Six Tell-Tale Signs of Biased News Stories

Ethics critic. Really.

If you know “Cracked” at all, you probably remember its as Mad Magazine’s not-quite-as-funny competitor in the juvenile humor magazine market.  But yesterday’s rip-off humor rag is today’s clever website, and this week it unveiled a clever and useful article about the various ways print journalists slant the news. I have written about many of them, but Cracked writer C. Corville has done a thorough, perceptive, and entertaining job, identifying a couple I had missed. And she’s right.

Cracked’s “6 Subtle Ways The News Media Disguises Bullshit As Fact” are, in reverse order:


6. Weasel Words

5. Implying Without Saying

4. Burying Inconvenient Facts

3. Biased Photos

2. The Active Voice

1. Guessing the Motives Instead of Reporting the Facts

Excellent work. I recommend it highly.

7 thoughts on “Six Tell-Tale Signs of Biased News Stories

  1. As far as unreliable reporting. I have been following the Fukushima reactor story. All the reports in US papers is doom and gloom, alarmist, and stating that the situation is worsening and could become catastrophic. The reports I read from Europe state that the situation has been improving since Wednesday, the worst is behind us, and that there is not much danger to the environment around the plant, just a mess that will be a pain to deal with. Who is right and why the vastly different stories? Also, where is Jimmy Carter? He loves to get himself involved in international incidents and he actually has a lot of relevant experience and training in this.

  2. I am grateful to author Sam Harris (“The End of Faith”) for this bon mot:

    “Anything that can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

    I use it all the time on blogs with obstreperous Bible-thumpers, usually in interrogative form:

    “And your EVIDENCE for that assertion is…?”

    Also helps for recognizing biased news stories.

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