Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ask Skewz.com Founder About Detecting Media Bias

Roblimo posted more than 6 years ago | from the only-a-journalist-who-agrees-with-me-about-everyting-is-totally-unbiased dept.

299

Skewz.com is not the Microsoft-funded Blews experiment that is supposed to help detect rightness and leftness in stories based on blogs that link to them. Instead of detecting blog links, Skewz relies on readers to submit and rate stories, and even tries to pair stories that have "liberal" and "conservative" biases so that you can get multiple takes on the same event or pronouncement. The Skewz About page explains how it works. The site has drawn a fair amount of "media insider" attention, including a writeup on the Poynter Institute website. But what does all this mean? Where is it going? Can Skewz.com help us sort our news better and make more informed decisions? We don't know. But if you post a question here for founder Vipul Vyas, maybe he'll have an answer for you. (Please try to follow the usual Slashdot interview rules.)

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Are all americans one dimensional (5, Insightful)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941582)

I still do not understand why everything is left/right. Reality tends to be complicated and every story has a lot more aspects than left/right (even if you manage to define those two terms).

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (3, Insightful)

chunk08 (1229574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941654)

True. Not all issues can be defined with left/right. However, in politics, we can generalize (oh the horror) thus: Left: Do as much as possible through government, especially welfare and education. Less free market. Higher taxes, more government benefits Right: Do as much as possible in the private sector. This includes welfare (private charities) and education. Lower taxes, less government benefits. Now this does not cover every issue, but it gives a general idea of the philosophies that an intelligent person can apply.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941812)

Left: Do as much as possible through government, especially welfare and education. Less free market. Higher taxes, more government benefits Right: Do as much as possible in the private sector. This includes welfare (private charities) and education. Lower taxes, less government benefits.
I'd say that's quite a right wing definition- I'd put it more as:

Left: Looking after society from the bottom up.
Right: Looking after society from the top down.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (5, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941984)


I'd say both definitions are (a) grossly inadquate as a basis for categorising political viewpoints which are massively more complicated and (b) merely attitudes that do not necessarily equate to the outcomes of any given policy. The divisive split between "left" and "right" is one of the things that most cripples democracy in the USA, today. By labelling something as belonging to one faction or another, serious consideration of the merits of a particular action can be derailed. Maybe tax cuts are the right thing at a given time to stimulate the economy. Maybe state aid to a faltering financial institution is going to head off disaster on another occasion. But instead of assessing ideas as good or bad, "left" and "right" become substitutes for good and bad and nothing needs to be said beyond that. Never mind that often enough it is not appropriate to categorise things in these terms. It seems half the time that political beliefs are treated as merely territory to be captured by "left" or "right" and claimed as fitting that faction's ideology.

In the words of the immortal Bill Hicks (well, except that he's dead): "Hey, waitaminute! It's one guy holding up both puppets!"

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (3, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942094)

They are useful, though massively abstract concepts- nobody is saying that the terms themselves are 'seeds' from which entire Philosophies are able to be derived. Interestingly, the terms originated from the old French parliament, where the Aristocrats sat to the right of the King, and the commoners sat to the left.

The divisive split between "left" and "right" is one of the things that most cripples democracy in the USA, today.
Correction: The divisive split between "Right" and "Far Right" is one of the things that most cripples democracy in the USA, today.

Thank you! (2, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942466)

In the words of the immortal Bill Hicks (well, except that he's dead): "Hey, waitaminute! It's one guy holding up both puppets!"

Oh my lack of god yes! Funny thing is, I just finished replying to a post accusing me of being a "rabid ultra-left Democrat" with:

You've been had. Just like racism is a way to get poor white folks fighting poor brown folk so they don't realize most of their problems have nothing to do with color. The policies that lead to the rich getting richer and the poor paying the bill transcend the Democratic/Republican divide.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (2, Funny)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942486)

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (3, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942488)

I'd say both definitions are (a) grossly inadquate as a basis for categorising political viewpoints which are massively more complicated and (b) merely attitudes that do not necessarily equate to the outcomes of any given policy. The divisive split between "left" and "right" is one of the things that most cripples democracy in the USA, today. By labelling something as belonging to one faction or another, serious consideration of the merits of a particular action can be derailed.

Serious consideration is derailed, indeed, but it's not a conspiracy. It is simply human nature to find simple categories with which to make predictions and choices. Any consideration of nuances, shades of grey, contradiction and ambiguity, requires a lot of mental energy... not to mention more mental hardware than many people have to begin with.

Mental energy is a more precious resource than money, and even more than time. We all have more time than we have energy -- that's why we come home at night and "vege out".

This is why most political arguments are fights over categorization... once a thing has been categorized (and we all feel an urgent need to do so for any issues that remain expensively uncategorized), we can apply very simple logic when dealing with it again. White hat, good guy; black hat, bad guy.

An example: although ethanol logically belongs in the category of "mind-altering addictive substances", we lack the political will to admit it, because if we announce "alcohol is in the category of 'drug'", we'll then be obliged to apply our "drug == bad" logic to it.

Lord knows how I ever got hooked up with this godforsaken species. Where's the damned mothership already?

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1, Insightful)

KiltedKnight (171132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942046)

You're both skewing it.

It's really:

Left
  • do what you can to pay lip service to social freedoms while telling people how to think
  • provide as much wealth redistribution as you possibly can
  • restrict economic freedoms as much as possible
Right
  • do what you can to pay lip service to economic freedoms while actually screwing the little guy
  • redistribute wealth to the corporations and the CEOs
  • restrict social freedoms by invading the private lives of otherwise law-abiding citizens

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (5, Insightful)

ScienceDada (1232890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942058)

Your definition is completely reversed.
The "Left" is for strong central government--as you say, "top down"--(i.e. Federal government).
The "Right" is for strong local control--as you say, bottom-up--i.e. States' rights.
In America, these have been opposing sides since the framing of the Constitution.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942150)

Your definition is completely reversed.
Only if you chose peculiar definitions of 'Top' and 'Bottom'.

