In this lesson, we will learn strategies for recognizing bias in the news media.  There are different types of reporting, some, like editorials and opinion pieces, are supposed to give the author’s opinion.  But in most news media the author’s opinion should not be obvious and they should at least appear to be impartial.

Learning Objectives

After completing this module you will be able to recognize bias in the news media and demonstrate knowledge with a minimum quiz score of 70%.  Learners will demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge by participating in the discussion forum.


Detecting bias in the News Media by asking questions

  1.  Look at the source of the information.  Know the political perspective of the story sources.  In order for issues to be portrayed accurately, there must be a broad spectrum of sources.
    • Minorities, women, and public interest groups should be as represented as Corporate and government sources
  2. Is there diversity?  What are the race and gender diversity of the news source?  How many women, minorities, openly gay and lesbian producers, editors, and decision-makers the news source has.
    • The diversity of the public served should be represented by the staff
  3. What point of view is the news reported?  Stories on economics often focus on the impact of the stockholders, rather than workers or consumers.
    • Those that will be affected must have a voice in the coverage
  4. Do they apply the same standards to every group or issue?
    • Come up with a parallel example or citing different stories that were covered differently.
  5. Do stereotypes play a role in the coverage?
    • Point out the misconceptions of stereotypes, and how they unfairly characterize individuals.
  6. What unchallenged assumptions are made?
    • Coverage of rape often centers on the woman’s sexual history as though her credibility is questionable.
  7. Do they use loaded language?
    • The language chosen can give an inaccurate impression of things.
  8. Is there a lack of context?
    • Relevant information is needed to put the story in the proper perspective.
  9. Do the headlines match the stories?
    • Because many just skim the headlines, and not the article, misleading headlines have a huge impact.
  10. Is coverage of important issues featured prominently?
    • Critical stories should not be buried deep inside of the paper.


People can not form an opinion from stories unless they are covered. That’s why alternative sources of news are so important. Using critical thinking a reader can learn to read between the lines of brief and biased accounts. Asking the right questions about what we see and hear is the first step toward making the informed decisions.

Discussion Forum


Hynds, P. (n.d.). News: Balance bias with critical questions. Retrieved April 2, 2021, from http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/news-balance-bias-critical-questions

Woltmann, S. (2020, July 17). Critical thinking and fake news. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://www.skillsyouneed.com/learn/fake-news.html

How to detect bias in news media. (2012, November 19). Retrieved April 6, 2021, from https://fair.org/take-action-now/media-activism-kit/how-to-detect-bias-in-news-media/