Info Literacy

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” Carl Sagan, astrophysicist, author - quoted from The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Understanding Media Bias, Fact-Checking, and Being Informed 

To reach and to defend the truth, we must all be savvy consumers of information. Have you ever heard news or information that sounded too good (or too bad) to be true? Has a friend, family member, or elected leader shared something with you that doesn't seem to check out with reality?

In this age of innumerable media outlets and the blatant (and sometimes hidden) attacks on truth by many, it's more important than ever to carefully select where your information and analysis come from, how to judge whether or not your sources rely on and represent the truth, and that the information that sources share and purport as facts can be proven. 

These links can help you do just that.

Media Bias Chart

Ad Fontes Media publishes a static and interactive Media Bias Chart ®. It charts where news outlets (web/print, podcast, and TV/video) lie on the political spectrum (extreme, hyper-partisan, skewing, and center/neutral, in both left- and right-leaning perspectives). Their data visualization chart helps media consumers like us stay aware of the likely perspective of news providers in whom we place our trust.

An additional feature: In the interactive version (which features more sources), hovering over an icon provides evaluative data. You can also click any icon to link to the source. 

The company has developed tiered access and searchability, including Free Public, Free Plus, and Premium/Pro versions.

Because the content is licensed and may be downloaded for a fee, but can be viewed at no charge, we provide the link to help discern possible biases of media people use to understand local, national, and world news. It can also help students of political science understand media bias, and help consumers of information defend against "nonsense" information.

(LD25 does not endorse Ad Fontes Media nor endorse any purchase/affiliation with Ad Fontes Media or other information presented on their site; we merely provide it for its useful information.) 

Objective statement from Ad Fontes Media: 

"We rate the news for bias and reliability using a rigorous methodology and a politically balanced team of analysts. Our focus is on analyzing the news content of articles and shows.  Ad Fontes is Latin for “to the source,” because we rate the news by looking at the source itself."

Fact-Checking Outlets

Despite an attempt to locate the origin of this graphic and lack of attribution on the image itself, it stands as an excellent list of outlets that one may use to check truth or falsehood of information. Because truth matters, it's up to each of us to double-check the accuracy of what we accept as truth and for us to have the tools to do so. To paraphrase a familiar saying, "If it seems too good to be true - or too bad to be true - better check!"

A Google search of any outlet from the above graphic should point to the fact-checker.

Many handy, easy-to-use tools with active links have been created. Libraries and other sources offer linkable lists. Just a few:

  • ASU Library has created this linkable Fact-Checker list. It also links to other tools, including "How to Identify Fake News in 10 Steps" for media/news evaluation.
  • UA Libraries has built a News Literacy: Resources for Evaluating News Sources page, including a "How to Spot Fake News" graphic.
  • This linkable list has been prepared for students by ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education).

Where truth is concerned, practice "caveat emptor." "Let the buyer beware," and check things out!

All of this leads to you and your participation in our electoral process:

Being an Informed Voter

What does a citizen and voter do both before an election and throughout their daily life? They stay informed and engaged. An informed, educated populace is necessary for our system of self-governance and democracy.

5 Tips for Being an Active, Informed Voter (pdf) (Content from GenerationNation of Charlotte, NC, developing civic leaders from K-12 students) gives basic tips that every voter can follow.

Questions? You can reach us at [email protected].