Bias - About

BIAS E M I LY N I C K S ADAPTED FROM: JAMES SYRNEK BIAS Each person has their own point-of-view a perspective. Definition: prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. (Oxford Dictionary) A tendency or preference towards a particular perspective, ideology, result,

etc. A strong bias can inhibit our ability to view a situation objectively and with neutrality. Bias is not always on purpose sometimes it just creeps-in. FOX NEWS versus MSNBC KEY IDEAS TO KEEP IN MIND What are some types of bias to be aware of? religious, political, corporate, personal, etc. How can you assess content for bias? How does your personal bias play into any assessment you do?

BIAS Bias manifests most commonly through: Selections and omissions Photos Labels and expressions Manipulation of statistics Source selection Word choice Generalization and oversimplification SELECTION & OMISSION

When information is not reported, or incomplete. This can create a skewed or biased perspective. Within a given account of a situation, some details may be ignored, while other of equal value may be included. Bias through omission can be difficult to detect. It requires research of numerous sources in order to reveal it. PHOTOS Photos can make a subject look attractive,

serious, healthy, etc. Other photos can be very unflattering. Images can influence how we think about a particular subject. LABELS AND EXPRESSIONS Labels and titles are often used to describe people, places, and events. These labels may reveal a bias. For example, a person can be called an "ex-con" or be referred to as someone who "served time

twenty years ago for a minor offense. STATISTICS MANIPULATION OF STATISTICS Statistics can be altered or exaggerated to support a particular position. Example: Polar bear population is decreasing. Versu There ares20 distinct groups of polar bears.

2 groups are decreasing 10 groups are stable 2 groups are increasing 6 groups are unknown CONSIDERING THE SOURCE It is important to consider the source of the

information, and the sources connection to the issue. Remember that not only found in secondary sources, but also in primary sources! People usually express their bias when they put pen to paper. Example: Consider how information may be relayed about the polar bear population, when looking at the source: animal activist, government official, reporter, game hunter, etc. WORD CHOICE & BIAS

Words can give truthful or false information either way it is a product of expression. Bias can occur not only through word choice, but when spoken the tone can make an impact. Strategically changing one word can alter the implied meaning of the whole sentence. WORD CHOICE IN THE NEWS The New York Times 3/11/2003 USA Today

3/11/2003 Iraq forces suspension of U.S. surveillance flights U.N. Withdraws U-2 Planes WASHINGTON (AP)-U.N. arms UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -Iraqi inspectors said Tuesday they had fighter jets threatened two withdrawn two U-2

American U-2 surveillance planes, reconnaissance planes over Iraq forcing them to return to abort for safety reasons after Baghdad their mission and return to base, complained both aircraft were in senior U.S. officials said Tuesday. the air simultaneously. GENERALIZATION AND OVERSIMPLIFICATION Intricate and complex facts sometimes become simplified or generalized into more manageable

bits of information. Identifying simplifications and generalizations can reveal biases. CRITICAL THINKING To detect or be aware of the possible presence of bias, the best tool to use is: CRITICAL THINKING! Keep in mind: Who, what, where, why, when, and how!

Who created it, or paid for it to be created? What was its intended purpose? Where was this created? Who was the target audience? Who or what may have been omitted? How might other people interpret the message?

Who stands to benefit from this message?

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