Skip to Main Content

Evaluate Sources

In addition to finding sources, it's crucial we understand how to evaluate those sources. Use ABCD, CRAAP, and SIFT to evaluate different sources like academic journal articles, websites, magazines, and popular news sources.

Media Ownership & Bias

When thinking about different information sources, it is important to consider who owns what media. One facet of this issue is what corporate or private ownership a certain news or media outlet may have.

Studies show that consuming partisan news tends to influence viewers' opinions on different issues, often reinforcing confirmation bias, that is, confirming preconceived opinions on different topics. Partisan news, especially that which is right-leaning, can "polarize consumers in their sociopolitical positions, sharpen political divides, and shape public policy (Earle & Hodson, 2022).

In the past, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations placed limits on the number of broadcast news outlets (TV or radio) a single entity could own. Lobbyist groups backed by corporate media conglomerates have lobbied Congress to support deregulation efforts, leading to significant changes in the media landscape (Telecommunications Act of 1996).

Media Bias Chart

Some organizations, like Ad Fontes Media, use metrics to try to gauge media bias.

Click here to read more about Ad Fontes Media's methods.

Click the Media Bias Chart below to go to the Interactive Media Bias Chart, where you can compare different media sources.

Some researchers have expressed concern regarding the Media Bias Chart, noting a false equivalency between degrees of bias among left and right media, as well as an inaccurate representation of an idealized political "center" and conflating that "center" with news without bias. You can read more about these criticisms here:

Complex or Clickbait? The problematic Media Bias Chart

Local TV News & Corporate Ownership

Ownership of local news affiliates continues to be an important and controversial topic. While most Americans assume that their local news affiliate is reliable, some corporately owned networks require their news teams to air specific segments, feature specific partisan guests, and otherwise toe a party line. See the video above from PBS News Hour to learn more about this issue.