Do you have an app or extension?
A few partners and friends have created apps using our bias ratings. For a great Chrome extension, try Bias Finder, which uses AllSides bias ratings. If you’re visiting a news site, you can check Bias Finder to see how AllSides has rated it immediately.
A great mobile app (available for both iOs and Android) is Capitol Call. The main reason to download Capitol Call is to have almost direct access to your local representatives as well measures they are voting on. The app also allows you to customize a news feed with some of our rated sources and helps you to make sure you’re maintaining a balanced feed.
We are considering creating our own apps and extensions but until we do, enjoy these. And send us feedback if you have any suggestions or feature requests.
I think AllSides is biased.
Everyone is biased. So we have developed a patented system for identifying bias so that we can transparently reveal and balance bias. Though this is not perfect, it is the best and most transparent system we know. For more on this, read our Editorial Philosophy.
AllSides also has a multi-partisan staff to further ensure a fair balance. Whenever we write a blog or newsletter, we review it as a team, not just for grammar and spelling, but more importantly for bias. We want to make sure we are providing you with a platform to get your balanced news without being influenced by our feelings one way or another. When we review sources, we don’t change the rating just because one of our Editors thinks the source leans a little too much in one direction. We have a systematic way of analyzing them (link to our bias methodology page).
When you see something from us that seems unbalanced or incorrect, please tell us about it. We are always improving our systems.
Why do you only have American news sources?
At this time, AllSides only focuses on American sources, but we would love to eventually expand to include more international ones as well. Our initial bias rating scale is based on American politics and we are a team of (mostly) Americans, without much experience in international politics. We hope to eventually expand our team and knowledge base to be more inclusive of other nations.
At this point in time (February 2018) we have CNN Editorial rated as Left and CNN Web News rated as Center. You can consider that an average of “lean left” if you like, but note this is a rating of the website, not the cable news station. Our latest Editorial Review of CNN took place in December 2017 and came to the previously stated conclusions.
It is important to note that AllSides only rates the bias of websites, not TV, radio or the printed version of newspapers. That goes for CNN as well. Since every hour of televised news is hosted by a different person or panel, it would be very difficult to give the whole channel a cumulative rating. We do however see a split between their straight news and the editorial, which is why we rate them separately. CNN is our most widely criticized and therefore our most deeply researched source. However, at this time, the news itself that is reported on the CNN website maintains a Center rating. This is not set in stone and could change in the future based on the reporting.
There are several ways we go about calculating the AllSides Bias Rating or ABR. We utilize blind bias surveys, editorial reviews, third party research (such as the 2005 UCLA study), our own independent research, and community votes to take into account. (To learn more about our in depth process check out our Media Bias Rating Methods.)
The reason we assign ratings across the bias scale is to not only expose bias but most importantly get people out of their filter bubbles so they can be better informed and truly make decisions for themselves free of manipulation. (See the TED talk by AllSides’ CEO John Gable and Living Room Conversations’ Joan Blades Breaking Through Filter Bubbles with Technology and Civil Discourse for more.)
Finally, read about the importance of a balanced news diet vs “unbiased news”, in John Gable’s blog.
Aren’t you worried that with your ratings being community sourced, that they could be gamed by bots?
Our system is more sophisticated than that. We use the community votes as an “early warning system”. Our ratings don’t change based on community input alone. A member of our team has to physically edit the rating of a source for it to change. If bots flooded a page and overwhelmingly voted to have a Left source be rated as Right, we are merely alerted to the fact that we may need to re-approach our rating for that source.
We also don’t change the rating based on votes alone. Community voting shows us what ratings we should update. It prompts us to use that source in a blind bias quiz, editorial review and/or conduct independent research.
Lastly, please note our ratings are normalized to reflect the entire nation rather than any specific group.
When we get new data or feedback from the community that our media bias rating for a source might be wrong, that tells us to look more closely. We take suggestions from our community in several ways. We get several that are directly emailed to us, we get suggestions on our Facebook and Twitter, and of course we check to see what the community is voting on and if they are differing from our ratings. As a team, we also just keep our eyes out for new sources, missing sources or sources where we see a shift in their bias.
The headline roundups at the top of our home page rotate the order in which we display precisely to avoid that kind of bias. But in some cases, we found it could be confusing to users if we rotate the order. For example, on the home page viewed on a desktop, additional stories in columns at the bottom of the page list Left stories on the left, Center stories in the center and Right stories on the right side of the screen. On mobile, the columns are replaced by buttons arranged on top of one another so Left stories are shown on the top, Center in the middle and Right stories are towards the bottom.
Why is the order of the "headline roundups" at the top of the news page always mixed up?
We rotate the order of the Left, Right and Center stories for our headline roundups to avoid biasing our coverage in favor of the Left which would otherwise always be listed first. Plus, the image we show is from the physically leftmost story, and we don't want to bias that by always showing an image from the article with a Left bias. As we're sure you know since you use AllSides, images can have bias, just like headlines and descriptions. If a journalist wanted to emphasize the negative aspects of a politician, they might choose an image that makes them look bad or angry, which further adds to the bias of an article. By rotating the order of our articles, we also rotate the image we highlight in an effort to mediate bias. No, we don’t think it is center - stop saying that! We went deeper than most do, and split the pure web news (rated center) from the editorial (rated left). (We did the same for Wall Street Journal, Fox News, NPR and others). OK, if you MUST have one rating for CNN, our average rating is lean left but that is for the website, not the TV channel which we don’t rate! Remember that our media bias ratings are living, not static or set it stone. So help us keep an eye on CNN’s bias and any other source that you question and send us articles you think might skew the rating, vote on the site and keep in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook.
No, we don’t think it is center - stop saying that! We went deeper than most do, and split the pure web news (rated center) from the editorial (rated left). (We did the same for Wall Street Journal, Fox News, NPR and others).
OK, if you MUST have one rating for CNN, our average rating is lean left but that is for the website, not the TV channel which we don’t rate!
Remember that our media bias ratings are living, not static or set it stone. So help us keep an eye on CNN’s bias and any other source that you question and send us articles you think might skew the rating, vote on the site and keep in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook.