News Literacy



Understanding bias is an important part of news literacy.  The following is an overview of the most popular news sources by Mr. Leif:

 



Magazines and Newspapers


The Christian Science Monitor

Center-leaning (and if you disagree with this assessment, let me know). Don’t let the “Christian Science” part of the name fool you into thinking that this is a religious newspaper. The Monitor is one of the most respected daily newspapers in the United States.

 

The Economist

The best description for the politics of this magazine is “economically conservative (though the magazine takes a conservative viewpoint on issues of finance, the magazine is an admirably objective, balanced publication).” This is one of the most highly respected British news analysis magazines.


The Financial Times

Another British publication, this is considered one of the most important business newspapers and can be technical, almost too techinical for clear bias.


The Nation

Left-leaning news. The granddaddy of liberal news magazines.

 

The National Review

Right-leaning news. The granddaddy of conservative news magazines.

 

Newsday

Center-leaning news (and if you disagree with this, let me know). Long Island’s newspaper. People disagree over where this paper stands politically.

 

Newsweek

People disagree over where this magazine stands politically. Once again, liberals tend to criticize it for being too conservative, and conservatives tend to criticize it for being too liberal. And once again, the best way to figure out where this magazine stands is to check it out for yourself.

 

The New Republic

Here’s another magazine where people on the left and right will disagree about its politics. People on the right will say it’s a liberal, left-leaning publication, while those on the left will say it’s a far more moderate publication (in fact, one of its former editors, Andrew Sullivan, is primarily conservative in his opinions, although the politics of Andrew Sullivan are yet another thing that people on the left and right disagree on).



The New York Daily News

Generally Right-Leaning. One of the four major New York newspapers (the other three are The Post, The Times, and The Wall Street Journal).

 

 

The New York Post

Right-Leaning. One of four major New York Newspapers (the other three are The Daily News, The Post, and The Wall Street Journal). The owner of this paper, Rupert Murdoch, runs Newscorp, one of the largest media outlets in the world (in other words, he’s definitely a guy you should know about). Murdoch also owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal).

 

The New York Times

Left-Leaning. One of four major New York Newspapers (the other three are The Daily News, The Post, and The Wall Street Journal). Conservatives will argue that this paper is the most liberal newspaper on the planet. Liberals argue that it’s a respected newspaper that does an excellent job of recording the news. Among the featured columnists are Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, and Frank Rich.

 

The Progressive

Left-leaning news. Classic publication with staunchly liberal views.

 

Rolling Stone

Left-leaning news, but better-known for entertainment reporting. Known mostly for its in depth stories on entertainment personalities (mostly in music), this magazine also has strongly liberal political articles.

 

Time

This is one of the oldest, best-known news magazines in the country. What makes it so useful is that you can search for full-text articles from EVERY magazine ever published. This can be a lot of help for your school work.

 

Spin Magazine

Left-leaning news, but better-known for entertainment reporting. Just like Rolling Stone, this magazine is known mostly for its in-depth stories on entertainment personalities (mostly in music), this magazine also has strongly liberal political articles. 

 

USA Today

Center-leaning news (and if you disagree with this assessment, let me know). This newspaper is best-known for having some of the shortest and most concise stories of any newspaper. Some say the stories are too short, and that they don’t provide the depth that news stories need. At the same time, this is one of the best websites to get a quick idea of what’s going on in the world. Also, their sports section is fantastic.

 

The Wall Street Journal

Right-leaning news. Better known for its financial coverage, the Journal is also a respected newspaper for hard news. The paper’s editorial page--which was always conservative--has become more so since Rupert Murdoch bought the paper recently. To find out more about Rupert Murdoch--he’s an important news figure--read the annotation for the “Fox News” link below.

 

The Washington Post

Center leaning news (and if you disagree with this assessment, let me know). One of the major newspapers in the country, especially because it comes out of the nation’s capital. The paper features a large editorial section, in which you can read opinions from all sides of the political spectrum. This, by the way, is another one of those news outlets in which liberals and conservatives differ as to the paper’s politics: liberals say its middle of the road, while conservatives say it has a liberal bias.

 

The Week

Center-leaning (and if you disagree with this assessment, let me know). This is great magazine. Each week, it provides a summary of every major news story, with summaries of reactions on both the liberal and conservative sides of the aisle. The great thing about the online site is that it provides links to every editorial that it mentions in one of these news summaries.

 

The Weekly Standard

Right-leaning. Popular magazine of conservative opinion.

 

Websites


Breitbart.Com

Right-leaning news. This is, right now, one of the most talked-about news sites on the web. The creator of this site, Andrew Breitbart, has become the darling of the conservative movement, but liberals question his reporting ethics, accusing him of running stories with little confirmation.

