When looking for examples of media bias, look for charged language, cherry-picked quotes or statistics, evidence collected more heavily from one side of a debate than another, or a higher level of scrutiny or criticism brought to bear on one side than on another. Look for unsupported claims and generalized opinions that the author assumes everyone knows, thinks, believes, or feels. Look for “straw men” and other logical fallacies. Look for instances where the reporter strays from objectivity or becomes a participant in the story. Become, in short, aware of even the slightest nudges the reporter sends to the reader.
Find four news stories from different organizations covering a single news event. Make sure all four stories were published within the same 48-hour span and, again, that they are all covering the same event.
As you read, make note of the occurrences of each of the below references, etc. Record the number of each, and calculate the percent liberal vs. percent conservative for each.
Read the articles again, looking for answers to the more generalized questions below. Take notes, underline, etc. In many ways, this is the most important part of the assignment. You cannot get all the information you need just from the tally you have done.
Write a 3-5 page paper detailing the results of your analysis. The paper should go through each article’s analysis first, assessing whether you detect ideological bias at all. If you do see ideological bias, in what direction does it go? Support these conclusions with examples, quotes, numbers, etc. Supply answers to the questions below as support. Use the last page or so to compare and contrast your findings across all four articles. Did you find overall bias or not? Did your findings support common perceptions of media bias or not? Use specific examples to back up your arguments. Also, remember that it is possible that you will not detect ideological bias in all (or any) of the articles. That is worth mentioning, too. You might also detect other sorts of bias (oversimplifying, etc.). Record those as well.
The paper should include an introduction and conclusion, should be clearly written, proofread, spell-checked, and clearly organized.