Bottom in my context means 'most needy of society's assistance', and top means the reverse.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942416)

Just look at these post, no one can define left and right properly. Each poster tells the other poster that their definition is wrong. That's because we are all complex and a leftist will define being leftist different than another leftists and the same holds true for people on the right. Screw defining it.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (5, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942496)

The "Left" is for strong central government--as you say, "top down"--(i.e. Federal government). The "Right" is for strong local control--as you say, bottom-up--i.e. States' rights.

So neocons who have striven to extend the power of the federal government are leftists? And Greens who work for more local control are right-wingers?

No. Federalist versus anti-federalist is a different dimension from left versus right.

The political terms left and right date to the French revolution, when nobility sat on the right and commoners on the left of the legislature. In modern terms, they refer to Labor and Capital. To be in favor of the interests of investors and owners is to be on the right; to be in favor of the interests of workers and ordinary citizens is to be on the left.

It doesn't matter whether you're an Maoist who believes in dictatorship of the peasants, or a anarchist who believes in no government and thus no private capital, you're a leftist; and it doesn't matter if you're a plutocrat who believes that the rich should control the government, or a libertarian capitalist in the minimal government that can enforce strong property rights, you're a right-winger.

Various alliances made over the years have obscured this, to the point where people think of gun control, censorship, abortion, foreign policy, and many other issues in left/right terms, but that's fuzzy thinking. Politics is multi-dimensional, and left-right is just one axis.

Sorta... (1)

thule (9041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942306)

Left: Looking after society from the bottom up.
but change comes from the top down via strong government.

Right: Looking after society from the top down.
A true conservative (not Republican) tries to minimize government as much as possible (though not as much as a libertarian) and believes that the market will work problems out for itself. So the right doesn't look at top down, it looks at the marketplace as a complex whole that cannot be controlled at any point without causing unintended outcomes. I would say that the left is much more top down than the right, but justifies it's top down approach because the bottom isn't behaving they way they want.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (2, Insightful)

chunk08 (1229574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942434)

I'd say that's quite a right wing definition
OK... It is a definition. Calling it "right-wing" is no argument at all. Pointing out specific areas of disagreement would be.

Left: Looking after society from the bottom up.
Right: Looking after society from the top down.
So the government exists "to look after society?"
Not to protect us and our liberty?

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941918)

And IMHO, that's exactly why it shouldn't be either left or right, because the middle ground is often a very good one. However, media is often aligned with either of the sides, and pushes for ideas I think often are suboptimal.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22941944)

You're more or less correct, but only as far as economic issues go. For social issues, the positions are opposite. Right-wingers favor government doing as much as possible to regulate the social aspects of peoples lives, while left-wingers favor individual choice.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (3, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942004)

Actually, it's simpler than that:

Left = Quality of life at the expense of economic growth

Right = Economic growth at the expense of everything else, no matter what the cost

You see this in the US, where schools and hospitals are run purely to generate profit, with the barest minimum of education or care provided (got to keep those overheads down, no matter what!)

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942084)

You see this in the US, where schools and hospitals are run purely to generate profit...
Funny thing is, I was in the ER last with with my two-year-old, and there was a big sign that says (in summary) "We will take care of you even if you can't pay." Come to think of it, it's in EVREY hospital in the country.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942360)

And they will. They will stabilize you enough to ship you out. If you happen to survive once shipped out, then the lawyers take over and attach your ass from here to eternity.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942440)

That's not actually true. Conservatives are for more and bigger government just as much as Liberals are. They'll just throw the benefits towards other people than the Liberals would. Also, I'm not talking about a huge difference in how the benefits are distributed, either. You'll do well as a defense contractor whether Liberals or Conservatives are in power, for example. If you're on the dole, you might do marginally better under Liberals than Conservatives, but either way you are still likely screwed.

Conservatives tend to prefer inflation to more traditional taxes to pay for the stuff they throw money at. Liberals like inflation, too, but they are more willing to mix it with some tax increases. Either way, the government increases it's slice of the pie. Here's a nice indicator: http://www.cedarcomm.com/~stevelm1/usdebt.htm [cedarcomm.com]

This election isn't really as much about Liberal versus Conservative as people would have us believe, its more about whether or not to continue truly incompetent, nationally destructive leadership or not. The truth is, no radicals made it into the final two (McCain vs. Obama). Both very much believe in the status quo, but how to maintain it is how they differ. I sincerely doubt that you'll find siginificant reductions in worldwide military bases under Obama, for example.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (0, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941814)

Then you've never seen FoxNews. Hmm, wait: They do tend to show a lot of fine babes and sex-related stories. O, the dichotomy is ripping me apart!

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941994)


Are all americans one dimensional


No, our (and yours even more so) media would just like you to think that. I'm amazed that the rest of the world thinks they're so spot-on about Americans when your media arguably distorts facts in an even more insidious and twisted fashion than ours does. Seriously guys, come on, are you this naive?

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942024)

I think all comments after the parent are pretty much redundant. It took me a while to figure out why this new site bothered me, but the parent summarized it quite nicely: the distinction between left/right and liberal/conservative are completely artificial in this country, and largely defined by opposition of the other side, not support of an idea or platform. Sites like skewz do nothing more than perpetuate the idea that there is a right/left dichotomy that has clearly definable boundaries. In my opinion (and I think Jon Stewart is a hero for calling out the Crossfire hosts for this), this is one of the single biggest problems in the American political scene. Sites like Skewz.com merely reinforce this problem, and do nothing to resolve it.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942040)

OK, I want marijuana, prostitution, and gambling legalized. Do I vote for a Republican or a Democrat?

