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Avoiding the Trap of Bias: How to find reliable news sources in a whirlwind news cycle.

In this current day and age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a news source that does not hold some type of bias. Most of the time it is based on a political bias, but other times it can be based on a personal bias, and articles are written to sway a reader for or against a person or organization.

Trying to find a non-biased news source can feel virtually impossible, and it kind of is. We’ve all been in the situation where we have needed to do research for a project or have been writing an article where it is required that we find an unbiased source.

I will admit, there have been many times where I have needed to use an unbiased source, and eventually just gave up and used a source that I knew had partial bias.

There are many ways to avoid bias in the media, and it is not always an easy task. One rule I always make myself follow is to always use more than one source. If I know one source is more biased on one side, I try to either find a second source that is more neutral, or one that leans more towards the other side, or oftentimes both.

Another option is to use the Warner Library resources; the school pays for many unbiased subscriptions for us to use in research papers and essays.

So why is it important to use unbiased sources? Bias in the media is used to influence the opinion of the reader. Even the most highly regarded news sources are guilty of trying to sway a reader one way or another. The news source’s job is not to influence your opinions, but to report the news as factual, the good and the bad, and allow the reader to form their own opinions.

That being said, almost all major news sources hold some form of bias, and it is important to know that going on. If you are reading an article that was written in the news section that indicates the source’s bias, it may not be the best source to use.

Sometimes bias is encouraged in the media. Pundits and opinions sections are made to include the bias of the writer, but these are never sources that you should be using as factual.

There are many signs that a news source is showing bias, and there are many ways to avoid falling into their bias. The first sign is the most obvious, but showing clear bias, good or bad towards a specific politician or political party is one of the common indicators of bias. While outright bias seems to be happening more and more, especially surrounding the recent presidential election, there are still many other things to look out for when looking to avoid bias.

If a source has too many ads, it may be an indicator that the source is not the most reliable. This is also highly dependent on the type of ad displayed on a website. If the ads seem to be a form of click bait or inappropriate in any way, that website may not be the right one to use for all of your information. It is no secret that most news sources need to use ads in order to make any sort of profit and pay their writers, but most reliable sources
bypass the need by offering a subscription service and properly evaluating the ads they show.

Using multiple sources can help you find out if a source is showing bias. If the source you are using is omitting information that you find in another source, or contradicting the information of said secondary source, it may be indicative that either one or both sources may contain bias, and it may be necessary to look at a third source to compare and uncover potential bias.

If nothing else, please be careful in what sources you use, and try not to believe everything you find online without fact-checking the information you are receiving.

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