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Fake News & Media Bias: Check Bias

Check for Bias

When evaluating information, it's important to think about bias. There is bias in reporting, but we also all have our own personal cognitive biases. The personal bias most likely to impact our evaluation of information is conformation bias. 

Media Bias

Bias is nearly inescapable in today's news media. Our prevalent use of social media only heightens its effect. You may notice that a source's print or web version may be less biased than it's television version or even its social media presence. While bias is the presence of a prejudice, opinion, or distorted view of objective reality that can lead journalists to manipulate the way they present factual information, it should not be confused with explicitly fake news, which intentionally includes lies that are not objectively true at all. According to some, the press may be better served by acknowledging and managing bias rather than trying to completely eliminate it.

Filter Bubbles

Everything you do online is impacted by, and also impacts, algorithms. These algorithms are programs running in the background of web browsers, social media sites, shopping sites, etc. that track the items you click on and view and use that information to try to predict what you want to see in the future. That means that no two people will end up with the same set of search results. While this is convenient, it also means that important information that challenges your beliefs or informs you about things happening in the world that don't align with your "likes" gets filtered out, and you never know it. Eli Pariser calls this world where information is tailored to your likes and dislikes a "filter bubble," and it makes you vulnerable to false information. 

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is our natural tendency to believe information that aligns with our current ideas and beliefs. We are more willing to trust that than we are to trust information that challenges our beliefs; in fact, we may be more critical of information that challenges our beliefs.