Something That Can Be Done About Media Bias
1 Jul 2024

Media bias is an established fact (by now, if you don’t agree, you need to catch up, sorry). People watch, read and surf the news that agree with their views, by an large… but with the proliferation of sources and opinions, it can sometimes be difficult to know which bias you are busy ingesting at any given site, page, channel or station. There are plenty of theories explaining how journalism first declined, and was then replaced by propaganda arms for various interests – but that mainstream and alternative media is polarised is beyond question.

The traditional way to handle this bias is to simply shrug and say: “Sure, my source is a little bit biased (not like those other folks, but a little, yes) – but they are still trustworthy overall.” The problem with this approach is that is perpetuates the bad behaviour of the media outlets and also lulls the consumer into a false sense of moral and intellectual security.

It is more evident than ever that, left or right, the news can’t be trusted. I recently saw the impact on the left when it turns out that months of placating coverage was exposed for the gaslighting it is during the presidential debate. The last time I saw a chasm that big open underneath the ‘respectable left off center’ media was when Rittenhouse not only didn’t get punished, but didn’t get convicted. Anyone following the actual trial could not have been surprised at how that case wrapped up. But those listening to the talking heads of their side found themselves completely shocked and surprised. Rather than blame the villains feeding them their opinions, they turned their ire on the judicial system, or even America itself.

The right is not immune from all this, either. There are more than enough examples to offer a complete indictment of conservative media as well. For example, while cancel culture and free speech is the right’s darling issues du jour, someone forgot to tell the Dixie Chicks when they dared to say something against George W Bush. And the way the pundits talk – one would swear the right was always live and let live, each to his own libertarians when it came to things like… say… basic legal equality for gays. The reality was that they behaved more like the Taliban, in their politics, social discourse and news coverage.

Times have changed.

What hasn’t is that the media still determines the Overton window. Race as a topic was declining for decades until it spiked like a viral infection. Big data shows how crimes committed across racial lines – one way – receive a lot more coverage than the other way. Not a bit more, mind you – the disparity is so obvious it is clear that the players behind it are dishonest – at best. I’ll leave it to you to guess which is which. Like amazon owned IMDB’s praise reviews of their own movies, the whole bias not only stinks to high heaven, but is actually dangerous.

What can a sane person, left or right (believe it or not, both exist) do?

Enter Ground News. In essence, Ground News is the simplest thing in the world – a news aggregator. What makes it interesting is that it displays bias. Take any story and you can see who covers it and how. Do more right-wing, left-wing or centrist sources cover it? It’s not as simple as merely matching stories with traditional outlets knows for their bias (on the extremes, say, The Guardian and MSNBC versus, for example Breitbart and the Daily Sun) – but how exactly each story is being spun.

It is fascinating to see which stories don’t exist at all on one of the political wings, and how few stories gain equal coverage. The outliers are as educational as the trends.

Ground News is one of the early public pushbacks against the fake-interpretations of real stories shoved down their throats by partisan hacks – an actual and practical tool to monitor and control the bias in the news you consume. I expect there to be more solutions of this kind forthcoming as people desperately yearn to claw back some semblance of authenticity from their media that has – universally – let them down.

It has a free and a paid tier, and you can select the region of your choice, but all stories are available whatever you choose.

Folks can find the app or site >>HERE<<.