10 Steps to Avoid Media Bias (Part 2)

This post is a continuation of the previous article: 10 Steps to Avoid Media Bias (Part 1)

6. Ask “Does this person know what they’re talking about”

If you’re reading an opinionated article, think to yourself “has this journalist truly engaged with the subject they’re commenting upon?” If the answer is no, then it’s probably not worth reading. Take the Telegraph’s Christopher Brooker. Every week he opines on the falsity of climate change science. Brooker is not a meteorologist, nor does he hold any true training or experience within the field of science. Despite this lack of expertise, he feels quite comfortable damming the life works of thousands of experienced professionals.

7. Ask “Does this person have a motive”

It only takes a few minutes on Google to discover whether what you’re reading is truly unbiased. As one example, consider Nigel Lawson’s damming examination of climate change “An Appeal To Reason”. A fairly brief Google search will reveal Mr Lawson’s strong connections with CET, an organisation boasting clients such as BP, Texico and Shell.

8. Question how quickly the story broke

In the age of twitter we’ve come to expect instant answers and instant results. By pressuring journalists to cover “breaking news” we work to undermine the slow process of fact collection and analysis. It’s best to wait until all the facts have come out before forcing judgements and commentary.

9. Ask “Is this one of the most important things happening today”

Surprisingly enough, the purpose of newspapers is to report the news. And by the news I mean whatever is most newsworthy that day. Working with very limited space, editors and journalists must only write about the most pressing issues of the day. As such if you read a PR piece about Rihanna’s new album, or ASDA’s latest store opening, you can pretty much ignore it as a perversion of the news.

10. Support newspapers and pay for content

As we grow increasingly accustomed to receiving information for free, the future of professional journalism is put in ever more danger. Newspapers are big business, and as big businesses, they want to please their customers. The only problem is that we’re no longer their customers, advertisers are. If large corporate sponsors are paying journalists’ wages, do you honestly believe it won’t impact the type of content they include?

Alex Warren
Alex Warren
Miserablist, whiskey-drinker, and general tinpot shambles. Alex Warren has a weary pessimism for all things media, politics and tech.