two papers report on the perception of bias in news media & the sharing of fake news on twitter. while people are biased & rapidly share fake news, bias can be reduced & people also share fake news corrections  

original articles: Litovsky, 2021 (Public Library of Science ONE), Murayama et al., 2021 (Public Library of Science ONE),

this story was in episode 12 #fakenews #twitter #bias #hostile #media

the error bar says

two other reports in the same journal PLoS ONE - which is always a good source of intellectual entertainment - address the perception of bias in printed news media & the spread of fake news on twitter

the first paper introduced me to the concept of the Hostile Media Effect - where people who already hold strong views on an issue perceive bias in neutral media reports

two fascinating aspects are that the effect is stronger when people believe the news has a larger audience & when the author is thought to be a journalist - the same stories presented as a student essay are judged as less biased by the same readers

in the new paper, the author gave two groups of people a story about the Israel-Palestine situation. one group was first asked to assess whether the details of the story were biased; the second was first asked to assess whether the overall story was biased

asking people to focus on whether the details were biased first reduced the overall perception of bias - top tip!

the second paper used mathematical methods to study the spread of fake news on Twitter. the authors argue for a dual-process model, where the first wave of misinformation is later caught by a second wave of correction

is news biased in print & fake online?

no, that was just my headline - you can ignore that

the first paper, by Litovsky, contains a rich introduction to the topic. for example: meta-analyses assessing US news media in 2000 & again in 2020 found little evidence for explicit bias

the Hostile Media Effect is in the eye of the beholder, so it follows that if readers & viewers become more partisan, they will perceive more bias in the traditional news media. Litovsky writes:

"a partisan's fear of the media's ability to persuade a neutral audience in the "wrong" direction on a vital topic is one of the main considerations driving their misperception of hostile bias. a recent poll shows that Americans are much more concerned about bias in the news other people are getting (69%) than about their own news being biased (29%)"

to criticise Litovsky, the Results section is far too long, the data are poorly analysed & there are no error bars on the charts - tut tut. but the effects do seem strong

as for the second article, i just saw a lot of equations & everything went a bit blurry


no. most news is fair