The independent news collective is teaching a new generation of journalists and citizens to spot the stories in plain sight.
Following the data<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTgxNTcwMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTQ2OTMzOX0.eH3ohur8vdt_Y1j77p4x3cjxy8rMTPbHSYb9QaIjGnc/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C6%2C0%2C254&height=700" id="fb90b" width="1245" height="700" data-rm-shortcode-id="563f9b3b5043a606b6a8c46c7fc20883" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Dutch Safety Board Chairman Tjibbe Joustra speaks in front of the MH17 wreckage to present its final report into the attack.
Balancing clarity and caution<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="003a7d0b1b60879df578fa12764355ef"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/U1QJtDCCMLA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>While today Bellingcat employs a small team of journalists and editors, it still relies on volunteers and citizen journalists willing to dedicate the time and effort to scrape the internet for leads.</p><p>This, Toler told us in our interview, is an advantage to Bellingcat's investigative methods. While traditional news outlets contend with shrinking budgets, less personnel, and more information to wrangle than ever, they simply lack the resources necessary to explore the deluge of data we call the internet. Conversely, Bellingcat can overcome these barriers by tapping into a pre-existing group of enthusiasts who thrive on a sense of devotion, interest, and personal satisfaction. And the more people who team up to solve a problem, the lighter the work becomes.</p><p>But there are challenges. "It's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have a clear gap in information. It's just not feasible for large outlets to cover this stuff to the degree it should be. But also, the people who do have time and do it, there's not as much responsibility on them, and who knows what they could do that causes harm," Toler said.</p><p>Consider the open-sourced nature of the evidence. Bellingcat's show-your-work approach is necessary for clarity and transparency, but it also creates a set of instructions for those looking to duplicate the formula. While Bellingcat maintains the guidelines of a traditional newsroom, others may not and bad actors could locate information Bellingcat deemed sensitive enough to redact and use it to harm others by, say, doxing.</p><p>"There's really no good solution because you can't control what the mob does. If someone is angry, they can dig into this stuff because it is open source, and if you give the transparency of how you got your stuff, then you can't avoid the fact that it can then be reproduced and found," Toler said.</p><p>Because of this, Bellingcat hopes to serve as a type of intermediary. Like a traditional newsroom, it vets its sources, sets up fail-safes to catch misinformation, and writes its reports to protect bystanders and prevent libel. It hopes these practices will serve as an example for citizen journalists to emulate. On the obverse, it aims to show established news outlets the power and reach of open-sourced investigative techniques and these online communities.</p>
Recently, Bellingcat has worked to investigate the Jan.6 Capitol Riots.
Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images<p>Looking to the larger media landscape, Bellingcat doesn't see itself in competition with traditional news media. It views its position as one of cooperation. The foundation has worked with several news partners to investigate stories and promote its work, such as sharing <a href="https://www.bellingcat.com/news/americas/2021/02/24/woman-accused-of-stealing-nancy-pelosis-laptop-appears-in-video-making-nazi-salute/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the findings of its Riley June Williams investigation</a> with <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/extremists-made-little-secret-ambitions-occupy-capital-weeks-attack-n1253499" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">NBC</a>.</p><p>It also offers <a href="https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/events/2020/04/03/bellingcat-now-offering-online-investigation-training-workshops/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">training workshops</a> to teach open-source investigation. These are not only attended by journalists wishing to hone their skills but professionals like lawyers and finance managers looking to add these techniques to their trades. Because the foundation sees its methods as an extension of investigative journalism, not a replacement for it, it isn't looking to corner a market. Rather, it aims to evolve a profession to meet the challenges of its new 21<sup>st</sup>-century environment. </p><p>As Toler told us: "Journalism doesn't work one way or the other. It should be both. Do some open-source sleuthing to compliment and boost your on-the-ground reporting.</p><p>"Our gospel of open source, we're trying to spread that as much as we can. We want to make this a very mainstream part of traditional news. If we're made obsolete, that's a good thing because we'd like for more traditional news outlets to be doing digital investigation and verification work."</p>
The platform experiments with letting users decide what content needs flagging.
- Birdwatch is a new effort by Twitter to crowdsource content moderation.
- Still in testing, volunteers can comment on tweets they find problematic.
- Reactions to the new experiment are predictably colorful and bird-brained.