See, the thing is, there really is no right/left. Democrats and Republicans are like two wings of the same party (both wings want me in jail). The reason for the percieved right-left is that the corporate and monied interests control all non-internet media, and those interests are allowed to bribe candidates with so-called "campaign contributions". Joe Moneybags gives ten million to the Democrat and ten million to the Republican, and no matter the outcome, Joe wins and I lose.

Meanwhile Joe's cable news network slobbers all over a "third party" (Green) candidate who is not on the ballot in enough states to win even if he carried all of them, while another "third party" is on the ballot in 49 states and completely ignored by Joe's TV and newspaper.

While this is happening Joe's media outlets convince American voters that a vote for anyone but the Republican or Democrat is a wasted vote, when in reality the only wasted votes are votes that aren't cast at all.

Then along comes Joe and starts skewz.com, saying "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain".

Your confusion is very understandable, as even Americans think they live in a democratic republic, instead of the plutocracy we actually live in. Which is exactly how Joe wants it.

-mcgrew

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942122)

Think about this from the perspective of the power elite who control government, and the media giants who have much to gain by aiding the agenda of government (and much to lose by not doing so).

If you can train the subject class to think of politics in terms of two simple, seemingly opposite dimensions -- both of which ultimately call for more, not less government -- then your goal of expanding the business of government suddenly becomes a lot easier. If you can train the subject class to expect that the solution to any given problem is always found within one of those two pro-government camps -- and never outside them -- then the road to your trillion-dollar budget suddenly becomes a lot shorter.

Today, the US government absolutely dwarfs the US government of only 50, let alone 100 years ago, both in revenue and power over the people. We are talking about the largest, most expensive, most powerful government (AND world empire, with military bases in some 150 countries around the world) that has ever existed. Clearly, the power elite who control this giant mega-corporation know exactly what they are doing, and if you follow the historical trend, the overall size of government is proportional to how deeply government is entangled in the media.

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1)

LuYu (519260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942196)

I still do not understand why everything is left/right. Reality tends to be complicated and every story has a lot more aspects than left/right (even if you manage to define those two terms).

This is nearly what I was going to say. Who really cares about two arbitrary and meaningless (and historically malleable) categories like "conservative" and "liberal"? I mean, what is the difference between Coke and Pepsi, anyway? Are they not just two versions of the same thing? Finally, is breaking things into these categories not just playing into the hands of those who would wish to manipulate us -- making us argue over unimportant issues while the real decisions get made behind our backs?

What we need is a website that judges things such as an "advertising index" to tell us when someone is just using a reporter to push their product. Or a "factual index" to rate the credibility of the numbers involved. Or a "bias analysis" where users can post where they think something was misrepresented. What is the website really doing to help people with the complex system of manipulation that we today call "news"?

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (1)

N1ck0 (803359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942274)

Your absolutely right most things are neither left nor right. As most people with an understanding of political science (and no I am not a poli-sci geek, but I have been known to read things from time to time) will say is that traditionally most things are actually plotted on a two dimensional scale of political vs economical bias (and if your really into things you can show how you actually need a 3rd dimension on your chart to really cover things too).

From the one-dimensional media world, this has the odd effect of things that become too liberal can become conservative ideas...and things that are too conservative can then become liberal again.

Its also an interesting problem that both the center of the graph, and the conditions on when things change 'quadrants' or 'sides' vary both based on the person, and the comparison of that person to the norm. One may have a left idea relative to a right administration, but in terms of the populace (or even to a particular organization/audience) that left idea may still be classified as right.

This presents problems to those who are classified as extremists, who will find every moderate article to the one of the two sides.

Then you also have the issue of people who have a more narrow/broad 'view' (where narrow and broad do not really denote intelligence or education as more of a preference), as a narrow individual will perceive a left-right wrapping effect faster than a broad view.

Of course even if you do not 'subscribe' to a multi-dimensional view of issues, you center of any left-right line is still variable.

But yes I guess given a large enough profile of users and their individual opinions, one could probably use some relative network of topics and to model a general depiction of where one would classify left, right, and center. But it would really be per individual, and the range in topics used to classify things would be have to be pretty large because most people also vary where they stand based on what you are taking about (e.g. a politically liberal, economically conservative, with liberal environmental bias, but moderately-conservative views on foreign policy, with strong anti-authoritarian sentiment).

Re:Are all americans one dimensional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942368)

> Reality tends to be complicated and every story has a lot more aspects than left/right [...]

Reality has a liberal bias.

So what is liberal or conservative? (5, Insightful)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941590)

So, is sexual impropriety liberal (Clinton) or conservative (Gingerich)?
How about economic activism (Greenspan)?
What about pro-war?
How about government hypervigilance against its own citizens?
How about abortion?
What about economic stimulus?
How about WTO?

Honestly, with the way all the votes actually go when a liberal or conservative party has control of everything, I have to say that in each of these cases, the "liberal" and "conservative" positions are identical, and the opposite position has no coverage.

Re:So what is liberal or conservative? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22941638)

If it's bad it's right-wing

Re:So what is liberal or conservative? (3, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941712)

If it's stupid it's left-wing.

Re:So what is liberal or conservative? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22941856)

If it's not full of shit it's BBC.

Re:So what is liberal or conservative? (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941966)

The BBC takes an outsider view of American Politics which is rather refreshing. There really isn't much invested interests in Pushing an American Left or Right agenda.

Re:So what is liberal or conservative? (1)

Sabz5150 (1230938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942390)

Iraq: Bad or Stupid?

Re:So what is liberal or conservative? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942076)

Tennis elbow?

Re:So what is liberal or conservative? (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941752)

And how much difference does it make?

For example, [Ll]ibertarians don't tend to see politics in this light. They see things as "statist" or "non-statist". Any viewpoint favoring the rights of the individual over the power of State intervention is non-statist. To a [Ll]ibertarian left and right can both be wrong, as they may, and oftentimes DO, both represent a statist viewpoint.

