Week 3: Bias

Graffiti Street Art Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures


Activity 1: What is a bias?

How would you explain it to a friend? If you are not sure, google it.

Activity 2: Watch a clip on bias.

Watch this New York Times clip titled “Who, Me? Biased?” How would you “audit” yourself for bias?

Activity 3: Read article on bias.

Read an article on bias by the economist Richard Heilbroner. Since this article is not in public domain, please go to Blackboard/ Extra materials to access it. You can also see it here: this is a copy of when it first appeared in 1961, and a bit hard to read, but still interesting to see. This article first appeared in IBM’s Think Magazine in 1961 and was then published in Reader’s Digest in 1962. Please note that I requested a pdf of the article through ILL, BMCC’s Inter Library Loan, where you, too, can request access to articles and books at no cost to you.

Activity 4: 24 biases

Here is a poster of 24 biases. Do you think this is a lot? There are more, actually. Please review all the biases here. No need to memorize them all–but the next several activities will give you a chance to process this material a bit more and to zoom in on a few biases. B

Activity 5: Bias quiz in class.

Take the bias quiz. I suggest you keep the poster of biases open during the quiz. This will help you answer the questions and master this modules concepts.

Activity 6: Watch a video on media bias.

Watch this 5-minute video on Media Bias. How does social media shape your political opinions?

Activity 7: Explore All Sides.

Visit AllSides, which “provides you a balanced view in an effort to combat misinformation and manipulation.” Select a topic from the news section. Read the coverage about this topic from 3 points of view: from the left, from the center and from the right. Take notes: how are the stories similar and how are they different?

writing hand
by Dawn Hudson, under Public Domain license

Activity 8/ Conversation 3

You now have 3 articles about your topic, either from AllSides or from CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. 

Your enormous reply: What is the story/ event? What facts were included in all three stories? Was there one news source that contained facts the other two did not? Why might that be? What did you notice about the language/word choice? Was there leading or subjective language to favor one point of view over another? Can you detect any examples of bias? Explain. 

Replies to classmates: do you agree, disagree, somewhere in between? Other comments on decoding bias? 

Alternatively, you can explore CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, find a topic/ event covered by all 3 networks, and read it from those 3 points of view.

Activity 9: New York Cares Orientation

Make a difference with New York Cares: Take the orientation and research volunteering opportunities you might be interested in.

Additional and Optional Resources: this is an inspiring talk on how to interrupt the bias around us.