The Cambridge Dictionary defines bias as “the action of supporting or opposing a particular person or thing in an unfair way, because of allowing personal opinions to influence your judgment.” Most messages are at least partially biased, and it’s important that our students can identify this bias in order to determine if the content can still be trusted. Consider using the acronym BIAS to guide your students through this evaluation.
- B—Balance: Are differing perspectives represented fairly and equitably? Does the placement or timing of a message indicate bias?
- I—Intent: What is the author’s purpose: to inform, to persuade, and/or to entertain? Is there extreme language? Are there loaded words? Is there mudslinging?
- A—Accuracy: Do they specify sources or use “general attributions”? Are facts or opinions used for evidence? Are the “facts” true?
- S—Slant: Is this the whole story, or does it lean more heavily toward one perspective? Do the visuals match the facts?
- Evaluate sources when researching.
- Evaluate current events for evidence of bias.
- Identify bias in a news story.
- Compare bias in news stories from two sources.
- Identify bias in debate responses.
- Identify bias in our own words.