Re: Right vs Left and what they use to support it (1)

revco_38 (657452) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941762)

Choose any of your topics above then find what people use to support their opinions or facts and denounce others. Based on what is used you are able to say "left" people say x=y because of 1,2,3 and "right" people say x=z because of 4,5,6. When you combine the two, in theory, you get a balanced picture including coverage for both (but not ALL) sides.

Liberal vs Conservative != Democrat vs Republican (1)

sperxios10 (848382) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941996)

You obviously confuse Liberals with Democrats and Conservatives with Republicans.

If you think of liberalism as freedom-in-general, not only as an ecocomic-theory,
and if you consider as a helping aid the anti-vietnam movement and what they demanded for,
then you can find certain answers to almost all the questions you 've asked.

Re:Liberal vs Conservative != Democrat vs Republic (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942180)

Liberals are less about freedom and more about inacting change.
Conservatives are about keeping the status Quo.

The truth is we really need both sides. We do need change and we need a group to insure that we don't fix what isn't broken or the fix is worse then the problem.

A world of Conservatives would lead to a stagnet society where nothing will change.
A Liberal world New things will be tried all the time trying to fix any problem that comes up, even if it makes it worse.

Unfortnatly many old "liberals" have became consertive. So they are pushing the old Liberal Solution to new problems. And many of new "Consertives" have became liberal and trying to change everything for the better, following the Democrats/Republicans party lines for the solution to the problems.

Re:So what is liberal or conservative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942104)

To answer your questions:

So, is sexual impropriety liberal (Clinton) or conservative (Gingerich)?
Individual responsibility and accepting consequences for one's actions: conservative, while victim mentality ("alcohol/devil/racism/poverty made me do this") is liberal

How about economic activism (Greenspan)?
By government? Liberal

What about pro-war?
Most often correlates with sociopathy or mental illness

How about government hypervigilance against its own citizens?
Liberal (disbelief in individual responsibility and victim mentality)

How about abortion?
If meant as a belief that the Federal government has the right to decide (either way), then liberal. If you mean an act undertaken by an individual, then it's sociopathic (the way murder is, for example).

What about economic stimulus?
Via increased taxation and/or income re-distribution? Liberal.

How about WTO?
Supposed to be a non-partisan organisation. But "free trade" leans towards being a conservative idea. Regulated and restricted trade is a common trait of socialism, so more liberal.

Incentivising Registration? (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941598)

What do you offer to entice users to register and rank stories for you? It seems that the benefits just come from the people that do all the work, is your only incentive that the person feels good for helping you out? Do you rank your users? Is there a reward system even if it's only number of stories ranked?

The article said you are hoping to raise your current set of 600 users to something more like 10,000--what are you doing to accomplish that?

Re:Incentivising Registration? (1)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942296)

The article said you are hoping to raise your current set of 600 users to something more like 10,000--what are you doing to accomplish that?

Uh, posting a story on slashdot?

Why is everything about "bias"? (5, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941604)

Shouldn't just "being full of shit" count for anything? Why not just rate stories on their frequencies of lies, distortions, unsupported assertions, and factual inaccuracies?

That's what gives the impression of "bias" to a reader in the first place.

Re:Why is everything about "bias"? (4, Insightful)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941870)

I agree with your overall point, but there is a difference between lies and bias. Example:

Truth: Joe went to the store to buy milk.
Bias #1: Joe, once again being the dutiful husband, went to the store to get some milk.
Bias #2: Joe, once again leaving his wife home alone with the child, went to the store to get some milk.

See the difference?

Re:Why is everything about "bias"? (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942026)


Nice example. The obvious next questions are: who was he getting milk for and what did his wife feel about the matter? Of course, we find it difficult to ask follow up questions from the mass media. It's a broadcast, not a dialogue, and maybe it's that disenfranchisement that is at the root of the problem.

Re:Why is everything about "bias"? (4, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942092)

Came here to say that, more or less.

The problem I have with the term "bias" is that it's going to apply to any source of news and information that attempts to present some context, background, and interpretation into its reportage. The stripped, "unbiased" news merely reports what this or that political figure says, without any clue about where they're really coming from. When the media tries to do this, they not only fail to paint an accurate picture of what's going on, they often outright mislead.

Motivations are important in politics. If the authors of the "Clean Air Act" are actually backed by polluter interests, or if the "Patriot Act" actually does nothing but strip us of rights and liberties that real patriots fought and gave their lives for, then that case needs to be made. I've had enough of news media that constantly give disingenuous and manipulative politicians the benefit of the doubt by merely transcribing what they say, or allowing them to put their labels on things unchallenged. They're little more than PR agencies then.

Re:Why is everything about "bias"? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942126)

Fullofshit.com taken over by cybersquatters in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Why is everything about "bias"? (3, Informative)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942154)

Case in point:

skews.com has this article [breitbart.com] rated as "liberal" -- it looks to me like it's just the result of a (somewhat alarming) study on education. This article here [foxnews.com] appears to have been labeled "conservative" just because it came from Fox News.

Re:Why is everything about "bias"? (2, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942184)

Why not just rate stories on their frequencies of lies, distortions, unsupported assertions, and factual inaccuracies?

Problems:

- Lies of comission = stuff they just plain get wrong
- Lies of omission = stuff they deliberately leave out to tilt the story
- Bias-words; portraying the "facts" with a strong tilt or weasel words designed to push a positive/negative impression of something, like describing terrorists as "freedom fighters" or "insurgents" or "militants" instead, or running a story that twists and tilts with giving as little description to one side, while trying to give unneeded detail to the other ("20 Israeli citizens were injured or killed, while a Palestinian child 8 months old clutching a blankie and his grandmother...").

- Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics - hunt down a "statistic" that you claim supports your position. Usually accompanied by ignoring any other information/statistics that point the other way.
- Cherry-picked quoting - taking something out of context, or deliberately leaving out half a sentence to completely twist the meaning of a statement around.

