AllSides is excited to introduce the AllSides Media Bias Meter™!
In addition to our Left, Lean Left, Center, Lean Right, and Right media bias ratings, outlets are now assigned a number on a scale from left to right.
Media outlets are rated on a scale of -6 to +6, with 0.0 representing exact Center, and -6 representing farthest Left, and +6 representing farthest right.
Why a scale? It allows us to convey nuance. Some media outlets are on or close to the borderline of two bias ratings. For example, Reuters is Center, but pretty close to Lean Left. Its bias meter rating is -0.8.
Our new bias meter helps us to convey nuance and give you more trustworthy ratings. You can see the bias meter in action on any AllSides source page: search for any media outlet here.
The bias meter categories are:
The AllSides Media Bias Meter™ strengthens and improves our ratings. We believe this is an important step toward empowering news readers and creating a more transparent media landscape.
How Are Bias Meter Ratings Calculated?
The numerical rating shown in the AllSides Media Bias Meter™ is determined through a combination of methods.
During an AllSides Editorial Review, panelists on the left, center, and right review news reports and hear from other panelists on an outlet’s bias. Taking into account all perspectives, panelists individually assign a number, between -6.0 and +6.0, that they believe best represents the bias of the media outlet. The number 0 represents the exact Center, -6.0 represents bias farthest to the left, and +6.0 represents bias farthest to the right.
These numerical ratings are then transcribed into a weighted average. The weighted average is determined by taking the individual ratings by reviewers, grouping them into three bias categories (Lean Left and Left, Center, Lean Right and Right), averaging results by bias, and then taking the average of the three bias groups.
Meanwhile, during a Blind Bias Survey, which is another AllSides media bias rating method, bias meter ratings are arrived at somewhat differently. Respondents across the political spectrum are instructed to read headlines and news reports from a media outlet, and then provide a rating for the outlet on an 11-point Likert scale.
AllSides independently analyzes the responses from each bias group, then calculates an average using an 11-point numeric scale for each bias category. We then calculate an overall arithmetic average, taking an average of responses from all bias groups together, to create an overall weighted average number. This number represents the Blind Bias Survey result.
For data presentation, a box plot is created to represent the interquartile range, or the middle 50% of responses. The larger the interquartile range, the more spread out the responses were, on average.
The weighted average is converted from an 11-point numeric scale to a 19-point numeric scale. The 19-point numeric scale for reporting ranges is from -9 to +9, with 0 in the middle. The purpose of using both positive and negative integers is to allow readers to clearly identify which outlet’s rating came out as left of center (denoted as a negative number) and right of center (denoted as a positive number).
You’ll notice that for Blind Bias Surveys, AllSides’ numeric scale runs from -9 to +9, which is different from the AllSides Media Bias Meter™ scale of -6 to +6. This is due to the nature of the Blind Bias Survey methodology, in which an outlet could hypothetically (but rarely) land further left than -6 or further right than +6. However, in calculating the overall AllSides Media Bias Rating™ for an outlet, the bias meter rating is capped at -6 and +6 because of the methodology used in other analyses, such as Editorial Reviews.
The Final Determination, or final bias meter rating, depends on how many review methods have been applied to the source and when.
- If AllSides has conducted multiple reviews, AllSides will look at the data from all reviews and assign an overall numerical value. We will generally take an average of the Editorial Review and Blind Bias Survey results to assign a rating, but on occasion, we will make adjustments to appropriately weigh different factors, such as consistency and recency of data. Any adjustments will be thoroughly documented.
- If we have only applied an Editorial Review to the outlet, the bias meter rating will reflect that result. If we have only applied a Blind Bias Survey, the bias meter rating will reflect that result.
- If AllSides has conducted Editorial Reviews, Small Group Editorial Reviews, and/or Blind Bias Surveys on the outlet over many years, and the methods were applied spread out in time, AllSides will look at the data from all reviews and assign or calculate a numerical value. The more recent reviews will hold more weight.
- Recently conducted Small Group Editorial Reviews are weighted 62.5% toward a final bias rating.
- Editorial Reviews and Blind Bias Surveys conducted within the last 7 months hold 100% weight.
- Bias reviews conducted 7 months or longer in the past hold less and less weight the older they are. For example, bias reviews conducted 15 months ago hold 55% weight, and bias reviews that are 24 months old hold only 10% weight. (Contact AllSides for a full breakdown of how we weigh past bias reviews.)
We want to hear from you. If you have any feedback about our bias meter, you can email us here.
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