Lesson Plan

How to Spot Media Bias



This lesson is aimed at improving news literacy skills through the identification of media bias in context. In this lesson, students will learn about 16 common types of media bias with examples of news articles from across the political spectrum. At the end of the lesson(s), students will understand what media bias is, how it affects our society, and how to spot common types of bias in context.


  • Define and describe common types of media bias
  • Analyze media bias in context 


  • What is media bias?

  • Is all media bias bad?

  • How and why do journalists write with bias?

Step-by-Step Guide


Everyone is biased — and that's okay. There's no such thing as unbiased news. Hidden media bias misleads, manipulates and divides us, so everyone should learn how to spot media bias.

Key Terms

  • bias
  • polarization
  • balance


  • As a class, review 3-4 types of bias of your choosing on the AllSides Guide to Types of Media Bias.  The most common types of bias are:
    • Spin
    • Opinion Statements Presented as Fact
    • Sensationalism
    • Slant
    • Bias by Omission
    • Bias by Placement 
    • Story Choice
    • Subjective Qualifying Adjectives
    • Word Choice
  • Break students into small groups to research articles using the AllSides Topics & Issues resource or the AllSides Balanced Newsfeed. Students should spend 15 minutes doing a close reading of an article, looking for instances of bias. 
  • At the end of the close readings, students can share their findings with the class. 

Homework/Formative Assessment

  • Have students choose a news story of interest using the AllSides Topics & Issues resource or the AllSides Balanced Newsfeed.
  • Have each student analyze the political biases displayed in their chosen news story using the literacy skills they developed in class and write a 300-word reflection after the media bias class discussion. 
    • What is the title of your article and what news outlet published it?
    • Why did you choose to read this article?
    • What type(s) of media bias are present in this article?
    • Would you rate this article as very biased, somewhat biased, or mostly unbiased? Why?

Summative Assessment

Summative Assessment Recommendations

  • Have students match types of bias to their definition

  • Provide students with an article that displays bias. Have students annotate the article for types of bias. The assessment can include a “types of bias” word bank for younger learners.

Alternative Assessment

This alternative assessment is designed for AP Lang students and has the students apply the same skills that they will use on the rhetorical analysis essay.

Individual students select a topic from the AllSides Balanced Newsfeed to analyze and demonstrate their analysis in a presentation and discussion. 

Background information



  • Claim – Include the rhetorical choice/type of media bias.
  • Evidence – Summarize, paraphrase, or quote; be specific.
  • Commentary – Explain how the evidence demonstrates media bias and the overall effect it has on the article.