And then after you get that out, there's the simple editorializing they always slip into their stuff (really, they can't help themselves), and the outright propaganda nonsense (such as Arabic news reports that use the wording "occupied palestine" to describe the nation of Israel).

Fake "Balance" (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941644)

What is the point of providing only two "balancing" stories with "liberal" vs "conservative" biases, when neither "liberal" nor "conservative" are labels with any real meaning except propaganda buzzwords, when the two illusory groups agree on so much but also mutually exclude so much not falling under their convenient labels, and when there are so many other viewpoints? A point other than validating the grossest oversimplification of the world since "right brain / left brain" dumbed down psychology to meaningless twaddle, that is.

And when one or the other is just wrong, why dignify them as "balance"? What's the point of balancing lies against truth?

Re:Fake "Balance" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22941896)

Liberal bias detected. Just kidding, don't hurt me Doc.

Jon Stewart's point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22941904)

That's was precisely Jon Stewart's point when he skewered the "Cross Fire" guys and called Carlson a "dick".

Here's mine: turn off all electronic media. All of it is distorting. It distorts the problems in the World by distilling the entire World's problems into your living room or computer and it all with little substance. Yes, I'm including most of the internet. No wonder folks are scared off their ass and handing over their Civil Liberties to be "safe". The World is a big bad ugly place - in the media's eyes.

Just look around your immediate state. Are things really that dangerous? Even you folks in New York. It's been only seven years since an attack. Do we really need a surveillance society.

Re:Jon Stewart's point. (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942276)

Stewart was right about fake duality being merely fake duopoly.

But "tuning out" is just a way to stay apathetic and uninformed, and therefore powerless. Stay tuned, but stay skeptical and independent. The world is indeed a big bad ugly place - and a big bad beautiful place, and a big nice ugly place, and a big nice beautiful place, and points between. We need everyone we can to stay connected. To each other, not just to a fake duopoly that really just divides us in two.

Why not many ratings? (2, Interesting)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941908)

Right now, I think the consensus on slashdot is that this website as described would not be worth a first visit. But maybe it could be made worthwhile.

Let me put forward my brother's idea, in conjunction to a reply to this post. First, the reply:

If liberal/conservative means bunk to you -- as it will to most slashdotters -- surely the same process could be applied to a different division that is important to you "high tech/low tech" "wicked/humble" or whatever you want.

You might not care about labeling something "left/right", but you might care about "true/false".

Surely the software that can handle lib/cons could handle other pairs as easily.

So you pick from a whole list of pairs, and if you don't see a pair you like, you create one. The rating from the pair then will also generate a definition straight from dictionary.com, so that anyone who rates based on that pair, will see what the definition is as they rate it.

Now, let me combine it with my brother's idea. You create your own ratings profile, rating articles as you see fit, and the site does its best to give you articles that you would like.

But you also tie into that ratings from friends of yours that you respect. So you can say "make my true/false rating reflect 40% from band_shark, 20% from the general pool, and 40% from slashdotters."

You've just re-invented tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942396)

So you pick from a whole list of pairs, and if you don't see a pair you like, you create one.
So you have binary conditions, e.g. liberal/conservative, true/false, etc. But this is already what we have with tags, isn't it? For example, if the story is tagged "liberal", we know it is "not conservative." Or if it is tagged "Xbox", we know it is not "not Xbox". So what you've "invented" is tags, only in a centralized location. Which, really, we had when companies like Yahoo were trying to make "website directories" way back when.

Re:Why not many ratings? (1)

lbgator (1208974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942424)

Your idea sounds a lot like the Netflix challenge.

Re:Fake "Balance" (1)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942068)

The truth is under no obligation to be "balanced". Rating media bias by tallying how many stories get linked from either side of the political spectrum pushes the media to aim for "balance" instead of the truth. If either side is more corrupt than the other, just report it truthfully. Don't tone the story down just because some jackbag declares that you're biased.

This quest for balance is the reason that news reporters interview people on both sides of the political spectrum, and when one side spouts things that are demonstrably false, the reporter doesn't call them on it. They don't want to look like they're tilted one way or the other. Tilt toward the goddamn truth.

</rant>

Re:Fake "Balance" (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942386)

Real journalism is supposed to use sources and evidence to find the facts, then understand what's happened/ing, and finally tell the story of the truth.

Instead, contemporary fake journalism is just gossip, finding different people to contradict each other, and never comparing any statements to any facts, measures or truth whatsoever. The current journalistic "fact" as reported is merely "X said Y", often leaving X anonymous and Y some buzzword generalization. Those statements are worth including in a report only as confirmation of some actual fact, not as the end fact in themselves.

But it's so cheap, easy and liability-free to produce and publish mere gossip, to never establish any conclusion but rather to perpetuate conflicts, that it's the vast bulk of reporting today. The corporate bottom line no longer has any use for real journalism, its costs and risks, or even its benefit of an informed populace.

All of which is why the Internet is much more important as a reporting medium. Because it's much more open, diverse, interactive, and available in archives. Because it's nearly trivial for any person to both link together existing content (including archived and new media) and to distribute it, whether large-scale on the Web or virally by direct messaging. That means the corporate bias against costs, risks, liabilities and just skepticism of corporatism is minimized. So the truth has a chance. So we have a chance to get it.

Which is why perpetuating the corporate mass media paradigm of "either liberal or conservative only" should find no takers on the Internet. We need analysis tools that are an accurate model of our multilateral, complex world. Not yet another oversimplified razor to cut it in half.

Re:Fake "Balance" (2, Insightful)

Stradivarius (7490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942388)

Demonstrable falsehoods are one thing. But more often it's not that simple. For example, there was a fascinating study [wisc.edu] about coverage of a massacre in Beirut, where the same news articles were viewed by both sides as biased towards the opposing point of view. Clearly the exact same article can't be biased in both one direction and its opposite, but yet both groups felt their point of view was being treated unfairly.

