How To Get Truly “Fair And Balanced” News:

Theo Meale, Journalist

I’m writing this article in response to the struggle by many to avoid being “brainwashed” by partisan media outlets. Politicians on both sides of the aisle often engage in finger pointing at the “unfair media”- claiming that it attempts to help the other side of the aisle. I have created a formula by which I- and I suggest my readers- use to read and watch news which will expose us to both sides of political issues.

Below is the chart I will be referencing to throughout the article:

Fight Fake news. Know who is reputable.

Assume that a source perfectly on the “mainstream” dotted line would receive a score of 0. A source on the border between “mainstream” and “skews liberal” would receive a score of -5 (a left leaning score is negative), then on the border between “skews liberal” and “hyper-partisan liberal” scores -15, then -25 for the next border, then -35 is the most liberal score (and use the same logic with positive scores on the right side of the chart).

Pick your most frequently read or watched sources- as many sources as you read or watch multiple times a week. Then try to estimate the scores as I did for my most read media outlets below:

Washington Post: -3
New York Times: -4
Huffington Post: -19
MSNBC: -13
CNN: -1
The Hill: +10

After picking your sources, add all of the sources scores together, then average all of the scores for your net media score. My example is below:

-3-4-19-13-1+10 =-30
-30/6 scores= -5

My net score is -5, which means that my overall media consumption just skews liberal but is still reputable. After making this calculation, in order to ensure my media consumption is more balanced, I will make a plan to stop reading (or read less of) the Huffington Post, and read more of NPR.
This is how eliminating the Huffington Post (-19) and adding NPR (+2) to my media consumption changes my score.

-3-4-13-1+2+10= -3
-3/6 sources= -0.5

A net score of-0.5 would indicate that my overall media consumption is very slightly, if at all, liberal.

I recognize that this formula is not perfect as it assumes the chart is perfect and doesn’t at all account for the level of depth of each source- but I also believe that the formula is a simplified way of ensuring that you keep your media consumption as centrist as possible. Enjoy experimenting!to