Allsides is promoting false equivalence

I came across someone linking this on Twitter, claiming that people should make sure to get a balanced media diet, based on the categories they have places media in.

Bad overview of media bias

I think you have to be fairly rightwinged to think this is a fair representation of the media landscape in the US. Most of the news sources mentioned in “Lean Right” should be in the “Right” column, most of the “Lean Left” and even “Left” should be “Center”.

AllSides claim that the analysis is scientific, but when you read their description, you realize that they are anything but scientific, but entirely dependent on self-assessment and group evaluations, without clear definitions.

Rather than being a fair rating of news sources,  this is probably an attempt to normalize right-winged media, claiming that they are as close to the center as major mainstream news sources like New York Times and the Economist.

My suggestion for a balanced and mostly true news media, is to look at the Left, Lean Left, and Center columns, and make sure to read from several sources there. Then look at the Lean Right and Right columns, and make sure to avoid those sources.




  1. KG says

    It’s utterly bizarre to categorise The Economist as left-leaning; it’s a bastion of “free market” ideology. But it doesn’t deliberately and routinely lie about simple and readily verifiable matters of fact, so I suppose that accounts for its placement.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Typo in headline.

    We shouldn’t be too rigid in what we rule out – f’rinstance, when digging around trying to find which senators had voted how in overriding Trump’s defense bill veto, I (a leftie) went to a Daily Caller link with fair confidence that they’d get the names right if they had them (they didn’t).

    A little later, I followed an FtB link to a Wikipffft link to the deplorable NY Post, and gleaned enough there to comprise a comment.

    But I agree: that categorization clearly represents a rightist perspective.

  3. says

    Yeah KG, the idea of calling The Economist left-leaning is so utterly bizarre that I was completely puzzled. It is decidedly right-leaning by European standards.

  4. blf says

    Just as Information, There’s the Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart, which basically tries to plot Quality (or Reliability) against Partisan Bias, and explains the methodology used. The link goes to all the extant versions of the chart at the site. It’s gotten more complex and harder to understand over time, but the early versions (at the bottom of the linked-to page) are fairly straightforward.

  5. John Morales says

    I find the left/right divide misleadingly simplistic.
    Obviously, stances are multi-dimensional.

    And, of course, ‘media’ includes opinion, whereas ‘news’ is supposed to be actual reporting. So that conflation just confuses things even more.

    (Also, does the source categorise itself? 😉 )