There is no question that the media plays an important role in our political system. For most Americans, the mass media, particularly television, is the most important source of political information. Because of this, the news media has attracted significant attention from scholars of politics and communications, politicians and journalists themselves. Frequently, this attention has come in the form of criticisms of how the media presents the news. The media has been criticized for bias in terms of ideological or partisan bias, as well as bias towards coverage that is overly negative, lacking in substance, and driven by crisis. Ideologically speaking, charges of liberal bias are probably the most frequently heard, but many liberals believe that news coverage contains a lot of conservative bias as well.

Begin by reading this link ( ) on how to be a critical consumer of media. Then read this link on media bias ( )

After completing these readings visit the next two sites:

Read the link for The Media Research Center ( ) is a conservative organization that maintains that media coverage is biased toward the left.
Read the link for The group, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, ( ) is a liberal watchdog group that holds the opposite opinion. Read what these sites have to offer (briefings, reports, etc.)
Answer the following questions about what you have read:

1. Summarize two briefings or reports from the Media Research Center related to media bias. Explain how the MRC finds the coverage discussed to be biased.
2. Summarize two briefings or reports from FAIR related to media bias. How does FAIR find the coverage discussed to be biased.
3. Do you find that one side (Media Research or FAIR) had a more convincing argument that the media is strongly biased toward one side or the other? Explain.
Now that you’re read about how to be a critical consumer of media and about media bias, do some reading of the mainstream media. Examine at least four articles on American politics in recent issues of at least two of major U.S. newspapers (2 articles from each paper): The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal or The Washington Times. Provide a citation for the articles you read in APA format. Read these 4 links

4. Briefly summarize the articles that you chose. How well did they pass the SMELL test described by James McManus? Give specific examples.
5. Did any of the articles that you read seem to favor one viewpoint or political party over another? Why or why not? Illustrate with specific examples of bias or lack of it