In other words, the two sides had completely different ideas of what constituted "the truth". That is a problem not with the news coverage, but with the audience.

Not only do people perceive things differently, but there it is well-known that people tend to discount information that disagrees with their previously formed opinions, especially when it comes to emotional subjects like politics (confirmation bias [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:Fake "Balance" (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942172)

And when one or the other is just wrong, why dignify them as "balance"?

Because as often as not both are wrong. Both parties parrot the "things that are bad about marijuana" when the things they say about it are either wrong ("causes cancer") or is a result of the laws themselves ("leads to harder drugs").

I wonder what the Green party's position on marijuana is? Too bad I can't find out what the Greens or Libertarians are for and against by reading a newspaper, or for that matter this new bugus piece of shit corporate propaganda site.

So what in general is the media. (4, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941668)

The Left say the media is to Right.
The Right say the media is to Left.

How do you prevent your own views from skewing the results. Because someone who is Left or Right of Moderate would consider themselfs a moderate, while they are not truely moderate. So they would True Moderate coverage as Slightly to the Left or Right.

Accounting for Regional Disparity (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941670)

I listen to a lot of NPR news stories and the majority of my fellow Americans find these stories to be tilting to the left. I see them as unbiased an, as a result, am often labeled a liberal. How do you plan on dealing with different countries that have populaces with different mindsets? For example you cover stories on abortion and in some countries this is legal at any stage and others it is not. I would expect the citizens of a country where it is illegal to view any story allowing it in only the first trimester to be very liberal while in the USA that may be viewed as a more balanced middle ground. Do you cater (inadvertently or on purpose) to one single population/area/demographic?

Re:Accounting for Regional Disparity (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941914)

I listen to NPR myself and I find it the best place to get news. But it does have a Left Slant to it. Often when something goes right it the credit is given to a Democratic Senitor, when something goes wrong it is label Enacted by the Bush Administration (Even though that bill may have been passed by a democratic majority congress). When interviewing the Democrats they are less confrontational about the issues. It is no where as bad as Fox news but if you listen carefully to NPR and the wording and inflections in the voice they use to describe things The Democrats are more favorable then the republicans. As well their choice of stories to cover... The plight of Unions, Solders with PTSD and the problems getting funding, When the War was going bad there was a lot of coverage, when it goes good there is nothing but a whisper. There is daily going ons what happens with Clinton and Obama but perhaps a story a week about McCain. NPR is fairly Moderate so moderate that the Station who Hosts it thinks it is being controled by the republicans (granted the owner the public radio station is extreamly Left wing, even though it doesn't realize it) But if it will slant to the left.

Re:Accounting for Regional Disparity (2, Informative)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942222)

NPR only has a left slant to it if you have an American notion of the left/right spectrum, and if you ignore the show "Marketplace", which often displays a market-fundamentalism that would make Ludwing von Mises blush.

Also, most public radio stations buy shows from a variety of sources, not all of which are NPR. American Public Media is another producer of public radio content, and is often chosen by public stations with more conservative demographics.

Re:Accounting for Regional Disparity (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942248)

Oh, tying together my two observations: Marketplace is actually an APM product.

Re:Accounting for Regional Disparity (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942234)

I'd take you more seriously if you didn't write like you were semi-literate, what with the perception of conservatives being less educated and all.

Re:Accounting for Regional Disparity (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942334)

I listen to a lot of NPR news stories and the majority of my fellow Americans find these stories to be tilting to the left. I see them as unbiased an, as a result, am often labeled a liberal.
I listen to NPR too. I'm libertarian-minded, so I consider myself fairly well able to discern liberal/conservative bias without my own biases getting in the way. NPR does a great job of covering stories reasonably and calmly. NPR doesn't sensationalize. This puts NPR a cut above most media outlets.

But just because NPR doesn't sensationalize stories doesn't mean NPR is unbiased. There is a slight liberal bias. It's not a Democratic bias, but it is a bias toward liberal ideas. That's OK though. It's not possible to have a completely neutral worldview. Every person and organization has a worldview.

On the balance, though, I'd say NPR is one of the best news sources available.

mainstream media(haha) unbuyassed? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22941674)

& when birds have radios installed in their butts, there'll be music in the air at all times. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Let your readers submit and rate stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22941710)

Yeah. No bias there.

Try MediaMatters.org for another view (-1, Flamebait)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941716)

This site keeps track of conservative lipfarts and propaganda. They have an RSS feed for the most rabid of liberals, although that might be an oxymoron. They're nice enough to cite chapter-and-verse when they believe there's been bias in a blog, media, or print story. Fun to watch.

How will you account for response bias? (5, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941728)

How will you keep the results from being biased by the responders? For instance, if you were to have more links to this from fox news than from other news outlets, you would get a large number of conservatives rating stories. In that instance, you would get a lot of people saying that right-leaning stories are more unbiased and more unbiased stories would be rated liberal. The opposite would be true too; if you get a lot of traffic from moveon.org, there's going to be a large number of people rating things as conservatively biased.

This effect could even arise from random fluctuations with a small enough response group, and unless this is controlled, your site could eventually be labelled as "conservative" or "liberal" which would discourage the opposite group from voting, possibly providing a feedback mechanism for bias.

How would you prevent this from happening while still allowing users to generate the results?

Self Selection = Inaccurate Data (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941740)

This will merely attract the obsessive ultra-right crusaders to dump "left wing bias" en masse on everything.

You want to test for political bias?

Examine the feeds themselves.
A - How often are left/right political figures treated negatively/positively, if so how harsh on a scale of 1 to 5, with 3 being neutral.
B - Whenever government programs/economic issues are covered, does the presentation favor talking points used more by right-wing or left-wing groups (supply side and dereg vs regulation, heavy corporate scrutiny/investigation,and pro labor)
C - Whenever news involves corporations, is the presentation more pro or anti corporate. Are corporate releases repeated verbatim without qualifiers or criticism. How soft or harsh are they on a scale of 1 to 5

now plot the individual data in bar graphs. A1-A5, B, etc.