Test flight<p><span></span>For now, Birdwatch is being tested from <a href="https://twitter.com/i/birdwatch" target="_blank">its own site</a> — it's not something Twitter users can currently see unless they volunteer to contribute to it. When someone signs up to test Birdwatch, a new option appears among the actions available for responding to a tweet on Twitter proper. Eventually, if it works out, Birdwatch labels and comments would appear publicly affixed to tweets.</p><p>Here's how Birdwatch works once you sign up:</p><ol><li>When you click on the three-dot menu to the right of a questionable tweet, a new option appears at the bottom of the actions presented: "Contribute to Birdwatch."</li><li>If you choose this option, you're brought to a list of reasons you might have for feeling the tweet should be tagged as iffy — you check the box that reflects your opinion.</li><li>Next, you tell Twitter the damage the tweet could potentially cause if it's left unflagged.</li><li>You're asked for a comment about your objection to the tweet.</li><li>Finally, you're asked to assess the current Birdwatch consensus regarding the tweet.</li></ol><p>Twitter intends to develop an algorithmic approach to collating Birdwatch responses, and is also planning review sessions with subject-matter experts, since, as one Twitter user <a href="https://twitter.com/MaceMoneta/status/1353769684718522368" target="_blank">posted</a>, "The plural of anecdote is not fact."</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">🐦 Today we’re introducing <a href="https://twitter.com/birdwatch?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Birdwatch</a>, a community-driven approach to addressing misleading information. And we want your help. (1/3) <a href="https://t.co/aYJILZ7iKB">pic.twitter.com/aYJILZ7iKB</a></p>— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) <a href="https://twitter.com/TwitterSupport/status/1353766523664531459?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 25, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Birdwatch reactions<p>So far, the Twitter community's response to Birdwatch covers the whole spectrum, with some people hopeful and many more, this being the internet, skeptical. (We'll talk about politicians' response to Birdwatch below.)</p><img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTU0MjU5My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1Njc1NDM1MX0.kOou0PkKLJSpS8-OEq8Y_y9NkQbrnj0ANoCePDpyTZ0/img.jpg?width=980" id="801d7" width="1193" height="1343" data-rm-shortcode-id="054ca23de1700536122db3f4507b76d5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
How Donald Trump gave Twitter its wings<p>Birdwatch, um, flies in the face of what has made Twitter so central to the U.S. politics since around 2015. Prior to the entry of Donald Trump into the 2016 presidential race, Twitter seemed to many to be on its way out, yet another discarded novelty of the internet age.</p><p>Candidate Trump changed all that and continued to use his Twitter account as his primary platform throughout his presidency. In terms of the day-to-day drama that accompanied his time in office, the president's expulsion from Twitter felt more like the end of his term than did the official transfer of power on January 20.</p><p>That expulsion itself was apparently the end result of <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/16/how-twitter-banned-trump/" target="_blank">considerable turmoil and discord</a> internally within Twitter. That's because Donald Trump's artful deployment of Twitter has been the primary driver behind its resurgence and the reason it continues to play a significant role in U.S. politics.</p><p>What @realDonaldTrump understood was that a deliberately outrageous tweet is an easy way to immediately grab the public's attention, either for sheer publicity value or as a means of distraction. Truth and accuracy matter far less than what social media calls "<a href="https://www.bigcommerce.com/ecommerce-answers/what-is-social-media-engagement/" target="_blank">engagement</a>." Post-Trump, other publicity-hungry politicians continue to follow the ex-president's playbook. Some of them are even doing so as they attack Birdwatch.</p><p>And herein lies Twitter's dilemma. When provocative content draws attention to a tweet poster, it also draws attention to Twitter, and that benefits the platform by increasing the size of the audience it can sell to advertisers. At the same time, there's growing political pressure on the company to control the dissemination of content that's harmful to the public and American political process.</p><p>Birdwatch may let Twitter off the hook: Truth would be crowdsourced and enforced without Twitter, or its advertisers, having to get its hands dirty with endless controversies.</p><img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTU0MjYxNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0ODQwMDEyMX0.x77ubxMRqLiHDKj3DAG74-21GrLCR9Ghf5UQMmcsRto/img.jpg?width=980" id="c8651" width="660" height="367" data-rm-shortcode-id="832bb8f6e3086340e9a5cf6d4209037b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The tweet that probably did it.
