The Search for Unbiased News

By: Natalie Eaton

Nowadays, it is extremely difficult to find reliable information in this time and age of technology. With so many social media platforms, websites, and information being interpreted differently, it is a constant battle finding out the truth while remaining unbiased as possible. 

Here at Jenks, so many students are active on social media, and some repost and share posts from sites they enjoy for others to see. While it is great that students are in action looking at the news on socials, it is interesting to see if they know how biased or untruthful some of the things they look at really are. 

The Trojan Torch did a poll on our Instagram to see how some students at Jenks get their sources. A great number of students replied with very similar answers including CNN, New York Times, Fox News, Buzzfeed, Washington Post, USA Today, and VOX, which they follow on Instagram. An Instagram account mentioned in the poll was called “soyouwannatalkabout,” which talks about issues through slideshows. Some replied by saying they rely on their parents for news, or solely use Twitter. 

Most of the news outlets and websites said in the poll tend to lean right and left. For example, major news outlets like MSNBC tend to lean left, while Fox News leans more conservative. Now, it is important to find out what outlets are in the middle. 

The chart below is a good example of how major media outlets lean currently. This is a great place to start and look if you are researching or trying to remain unbiased as possible. 

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(Find the chart here)

One student at Jenks, Shelby Kihega (11), shared to the Torch some news she follows and watches. (CNN, TMZ, NBC, ABC, CBS, Washington Monthly, and The Week.) After looking at the interactive media bias chart above, Kihega described the findings as an “eye-opener.”

“I was actually really surprised at the info I gained from this website,” exclaimes Kihega.  It comes to show that not every trusted outlet can be resourceful and it gave me a new perspective on what and what not to trust!”

When asked about how surprised she was on where some of the news outlets were ranked, Kihega remembered back to middle school and how she never really thought about what she was watching.

“I was a little surprised with where CNN was because we watched CNN on the news during my 7th-grade history class,” says Kihega. “TMZ, I’ve already come to realize that some of the stuff they post never really has any details as to where they get their information, and often times, comes out to be biased info that they found from a rumor.” 

After viewing the chart, Kihega believes that “big outlets that have big audiences need to better prepare themselves when they have new data.” 

Another student at Jenks, Raymond Jiang (10,) shares to the Torch that he sticks to the not-so -mainstream media, like Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. Jiang prefers VOX but also wants to try to get news from both political agendas. 

“If I ever get an opinion from one side of the spectrum, like CNN for example, I always get an opinion on the other end of the spectrum like The Daily Wire,” says Jiang. “I also follow some outspoken government officials such as Andrew Yang, AOC, and Ilhan Omar, but I always balance it out with other government officials like Chris Christie and Rand Paul.” 

Jiang also follows a politics news company called Politico and uses other accounts like PragerU to help balance both spectrums to get the real facts. 

After looking at the interactive media bias chart, Jiang was surprised at where one news source was ranked. 

“I was pretty surprised at The Wall Street Journal being slightly skewed right,” exclaimed Jiang. I thought if anything it would be slightly skewed left, but whatever.”

Keeping an open mind, looking out for misinformation, and branching out to other spectrums, are all great ways to look for unbiased news. But, there is a way you can fact check an article or website by yourself!

So, how do you find out if your website/source is reliable? It may seem impossible, but it is not! Run your website through, “The CRAAP Test.” This strange word is an acronym used to evaluate sources. The letters stand for (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.)

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When you have an article you want to check, write down the acronym and start going through each letter. Ask yourself, “is the article recent,?” or “who is the author,” and more. For more information on how to do the test, check out this website!

The internet and social media are very toxic and untruthful at times, so when you are doing research or working on a project, hopefully, you keep in mind where your source is from. 

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