New App Measures News Bias

I wonder how Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network news would rate on this? A new app takes the labor out of counting word use on network news. From Reuters, today…

Ever wanted to know how biased Fox News and CNN really are? A new OS X app called News Mapper helps you to find out by making the program of both cable news networks real-time searchable. Users can, for example, search for uses of politically charged vocabulary like Obamacare or mentions of embattled media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and the app displays the frequency with which each word was mentioned in a graph that gets updated in real time as the news coverage continues.

Users can then click on the time line and browse small snippets of transcripts from each network, revealing the context in which a word was used. News Mapper even generates tag clouds for the most commonly mentioned words on CNN and Fox News.

Bias is quantifiable, this app will appeal to news junkies and generate many colorful charts and graphs to illuminate blogs. Cool.

But where is it? I found News Map which is colorful and looks like fun. I’ll have to find a kid to explain all this to me.

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4 responses

  1. Reuters?The photshop capital of the media?memories are awfully short.

  2. Though a few signs of bias can be measured (e.g. all the GOP Presidential possiblities given programs and air time on Fox) I have little confdence in quantitative approaches. Some consider the word “entitlement” a slanted term for social security/medicare for example. Is it?? Some see bias in the description “militant” instead of “terrorist” when some Gazan fires a rocket into Israel or the other way round. Some see Islamophcbia (anti-Islam bias) in extensive reporting on the Ft Hood shooter. Others don’t.

    I don’t see how to quantitaviely measure bias in the way te deficit has become the big media issue under Obama while it was mostly ignored when W Bush turned Clinton’s surplus into big deficits. Growing income inequality is ignroed as an issue all along. Or the way so much news, especially on npr, is presented from the point of view of investors, so little from labor. Or the way the media is mostly so silent on global cimate change in relation to the heat waves. Souds like bias to me, but others won;t agree. Can’t be measured quantitively, its in the eye of the beholder.

    1. You can’t quantify anything where opinion forms an essential element.
      What can be quantified is measurements of empirical facts,like how many walnuts a tree produces in a given season.
      Human behavior is so variable and complex and affected by so many outside influences that it is a hopeless job to put numbers on it.
      Even the most “evenhanded”news reporting is shaded by the reporter’s/editor’s ingrained biases.
      Having a bias is natural,not necessarliy good or bad.
      I have a bias against cheese that smells like a rotting corpse.
      Other people wolf it down.Good?Bad?Or just a preference?
      OTOH I really like Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern because he tries things in the context of introducing the viewer to other societies and places.
      I can’t imagine watching Hoarders.

  3. That’s why it’s good to have a diversity of news sources.

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