually know me at all as I don't post all that much. It was the content of the thread that prompted the move and I have no doubt about that.

More later, and thanks everyone for your responses. More ratings please if you have time.
***This post is my own opinion and no claim is being made that it is in any way scientific nor intended to be construed as such by any reader***

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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby sje46 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:53 am UTC

I don't read/watch Al Jazeera and BBC and other non-US outlets. However...

Bias: 7/10 Coverage: 8/10
Fox News
Bias: 3/10 Coverage: 5/10
Bias: 5/10 Coverage 7/10
Daily Show
Bias: 8.5/10 Coverage 2/10
Bias: 4.5/10, Coverage 9/10
Huffington Post
Bias: 4/10, Coverage: 7/10

There are where I get my news.
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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby Velict » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:55 pm UTC

No love for the Economist here?

Most of my news comes from newspapers - New York Times (online), the Wall Street Journal, and the Economist. I don't really read or watch anything else.

NYT has an editorial stance that is slightly left of center. I remember an interview on Colbert where a NYT commentator joked about how "lonely" it was to be a conservative at the NYT; quite famously, the "debunker in chief" and Nobel prizewinner Paul Krugman writes columns here. I think that the NYT probably has the best international news coverage of any major US news outlet. It also generally avoids the sort of celebrity, "bullshit" news that CNN and its peers constantly air.

WSJ is a great newspaper, but it has a narrow focus. It's fairly cerebral, but it's right-of-center and quite expensive. Its business news is top notch, though.

The Economist is a weekly, but it has very good coverage of international news as well as intelligent commentary on events in the US/UK. It is right-of-center as well.

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Re: Evaluating media outlets

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:14 pm UTC

Rather than use your numerical rankings, I think it makes more sense just to rank the services I use against each other. Without really knowing what a 8 is relative to a 6, it's hard for me to do anything really objective. The services I typically read online are: CBC News (Canada), National Post (Canada), Globle and Mail (Canada), Macleans (Canada), BBC, The Economist.

In terms of national (Canadian) news, I would rank these as:
1. Globe
2. Post
3. CBC
4. Macleans
5. BBC
6. Economist

For international news, I'd probably go with:
1. BBC
2. Economist
3. Globe
4. CBC
5. Post
6. Macleans

In terms of bias, I'd rank them this way:
Most left-------------------Balanced---------------------------------------------Most right

For what it's worth, I basically never read BBC/Economist for national news (they rarely have anything). For international news, I don't read Macleans, Post, or CBC, and only occasionally read the Globe.

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