I’m a center-left Democrat. Let’s just get that out of the way. Like most people who care about politics, I have my own views and biases. I started caring because I opposed the Iraq War. I will always view it as a mistake. I enjoyed The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and after years of watching them point out the absurdity of Fox News, will never be able to watch it. I still enjoy shows that are a mix of comedy and political analysis, e.g. The Late Show, Last Week Tonight, and Real Time. I also check headlines and read articles on CNN’s website. Recently, I started listening to Pod Save America. There’s a lot more time to listen to things while sitting at home during a lockdown. Overall, these sources inform my view of the world.
In early 2017, I saw a chart being shared on Facebook placing various news sources into categories of political bias. Soon after, of course, other charts were posted showing the “real” way the first chart should have been arranged. Seeing this led me to a question, “What does it mean for a source to be biased?” I feel like I’ve known for a long time that the so-called “mainstream media” is center-left. I know that MSNBC is liberal and Fox News is conservative. But what does that mean in practice? Are sources simply providing differing analysis on the same events? Are they elevating stories that fit with their views and burying or not reporting on others? Are they using different words that are meant to lead their readers to certain conclusions?
I created this site in an attempt to answer these questions. I wanted a way to easily compare, side-by-side, what different sources are saying. The sources are categorized according to the ratings on AllSides.com (another cool site you should check out). I generally don’t mind staying within my bubble and assume most others don’t either. However, we often hear about how the United States is becoming more polarized. I think that each side having its own sources of information fuels that. It’s easy to be polarized when we only have to watch and listen to our own side. How can we possibly engage with people on the opposite side, whichever it is for us, unless we understand the information they consume? That’s my hope for this site: to both highlight how sources express bias and show where different people’s political views come from.