Politics and politicians<p>The pressure to do better largely comes in the form of threats to repeal <a href="https://observer.com/2020/10/tech-ceo-testify-senate-social-media-content-moderation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Section 230</a> of the Communications Decency Act. This is the regulation that absolves a social media platform from legal liability for content its users post. Though the rule's purpose is to promote the use of unfettered expression on social media, there's an inherent problem — this kind of content tends to go viral and that increases audience size, which increases a platform's advertising sales and that means more profit.</p><p>Some of the loudest voices, ironically, are politicians who themselves use Twitter for spreading this very type of content. The former president, in fact, vetoed a defense bill because it didn't contain a repeal of Section 230 — it doesn't seem to have occurred to him that his own inflammatory tweets and posts wouldn't be published if platforms were concerned about being held responsible.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Note: If you're outraged at some politician's disingenuous behavior and tweet or retweet about their hypocrisy, that's perfectly fine with them since you'd only be helping them get more attention.</p><p>It may not surprise you that some politicians who want social media to step up are up in arms over Birdwatch, accusing Silicon Valley of making a power grab that will place Truth under their control and of violating their own First Amendment right to free speech. This last charge is a Constitutional canard, even though some of these folks have a law degree — <a href="https://www.talksonlaw.com/briefs/does-the-first-amendment-require-social-media-platforms-to-grant-access-to-all-users" target="_blank">legal experts agree</a> that Free Speech is about public speech and not about the ability to say whatever you want through a private company's platform.</p><p>No one knows if Birdwatch will work in the end, but if it does, let's hope that unscrupulous politicians find it more difficult to post outrageous tweets that draw them eyeballs and campaign contributions, the country's well-being be damned. Truth is always a slippery worm. Let's hope Birdwatch bites down.</p>
Journalists, doctors, and others you should know.
- While social media is often a source of disinformation, some thought leaders are using their platforms as a force for good.
- Social networks offer an opportunity for readers to learn science-backed advice from top professionals in their fields.
- From journalists covering disinformation to a doctor giving the best physical therapy advice around, these influential voices deserve wide audiences.
Conspirituality 17: Interview with Jared Yates Sexton<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ebf6480ec713128c0dc2dda52f8f5d62"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XpQJfxzLAik?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><h2>Jared Yates Sexton<br></h2><p>Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" offered an honest look at America's shameful historical record. It took 40 years for another book to penetrate a nation's conscience. When political analyst and associate professor <a href="https://twitter.com/JYSexton" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Jared Yates Sexton</a> published "<a href="https://bookshop.org/books/american-rule-how-a-nation-conquered-the-world-but-failed-its-people/9781524745714" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">American Rule: How a Nation Conquered the World but Failed Its People</a>," we finally had another opportunity to reflect—and, hopefully, progress. Sexton wants to dismantle the romanticized myth of American exceptionalism and replace it with something more valuable, as he <a href="https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/american-exceptionalism" target="_self">told Big Think</a> last year: "Once we disabuse ourselves of the myth of American exceptionalism, and we start looking at American history and say it's really problematic and inspirational at other times, it allows us to build something new."</p><h2>Dan Wilson</h2>Molecular biologist Dan Wilson makes visiting YouTube a necessity. His channel, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ2SN2gN1dmrFBEo6TWIzOw" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Debunk the Funk with Dr. Wilson</a>, takes on quack medicine and conspiracy theorists, breaking down disinformation in digestible segments while providing you with plenty of ammunition to combat the COVID denialists in your life. While his area of expertise is how cells build ribosomes, Wilson recently offered a three-part takedown of hydroxychloroquine peddler <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_gZkk0DcLE" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Simone Gold</a>, an insightful look into <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlPLtaKySqY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Christiane Northrup's COVID vaccine misinformation</a>, and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JZ_9JBoUa8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Joe Rogan's failure to fact check Alex Jones</a>.<p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His most recent book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
Alexandre Dumas' famous anecdote about Fake News in the 1800s has a surprising twist.
- Unfazed by his first defeat, Napoleon swept back into power in 1815, going from exile to emperor within a single month.
- Parisian newspapers scrambled to adapt: at the start of that month, Napoleon was a 'cannibal'; at the end, 'His Majesty'.
- For the first time ever, this map illustrates the spatial dimension of that shift – but the anecdote, made famous by Dumas, has a twist.
