Where do you get your news? Are you sure you’re receiving the facts, or are you concerned that there may be a bias at play which colors the coverage and provides at least some degree of commentary along with the objective information conveyed?
What is “news”? It is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a report of recent events.” We have traditionally tended to assume that these reports are unbiased and reliable, but with the proliferation of “alternate facts” and accusations of “fake news” on both sides of the political aisle, we have come to question whether it is even possible to relate a story or a series of events without imposing some viewpoint or agenda.
In an attempt to foster more balanced communication in these polarizing times, AllSides was founded to “change the way we get information so it is easy to sort through the noise and see different perspectives.”
AllSides aggregates media stories from a wide range of outlets so that users can explore issues from a variety of perspectives. On hot button topics, readers will find coverage from the left, the right, and the center, allowing them to see how the subject is viewed through several different lenses. The site does not advocate or adjudicate, but it enables media consumers to transcend their filter bubbles and, at the very least, to be exposed to opinions different from their own.
Additionally, AllSides provides a comprehensive catalog of Media Bias Ratings which categorizes hundreds of popular news outlets as either “Left,” “Lean Left,” “Center,”, “Lean Right,” or “Right.” The ratings are determined through a process that includes blind surveys, third party data, and community feedback. You can check out AllSides Media Bias Ratings here, and you can weigh in on whether you agree with their designations.
In a recent release, AllSides indicated that they perform periodic reviews of their ratings, and that had changed the classification of several popular outlets including New York Times Editorial Board, Vox, Wall Street Journal Opinion, Time Magazine, Washington Examiner, and Associated Press. Check out Allsides’ Updated Media Bias Ratings here.
Whatever one's political persuasion, it is useful to bear in mind that, as AllSides posits, "unbiased news does not exist." While some outlets are clearly driven by an agenda, even those with utmost integrity and caution cannot avoid some degree of disposition in the words they choose or the context they employ. Therefore it is useful to expose oneself to a wide array of outlets and perspectives in order to assure that s/he is able to consider the issues as objectively as possible.
AllSides presents a user-friendly platform to do so, and thereby provides an essential tool for those who desire to transcend our hyper-partisan environment and restore a sense of civility and productivity to our national discourse.