Skip to Main Content

Camden County College Library

Fake News and Media Bias: Media Bias

Media Bias

Apply for or renew your library card

Information about Library Cards

Quick Links

Semester Hours

Monday to Thursday

8:30am - 8:30pm

Friday 8:30am - 4:30 pm
Saturday 10:00am - 4:00pm


For holiday and break hours, click here

What is Media Bias?

Media bias is "a way of reporting on a factual news story that is designed to sway a reader toward a specific conclusion."

"Media bias refers to the media exhibiting an unjustifiable favoritism as they cover the news. When the media transmit biased news reports, those reports present viewers with an inaccurate, unbalanced, and/or unfair view of the world around them."

How to Spot Media Bias

Is the information news, opinion, an advertisement?

Are the sources cited and why should you believe them? Is the source associated with a political party or special interest group?

What’s the evidence and how was it vetted? Is the source a document, a witness, hearsay/speculation?

Is the main point of the piece proven by the evidence or did the sources provided justify the conclusion or main point of the story?

Was there an aspect or point that was not covered or unclear that you are left wondering about?

Examples of Bias

Examples of Headlines and Excerpts for Same Story...See the Bias?

A news story about 501(c)(4) organizations that are no longer required to identify tax donors to the IRS.

  • NRA and some other nonprofits will no longer need to identify their donors to the IRS
  • NAACP, Planned Parenthood and thousands of labor unions not required to disclose donors to tax officials

Hockey game coverage headlines from the two towns of the opposing teams.

  • Injury begins Avs' tumble (The Denver Post)
  • Wings are too much for Avalanche (The Detroit News)

Excerpts of two different accounts of the same hockey game.

  • The Red Wings played the Flyers last night in a hockey game and they won 4-3.
  • The Red Wings executed a decisive win (4-3) over the tempered Flyers, in last night’s heated game of ice hockey.

An article about a judge permitting one additional accuser to testify in the Bill Cosby trial.

  • Judge Allows Testimony of Another Accuser in Cosby Case
  • Bill Cosby Sex Assault Trial: Judge Allows Only 1 Other Accuser to Testify, Not 13

Headline for two articles discussing the topic of Jewish women studying the Talmud.

  • A Revolution in Jewish Learning, with Women Driving Change
  • Jewish Women Defy Rabbis and Start Reading Forbidden Text
Types of Bias

Media Bias

  • Bias by Omission - leaving one side out of a news story, or a series of stories over a period of time
  • Bias by Selection of Sources - including more sources that support one view over another
  • Bias by Story Selection - highlighting news stories that coincide with a specific agenda
  • Bias by Placement - a pattern of placing news stories so as to downplay information supportive of a specific view
  • Bias by Labeling (two types) - tagging a person or group with labels while leaving another group unlabeled or with more mild labels OR describe the person or group with positive labels, such as “an expert” or “independent consumer group”
  • Bias by Spin - the story has only one interpretation of an event or policy, to the exclusion of the other; spin involves tone

Personal Bias

  • Personal Bias - tendency to believe that some people or ideas are better than others resulting in unfair treatment
  • Explicit Bias - positive or negative attitudes or beliefs about a person, group, idea or issue that we deliberately hold and express
  • Implicit Bias - positive or negative attitudes or beliefs about a person or group, idea or issue that occurs unintentionally but affects opinion or behavior
  • Confirmation Bias - subconscious tendency to seek or interpret information in a way that confirms our belief, idea, expectation or hypotheses