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Ask the Miner: Let's talk about media bias


QUESTION: Where can someone go to find news that is unbiased? It seems there are a lot of news stations who claim to be telling the truth but are slanted toward their political views. I am not writing this question as a dig on any of our local news. I would just like to share with locals a news source that can't be labeled “fake news.”

ANSWER: This is a compelling and interesting question for our times. It's also almost impossible to answer. Everyone views life — and news — through their own lens, a point of view set in

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QUESTION: Where can someone go to find news that is unbiased? It seems there are a lot of news stations who claim to be telling the truth but are slanted toward their political views. I am not writing this question as a dig on any of our local news. I would just like to share with locals a news source that can't be labeled “fake news.”

ANSWER: This is a compelling and interesting question for our times. It's also almost impossible to answer. Everyone views life — and news — through their own lens, a point of view set in motion by experience. Even the most reputable, long-lasting news sources are viewed by some as biased.

It is true many publications and networks offer news with a slant. It's not generally fake news — it's selective news. Fox on the right, MSNBC on the left. CNN somewhere in the middle.

A little over a year ago, Vanessa Otero, a patent attorney in Denver, received a lot of attention for a chart she created to rank news sources according to bias. In December, she came out with chart 3.0 that added some sources.

She also changed the headings to be more direct. Instead of mainstream (for least biased) she labeled them neutral. The highest sources (neutral, original fact reporting and minimal partisan bias) were AP, Reuters and Bloomberg. Also in the neutral category were The New York Times, The Guardian, Washington Post and the three major television networks.

Conservative were Fox News, Daily Caller, The Hill, Infowars and others. Liberal were Huffington Post, MSNBC, Daily KOS, Buzz Feed, Slate, New Republic and others. Some in both categories she labeled nonsense or unfair.

That's the easy answer: Here's a chart.

But then the question gets tricky. Some readers will balk at the idea AP is unbiased — in fact, we've had readers complain about that very thing. Within moments of Otero posting her chart, she likely received all sorts of responses calling her misguided (and those were the nice ones).

Otero has gone on to not only analyze organizations but also individual stories — and sentences within those stories. Otero's work can be found at www.allgeneralizationsarefalse.com, which is an inspired name for a discussion on bias.

Editors have accuracy and fairness at the forefront of their thinking when evaluating the stories they decide to publish or air. They have an uncanny ability to set aside their own thoughts and feelings, and when they can’t, they say so, and someone else shepherds that story.

These are foundational, journalistic standards, standards that weed out partisanship.