Immigration American Government How to Detect Media Bias and Propaganda Only a small number of citizens are skilled in recognizing bias and propaganda in the news disseminated in their country.
Only a relatively few are able to detect one-sided portrayals of events or seek out alternative sources of information and opinion…the overwhelming majority of people in the world, untrained in critical thinking, are at the mercy of the news media in their country (The Foundation for Critical Thinking). Why this assignment? Most major news channels present biased information and even go as far as to present fact-less even untruthful information. In response, there is a growing number of “hoaxster” websites that purposely present information that is not based on any known facts but tend to rely on conspiracy theory. Unfortunately, most Americans rely on the news to learn about political events and either believe the story or do not bother to check the information against other reports. This perpetuates political spin, leaving many Americans to wallow in a political echo chamber and this impacts our political process. There seems to be a correlation between news media bias and a trend towards polarization. Americans and their elected officials are moving further left or further right such that middle-ground politics and policies that rely on compromise cannot be reached. What does this assignment focus on? The main purpose of this assignment is to increase your awareness of news media bias, to learn to fact check and to analyze how this affects you and our democratic political process. This is NOT a pro/con analysis. Please be sure to read these instructions thoroughly to do well on this assignment. GENERAL GUIDELINES: This written assignment must be typed and saved as a Word document (.doc or .docx). It should be 5-7 pages, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12 pt. font. No Cover Page is necessary, but parenthetical in-text citation and a Works Cited page (MLA format) are required. Be sure to include your Works Cited IN YOUR assignment document file. To learn more about citation, use the Purdue Owl website and avoid plagiarism: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. . SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: CHOOSING MEDIA SOURCES News media bias is most profound when news media sources take on very specific political perspectives. Yet, most Americans choose only news media sources that match their own political perspective. This creates what many call “the echo chamber.” For this assignment, you must choose two news media sources with very different perspectives. There are several political perspectives, the two most common are conservative (right leaning) and liberal (left-leaning). It is up to you to figure out the political perspective of the sources you are considering. Here are some external links to help get you started: http://www.allsides.com/about-bias Links to an external site. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/10/21/lets-rank-the-media-from-liberal-to-conservative-based-on-their-audiences/?utm_term=.551a19b03773 Links to an external site. There are several formats from which to choose your sources; these include print (newspaper, magazine), radio, television and the internet. You may choose your sources from any combination of these formats (i.e. two internet sources OR one television source and one internet source). CHOOSING YOUR TOPIC You must choose one political topic which is relevant to this class (i.e. it must be a US/American topic and it must be recent). You will then search your two news media sources for this topic. You may need to further narrow your topic so that both of your news media sources are discussing an important element of the topic (i.e. Gun Control might be narrowed down to background checks for gun licenses). Choose ONE article/broadcast about your topic from EACH source (TWO in total). Here’s a list of topics that may be used: Gun Control Immigration/Refugees NSA Surveillance/Wikileaks Pre-emptive Strike (and/or Drone Strikes) Same-sex marriage The National Budget/Debt Iran’s Nuclear Program Legalization of Marijuana Russian Interference in Elections Net Neutrality N. Korean Nuclear Program Healthcare Acts Immigration policy Abortion/Planned Parenthood Tax Reform If you have a different topic in mind, email me. DETECTING BIAS You will then critically analyze, by comparing and contrasting, how your two news media sources relay the information concerning the topic you have chosen. You MUST use this site to help explain main areas of analysis/BIAS http://www.studentnewsdaily.com/types-of-media-bias/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Choose a MINIMUM of 3 main points of bias from this site and use these to develop an in-depth analysis of just how biased your sources are and how these biases affect you AND our political process. Support these points! When looking for specific examples to support your points, look for both verbal and non-verbal clues. Look at the visuals, the headlines, catchy or loaded words/phrases, placement of article, whether each side (or various sides) are discussed, look at the length devoted to each side. Look to see if names, events, places, organizations, etc. are explained in depth (i.e. is there enough background information to understand the topic). Re-read or re-listen to the articles/broadcasts/websites. Look for even the most subtle factors that might affect the reader/listener. The deeper your analysis, the better it will become (and the higher your grade!). FACT-CHECKING Check your two news sources for a variety of points presented as “truthful” or as “factual.” You must find TWO from EACH source. The obvious examples of fact/truth include actual numbers, but often times absolutes (all, none, every, only, most, very few, ….) will be used and can also be taken as “factual.” And there may be other statements of truth/fact that are embedded into sentences and/or assumed. You will need to again critically listen to/read your two news media sources used above and find at least two “facts” or “truths” from each of your news media sources. You will then need to try to fact-check these! This isn’t easily done, so take your time and state whether each fact is true, mostly true, mostly false, or false. You must support this with some credible evidence. A major part of this assignment is to have you search and find credible sources. ANALYSIS Remember that this paper is an analysis. As such, you must present your findings and then use them to analyze our political process. Without this important analysis, your paper is incomplete! With your findings (biases, fact-checking), examine both the short and long term effects on our political system. Be sure that your concluding analysis (more than one paragraph) goes beyond the obvious (i.e. “all news media is biased”). You might start by summarizing your findings (discuss and explain whether or not the reader/listener could make a rational decision after reading/listening to both of these articles/broadcasts). But you MUST also bring in information you have learned about our political process AND examine how your findings uncover the relationship between news media and our political process. Be specific by making a few points and support each point with a thorough explanation. For example, examine what part the media plays in “polarization?” Examine how polarization affects our process and analyze if polarization enhances our political process (i.e. political candidates, voting) or not. HINTS FOR WRITING YOUR ASSIGNMENT Your assignment should be well-constructed, should support a strong thesis and should logically lead to your conclusion Your assignment should begin with an introduction that states your topic, news media choices and your thesis. This introduction should be clear and concise, but no longer than 1 paragraph. The body of your assignment should be an analysis constructed around the 3 or more points (biases) you have chosen to use to analyze your sources. Be sure that you introduce the main point, (i.e. “bias by omission”) explain it in your own words, (“bias by omission means that……”) support it with specific examples from BOTH of your news media sources (cite your sources) and explain how/why the source is biased and how it affects the reader/listener. Be sure to use (and quote/cite) specific examples from your news media sources to support your points of analysis. You should not use any additional sources or your own opinion for this portion of your paper. the two facts/truths you fact-checked for each source. Be sure that you state the fact/truth you fact-checked and in which source you found it state what source(s) you used to fact-check and why these sources rate the fact/truth as true, mostly true, mostly false, or false. The concluding paragraphs that should be your examination of your findings-your analysis (as explained in #5 above.) Be sure that you Provide a few main points Provide an in-depth explanation of each of your points and Analyze specific aspects of our political system that might be/are affected. Cite your sources. Do NOT use first person. SUBMISSION Properly submit your assignment in both the Interactive Assignment file submission and Discussions links by NOON on the due date as listed in our Syllabus. LATE Interactive Assignments will be penalized without a documented reason (there’s a Late Policy listed in our Syllabus file). There is also a grade rubric in our Syllabus for this assignment. You are not able nor allowed to read other students’ assignments until you have submitted your own. If you decide to try to “cheat” and read other posts first, your assignment will not be accepted. There are no redos or rewrites. Return to the Discussions after you have submitted your assignment and discuss and debate with your fellow students. You may focus on media bias, per se, or you may focus on the student’s analysis. In either case, your responses to at least TWO students (one with whom you disagree) must be both relevant and professional!! Your responses are due before MIDNIGHT on the due date.