There will be a real bias meter.

Re:Self Selection = Inaccurate Data (2, Informative)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941826)

This will merely attract the obsessive ultra-right crusaders to dump "left wing bias" en masse on everything.

Actually, a quick look at the site makes it look like the "far left kool-aid drinkers" (I think that's the right way to put it) are dumping "right wing bias" en masse on everything.

You are right, though. It's still not an accurate measure of bias. Some of the new stories appear to be filtered primarily by source rather than any particular bias. And some of the stories exist in the gray area, and don't have a really discernible bias.

Re:Self Selection = Inaccurate Data (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942054)

Actually, a quick look at the site makes it look like the "far left kool-aid drinkers" (I think that's the right way to put it) are dumping "right wing bias" en masse on everything.


that's because there is clear right wing bias on pretty much everything.

Fox news, along with many other well funded members of the ultra-conservative propaganda machine which has arisen since media deregulation allowed massive consolidation, foists biased reporting on real news--and often fraudulent or intellectually dishonest slander--into the mainstream media, pulling it to the right.

I won't even bother going into talk radio.

Singin' the Blews (0, Troll)

pbrooks100 (778828) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941754)

"The Newz is all bad, and I'm feelin' so sad, ain't got no x-Skewz, I got da biased blog Blews." Really. Whats up with these Web 2.0 type names? Ugh.

Re:Singin' the Blews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942056)

"The Newz is all bad, and I'm feelin' so sad, ain't got no x-Skewz, I got da biased blog Blews." Really. Whats up with these Web 2.0 type names? Ugh.
From your posting one could assume they are singing the "Blews".

Re:Singin' the Blews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942242)

Troll? Some moderator obviously suffering from ignorance of the Blues. [wikipedia.org] The parent is obviously not ignorant in that regard. Even the out of quotes line might be expected at a jam session where the parties were familiar with both subjects.

Singin' the Blews (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942302)

I'm sorry, it's all my fault. I started it in 1998 when my Quake site (the Springfield Frag Fest) reported "nooze" which was news obtained from other channels (no real reporting) and often was inaccurate, biased, or just plain made up out of whole cloth bullshit (like Nacho's shambler pissing on the couch).

I apologize. Really. I was just trying to be different and everybody seems to have followed. For penance I now spell "blog" as "blagh".

-mcgrew

PS- the round corners are NOT my fault! That was a different asshat.

Misleading (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941772)

The whole idea of having conservative vs liberal division is very misleading.

In reality there are at least two divisions - along economical and political lines.

For examples, majority of blacks are socially conservative and economically "liberal" (democratic).

Muslims (I am being one of them) are socially conservative and economically they I believe fill quite wide spectrum: from libertarians to socialists.

Re:Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942112)

"For examples, majority of blacks are socially conservative and economically "liberal" (democratic)."

You mean all those "baby mommas" and dads with 7 kids by 11 different mothers are socially conservative?

Or am I racist for bringing up a problem in the so-called "socially conservative" black community? And does that make Bill Cosby racist for bringing it up too?

Cultural polarization as a web service (1)

Tsar (536185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941782)

What filters will be available in the future? Will users be able to limit the stories they see to those rated, say, (+4,Reactionary) or above? That would allow your portal to emulate the Drudge Report, the Daily Kos or the John Birch Society homepage at the user's whim, removing the risk of accidental exposure to differing viewpoints.

Missing sliders (4, Insightful)

Tsar (536185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941838)

From your site's What is Skewz? [skewz.com] section:

Skewz was started by a group of 4 guys with diverse political views who engaged in frequent political sparring. We tired of the coarseness of the public political dialog and the tendency for both sides to talk past each other. The goal was not to make peace between liberals and conservatives. Instead, we wanted to encourage liberal-conservative dialogue by improving on the intelligence and thoughtfulness of the discussions. We hoped that doing so would take focus from the cosmetic appeal of parties and personalities that generate allegiances and place it instead on wit and wisdom of intelligent debate.
It seems that your site's focus is currently on cultural/political bias rather than the "wit and wisdom of intelligent debate." If your project is to be true to its goals, shouldn't there be evaluation sliders for an article's wit, insight, wisdom and informativeness? We use a simplified system for that on Slashdot and it works surprisingly well most of the time.

Re:Missing sliders (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942322)

Skewz was started by a group of 4 guys with diverse political views who engaged in frequent political sparring

I think that was a typo, shouldn't it read "frequent political spamming"?

Skewz me? (3, Informative)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941854)

Skews makes no sense. Take this article as an example:

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=080401184532.kxjxy7xo&show_article=1 [breitbart.com]

It's an AFP wire story with completely straight, factual reporting about high school graduation rates in the USA. There is no commentary from the author whatsoever. However Skewz users rate the story as "Liberal", giving it 2.5 out of 5 points on the Liberal scale. I'm having a hard time seeing the logic there. How can a purely factual report on this topic possibly be considered leftist?

Re:Skewz me? (2, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942316)

How can a purely factual report on this topic possibly be considered leftist?
The facts have a well known liberal bias.

Re:Skewz me? (0, Flamebait)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942350)

Because it has a "victimization" slant to it. Technically, I would give it a neutral rating. But, if it had something to do with blacks or hispanics not getting enough attention in school, it would be liberal without question.

Because the facts have a well known liberal bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942352)

as we all know

Re:Skewz me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942394)

Its because of the picture...
non-whites, *graduating* ?
obviously liberal.