Napoleon's return<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUwNzUyMC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3ODQ5Mzk2NH0.T9j3DUpnxlX16kzI7Nma2p8i_gC4HgJ88QOrFXS6yzY/img.png?width=980" id="a8060" width="1867" height="1449" data-rm-shortcode-id="47c63f88c252f0aa557bd429b19f814a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Detail from \u2018D\u00e9barquement de Napol\u00e9on\u2019. Colored wood engraving by Fran\u00e7ois Georgin (1801-63). Print on paper." />
1 March 1815: Napoleon lands at Golfe-Juan. Detail from 'Débarquement de Napoléon' by François Georgin.
"The ultimate monument to journalism"<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUwNzU1OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDk5NjA1MX0.nOCJaZiMApEHtLmroT8SICpovVDHKvU-_HO5rHH056I/img.jpg?width=980" id="8cb81" width="3000" height="3953" data-rm-shortcode-id="d55d66b7193bbc939e12f711d8bf74f4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Photographic portrait from 1855 of Alexandre Dumas" />
In Une année à Florence (1841), Alexandre Dumas (pictured by Nadar in 1855) took a critical look at the attitudes of the Parisian press to Napoleon's return.
Image: Public Domain<p>In 1841, Alexandre Dumas <em>père</em> published a travelogue called "Une année à Florence" ('A year in Florence'). It contained a reflection on the believability of newspaper headlines, based on the reports on Napoleon's return to power in the Paris-based newspaper <em>Moniteur Universel</em> in March 1815. </p><p><span></span>As the official journal of the French government, that paper was hostile to Napoleon, at least when he started his campaign. Dumas notes that the attitude shifted as the deposed Emperor approached the seat of power: </p><p><span></span>"If you want to follow his victory march to Paris, you only have to consult the <em>Moniteur</em>. To guide our readers in this historical research, we will provide a rather curious sample. Step by step, it represents Napoleon's march towards Paris and shows the change his advance produces in the attitude of the newspaper."</p><p>Dumas then lists ten headlines which prove his point. Below are the original French headlines, plotted on the map are the English translations. For the first time ever, this map provides a spatial dimension to the shifting attitudes of the <em>Moniteur</em>. </p><ul><li><em>L'anthropophage est sorti de son repaire.</em></li><li><em>L'ogre de Corse vient de débarquer au golfe Juan.</em></li><li><em>Le tigre est arrivé à Gap. </em></li><li><em>Le monstre a couché à Grenoble. </em></li><li><em>Le tyran a traversé Lyon. </em></li><li><em>L'usurpateur a été vu à soixante lieues de la capitale. </em></li><li><em>Bonaparte s'avance à grands pas, mais il n'entrera jamais dans Paris. </em></li><li><em>Napoléon sera demain sous nos remparts. </em></li><li><em>L'empereur est arrivé à Fontainebleau.</em></li><li><em>Sa Majesté Impériale et Royale a fait hier son entrée en son château des Tuileries au milieu de ses fidèles sujets.</em></li></ul>Dumas concludes: "This is the ultimate monument to journalism. It need not do anything else, for it won't do anything better."
When legend becomes fact<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU0MDQwOC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NDY4NjY3NH0.pBR9gkcaDocFMKN7yEOLG2m6z8BVWVQ_7LTfY0ZH1uA/img.png?width=980" id="1625f" width="2500" height="1667" data-rm-shortcode-id="83641fe3ccb03d927ddf679eb51c7cd0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bMap by Frank Jacobs & Carrie Osgood illustrating Napoleon's return to Paris, from 1 to 20 March 1815." />
For the first time, a map that shows Napoleon's lightning march to retake power in Paris, and the headlines that accompanied him there.