Also, his sites have featured selectively edited videos of speeches and interviews that can give a very different impression than the full video. Nonetheless, there’s no question that his work has had an impact, and conservatives argue that his stories are true, and that Breitbart is just running stories that liberal media outlets won’t touch.

If you want to read more about Breitbart--whatever your opinion of him, he’s an interesting guy--there’s a great profile of him in Wired magazine that you can read here. Also, there is a detailed profile of Breitbart at the Slate.com website that you can read here.

 

The Drudge Report

Generally Right-leaning. This was one of the first websites to have breaking online stories, meaning that the site’s creator, Matt Drudge, often beat out mainstream media outlets in reporting stories. He is not without his detractors, though. Drudge will often run stories with far less confirmation than other media outlets. At the same time, he has often led the way with stories that have become national news.

 

Factcheck.org

Centrist news (and if you disagree with this assessment, let me know). This website goes through political speeches and news stories and evaluates them for accuracy.

 

Huffington Post

Left-leaning news. One of the most-read online liberal media outlets. Interestingly enough, one of the co-founders of this site is Andrew Breitbart, who went out on his own to found the conservative news website Breitbart.com.

 

Media Matters for America

Left-leaning news. This is a website that analyzes various news stories (almost all of them conservatives) and points out alleged inconsistencies and falsehoods. Conservatives say that these pieces of analysis are themselves riddled with inconsistencies and falsehoods. Again, this is a website in which you need to go to it, read the pieces carefully, and decide for yourself.

The person behind Media Matters for America is George Soros, a multi-billionaire who conservatives accuse of being the man behind a vast underground network of liberal media outlets (such as Media Matters) and political organizations (such as Moveon.Org). In many ways, Soros is the left-leaning counterpart to Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corporation media sources (such as Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York post) are right-leaning in their politics.

 

Politico

Centrist news (and if you disagree with this assessment, let me know). Popular news analysis website.

 

Politifact

Centrist news (and if you disagree with this assessment, let me know). Pulitzer Prize winning site that investigates the truthfulness of news stories and public figures. Best known for the “Truth-O-Meter,” a section of the site that rates the honesty of specific quotes by notable people from all sides of the political spectrum.

 

Salon

Generally left-leaning news. One of the first online news magazines (along with Slate), this publication also prints many cultural stories as well.

 

Slate

Generally left-leaning news. One of the first online news magazines (along with Salon), this publication also prints many cultural stories as well.

 

Sourcewatch

The organization that operates this site is The Center for Media and Democracy, calls itself a non-partisan organization, but conservatives disagree sharply over this. In fact, the conservative Capital Research Center, which rates organizations on an 8-point scale (8 is as right-leaning as you can get, while 1 is as left-leaning as you can get) gave The Center for Media and Democracy a rating of 2, which puts them in the far left spectrum of politics.

 

TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design)

This is an amazing site. It’s a huge collection of talks from the annual TED conference, which collects some of the most interesting names in science, technology, entertainment, and just about everything else. One rule of the conference is that each speaker only has 18 minutes for their talk. If you go to this site and click on some of the most popular talks, chances are that they’ll amaze and inspire you.

 

Television


CNN

Left-leaning or Right-Leaning news, depending on where you stand politically. Liberals say this network is conservative. Conservatives say it’s liberal. You decide.

 

Fox News

Right-leaning news. The crown jewel of conservative media outlets, and the most popular cable news network. Some of the most popular names in the conservative movement--Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and many others--either have a show on this network or appear as commentators. The owner of this station, Rupert Murdoch, runs Newscorp, one of the largest media outlets in the world (in other words, he’s a guy you should know about). Murdoch also owns The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. You can read a biography of Murdoch here.

Rolling Stone--a staunch liberal publication--recently published a highly critical article of Fox News (and Fox News chairman Roger Ailes) that you can read by clicking here. The Daily Caller--a news site run by conservative columnist Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel (former advisor to Dick Cheney, who was vice-president under the George W. Bush administration)--ran a rebuttal to the Rolling Stone article, which you can read by clicking here.

Fox News’s reporting tactics have come under fire in The United Kingdom due to a scandal in which it was revealed that Fox reporters had hacked into the private cell phones of numerous people, including crime victims. Rolling Stone ran an article discussing whether or not this is occurring in The United States, and you can read it here.

 

MSNBC

Left-leaning news. Many say that this network has become the liberal answer to the right-leaning Fox News. Among the better-known commentators at this station are Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz.

 

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

Left-leaning news, plus many other programs. People get into the same arguments over public television that they get into over National Public Radio. Once again, conservatives accuse their news of being ultra-liberal, which liberals contend that the news coverage is reasonable and balanced. Just like National Public Radio, if ever there was a news outlet in which you need to check it out and decide for yourself, it’s this one.

PBS has a number of television programs that you can watch online. They are too numerous to list here, but you can visit their website.