Whats the point of this? There are no unbiased observers, you need a good understanding of both sides of an issue before you can honestly rate a piece of information as skewed to one side or the other. People who agree with a viewpoint will rate it as unbiased and people who don't will rate it skewed to the other side. If you made it a blind test by removing the names of the news sources and forcing users to actually read the piece you might get better data, but for the most part people are just going to come and rate everything Huffpost and Dkos says liberal and Fox News and LGF conservative, its a popularity contest. Congrats, you've created Hot or Not for politics... now we just need to see which side can send more minions to you site and we will then have solved the problem of bias in the media.

Easier Way (1)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941858)

Just look at the color of the theme! Republican Red, Democrat Blue! Now, since Slashdot's 'main' theme is green, they're Green Party! Man this is easy.

Complaints? (1, Interesting)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941876)

Have you ever gotten complaints from actual journalists about how their stories are rated? I think one thing that we rarely - if ever - hear is how actual journalists rate the news. I'm not talking pundits, either, I'm talking about those who are supposed to report on the who-what-when-where-how of the news.

Cue "Progressive" Sniveling in 3. . . 2. . . 1. . (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22941880)

Go at it, SlashFags.

Ironic? Dontcha think? (2, Interesting)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#22941936)

Given that you aren't American, why should I listen to you or your site's take on American news and politics? Would someone in Mumbai honestly care about how Americans view their politics and news media?

Re:Ironic? Dontcha think? (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942146)

A couple reasons...

1. American's news and, especially it's politics, affect many more people than just Americans. We're not in a bubble.
2. While the world still has physical countries, that distinction is not so cut and dry anymore - especially where the internet is concerned. Right now you're talking with people from countries all over the world. That does not make their opinion any more or less valuable.

And, of course...what's wrong with someone in another country being interested in our country? I don't get that mindset at all. Is it wrong for an American to be interested a foreign country?

Re:Ironic? Dontcha think? (1)

Tempest451 (791438) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942168)

Well seeing as how media in Mumbai is govenment-controlled, they probably wouldn't care. That is until those political views lead to the US invading their country.

Media Bias (1)

darkshadow (102598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942000)

Bias is also shown in what gets chosen as newsworthy and what is not reported.

What about consensus? (2, Funny)

prxp (1023979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942012)

What about when both parties reach a consensus and the story ranks 100% liberal and 100% conservative? Does the system explode? Is this a new sort of Quantum Computer? Enlighten me, please! (but hey, be fair and balanced, will you?)

Questions for the bias-detection-opposed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942284)

1. Let's postulate that the work that is expected of a journalist is to present situations with evenhandedness (especially when it comes to forward-looking and current events with fuzzy delineations). You may wish to challenge that assumption, but I would believe the majority of the population would feel and expect it should be so and be surprised and interested to hear when it is shown not to.

If you say that it's okay for a journalist to "fight his or her case" with language bias etc - why does this not apply to any other employee group in society? Why cannot, say, a bank employee, promote their political sense of right and wrong by denying someone a loan because they feel his politics are bad? Why can't a plumber charge someone extra if they know they are a member of party X?

Effectively, if a journalistic right to bias is simply the right to express your preferences, and this includes giving a tougher deal for certain people, why isn't that right shared with any other job group?

2. Let's consider minority group X and how it is portrayed in any given communication. It is my impression that there is a strong overlap between those who speak the loudest and most often about protecting minorities, and those who speak the loudest and most often in disfavor of action being taken about press bias if it does exist, hence I feel the question may be appropriately targeted.

You may well agree that discrimination and disenfranchisement for group X may come through in communications in very subtle ways. In other words you would likely reject that discrimination is only discrimination if it comes through in explicit and strong wording, and rather say that people can use discriminating wording through very subtle methods, just by the words chosen, sentence structure, tone of voice, etc. In this case you will likely also say that a detection method for discrimination cannot rely just on detecting blatant examples of discriminatory wording, but must also detect and assign equal weights to these subtle forms.

In this case however, why would you be opposed to similar analysis of subtle clues and sentence structures in journalistic productions? For example, if the body language of a night club bouncer may be detected to be discriminatory, why cannot the body language of a journalist be examined for bias?

Relativist Warning Signs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22942288)

Skewz relies on readers to submit and rate stories, and even tries to pair stories that have "liberal" and "conservative" biases so that you can get multiple takes on the same event or pronouncement.

It sounds like you think that getting multiple views on an event is a good thing. There is one reality. I think it funny that we accept bias as par for the course, don't you?

Truth, and the real bias we need to worry about (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22942448)

It seems that the news media has become increasingly segmented, and indeed this provides a way for people to get only the news they want to see. But my issue stems not from Left or Right, but from a more general perspective. An increasing bulk of the news out there is increasingly aimed at the Lowest Common Denominator. I can see that there is a place for tabloids, and their stories, just like there is a place for soap operas. However, it seems that the tabloid mentality has infiltrated all facets of corporate news media. Instead of raising debate about policy, the dialog in most mainstream news outlets has become more along the lines of "OMG, Hillary is 2 points down! And she doesn't have as many myspace friends as Obama! And McCain is super hot!". I propose that what we need is not a "Left vs. Right" filter, but a "Pointless drivel I wouldn't read if it was printed on Lindsay Lohan's ass and I was doin her from behind vs. Actual News Content which I might find of Value".
I gave your site a quick look, there were 3 stories on the front page which might have entailed some sort of policy issue, or problem facing the electorate.
A) UK considering "Health Vouchers" for NHS patients.(marked conservative)
B)Study: only 1/2 of students graduate high school in US Cities (marked liberal)
C)'Silent' Famine sweeps globe (marked liberal)
Everything else was the "high school lunchroom" type of discussion, who's up, who's down, why they might be up if they are up, why they shouldn't give up and "rah rah sis boom bah for My Favorite Candidate". My question is this, how can we elevate actual issues to the discussion? How can we start a dialog based on the problems we face, and the policy which the candidates propose to fix these problems? Food shortages, Education, and Health care are real issues. The day to day of campaigning is interesting for sure, but how can we keep it from dominating the news landscape as it does now?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?