We frequently expose bias just by showing how two different news organizations cover the same story. What is perhaps even more important, particularly when you consider how it impacts public discourse and how well we are informed before Election Day, is when news is not covered at all or buried.
This week had a great example of that: Al Qaeda Involved in Libya Attack
While major media sources from the right made this a lead story the morning it broke and throughout the day, the main left leaning online media sources we follow did not cover this story at all, buried it, or were very late to cover it.
The story began to be picked up by some left sources that evening though with less prominence, and there was an excellent blog that morning by The Fact Checker at the Washington Post (AllSides Bias Rating: Lean Left) detailing the timeline of administration statements on the Libya attack (though I was a little disappointed that they avoided giving a truth rating). But these pale in comparison to the prominent front page coverage it received in media from the right.
We have of course seen this in the other direction. After a week in which there was front page coverage and debate about possible changes to the student loan program, Fox News (AllSides Bias Rating: Right) ignored the vote in the house in which Republicans blocked that bill while media on the left gave it front page coverage. There was also an example this week of a less prominent story on media bias and inaccuracies on climate change.
For the Libya attack, was this story important to cover? Consider how many Americans know about the attack, and then how many of them know it was a planned, successful attack by the terrorist organization responsible for 9/11. Would this impact peoples votes for the election, especially after the banter and criticisms between the two presidential camps on this attack for the last two weeks?
Once again, AllSides says that if you want to be informed, dont rely on one news source or one point of view. Even the facts of what you know, whether they are about a terrorist attack, student loans or climate change, will be very different.