Image: Frank Jacobs & Carrie Osgood<p>The <em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Moniteur Universel</em> was known as <em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">le journal de la pensée officielle</em>, i.e. the record of 'official thought'. Perhaps not so different to the 'mainstream media' of today. In fact, some have drawn parallels between the <em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Moniteur</em>'s initial dismissiveness of Napoleon's return, and the U.S. media's inability to comprehend Trump's march to victory in 2016. For that reason, and to illustrate the larger point that truth and journalism should not be mistaken for each other, the Dumas anecdote is regularly dusted off.<br></p><p><span data-verified="redactor" data-redactor-tag="span"></span>However, the story has another layer – and a two other important lessons about journalism. </p><p><span data-verified="redactor" data-redactor-tag="span"></span>Lesson number one: Check your sources. The entire run of the <em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Moniteur Universel</em> <a href="https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb34452336z/date.item" target="_blank">can be consulted online</a> via the <a href="https://www.bnf.fr/fr" target="_blank">French National Library</a>, including the relevant daily editions from March 1-20, 1815. They do not contain the titles that Dumas uses. In fact, as the journal of record, the <em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Moniteur</em> mainly published decrees, statutes and ordinances – nothing quite as lurid as the headlines quoted by Dumas. </p><p>In <em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Les Cent-Jours: Légende et réalité</em> (1983), French historian George Blond after extensive research is forced to conclude that "although the Emperor was insulted and dismissed as an adventurer or evildoer in some newspaper commentaries, this legendary series of newspaper headlines never did exist."</p><p>Of course, that won't stop the Dumas anecdote from resurfacing. And that second lesson is perhaps the ultimate one this anecdote can teach us about journalism: that the media – mainstream or otherwise – can't resist a good story. In the words of newspaperman Maxwell Scott in the John Ford western "The Man who Shot Liberty Vallance: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><br></em></p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Many thanks to <a href="https://carrieosgood.com/" target="_blank">Carrie Osgood</a>, who produced the map to complement Alexandre Dumas' anecdote. </em><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">The map is available for purchase on her <a href="https://dataworldatlas.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">online store</a> in two versions, the <a href="https://dataworldatlas.com/posters.html#!/Napoleon-Map/p/239541152/category=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">basic map</a> (as shown above) and the <a href="https://dataworldatlas.com/posters.html#!/Napoleon-Map-&-Story/p/239559061/category=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">map with the story</a> (as shown below).</em><br></p><p><strong data-redactor-tag="strong">Strange Maps #1050</strong></p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Got a strange map? Let me know at </em><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">.</em><br></p>
Ad Fontes Media wants to educate readers on where to find reliable sources of news and lessen the heat from the political flame wars.
- Polarized, unreliable news can be dangerous during turbulent times, such as the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Ad Fontes' Media Bias Chart maps out the biases and reliability of legacy and alternative news organizations.
- Political bias is one of many we must be wary of when judging the quality of the news we consume.
Creating the Media Bias Chart<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkxMTE4OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NzE2Mjg1M30.1ycjIn1YuKDZlG4agMud2EaXCXl51ChCsU6p-qUP4cw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C169%2C0%2C169&height=700" id="c6757" width="1245" height="700" data-rm-shortcode-id="79c00897c80cc0bfdd552ab87ffb65cb" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The extreme bias and partisanship of the 2016 election led Vanessa Otero to create the first Media Bias Chart.
Triangulating the news landscape<img class="rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkxMTk0Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NzI4ODc1OH0.KKs-vBLgDW_HVkCStUyarhUC8fatIxR1gQrMk5iqdvg/img.jpg?width=980" id="c90b7" data-rm-shortcode-id="f0384bef6faf8f03164836343cd22b0c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Click on the image to zoom in and get a better view. The Media Bias Chart, version 5.1, charts reliability and bias in about 90 popular news sources.(Photo: Ad Fontes Media)<p>The chart splays a cavalcade of news media logos across its grid to form a giant triangle. At the top-middle stands the news sources that are balanced and highly reliable. As we slide down <a href="https://bigthink.com/age-of-engagement/the-psychology-of-why-the-left-the-right-even-scientists-believe-in-media-bias" target="_blank">the left and right sides</a>, we fall deeper into the realm of partisanship and mudslinging.</p><p>The chart's y-axis measures reliability on a scale of 0–64. According to the Ad Fontes website, a reliability score of 24 or higher is considered acceptable, while a score of 32 or higher represents good reliability. </p><p>The chart's x-axis measures from -42 to 42. Scores closer to zero equate to neutral, balanced views. The more a news organization shows a conservative bent, the more their score pushes right of zero, maxing out at 42. The more a news organization shows a progressive bent, the more their score pushes left of zero, maxing out at -42. </p><p>For those fuming that progressive news is measured by "negative" numbers while the right is seen as "positive," chill! That's just how x-axes work.</p>
Who is the fairest (and most balanced) of them all?<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkxMTE5NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MjU1NjI1N30.Qo1QT1e6RAd0lqEv9_RQeiNm3Jh5W9zYDBnxV-wqSmE/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C51%2C0%2C0&height=700" id="1ceef" width="1245" height="700" data-rm-shortcode-id="3eb00e4a7ed06b624fde90bd593ce48a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="John Daniszewski of Associated Press and Kirill Kleymenov interview Vladimir Putin" />
John Daniszewski, vice president and editor at large for standards of the Associated Press, and Kirill Kleymenov interview Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013.