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Detecting Bias

This is a tool to assist you in determining what bias or leanings a magazine or newspaper may have.

Leanings of Magazines, Newspapers

When reading articles from various magazines and newspapers, you will sometimes notice a trend in the types of articles/subjects featured, the writing style of the authors, or the opinions in the editorials. Many periodicals have a general "slant" in one political direction or another. Some are outright and others are more subtle. An awareness of this is valuable when you select the sources for your research.  

Here is a list of magazines and newspapers showing their leanings or emphases.  This list was taken, with permission from Micca Gray, from her Santa Rosa Junior College Library LibGuide,  Project Censored 2013.  Annotations have been made in brackets.

CURRENT EVENTS AND OPINION PERIODICALS: Emphases And Biases

America.  Although sponsored by the Jesuits, this periodical shows no religious bias. Covers contemporary social, ethical and political questions.

American Legion.  Provides coverage on topics reflecting a broad spectrum of issues. Conservative.

American Spectator.  Articles focus on issues of concern to both traditional conservatives and neoconservatives.

Animals Agenda.  Devoted to articles written from the animal rights perspective.

Atlantic.  Contains consistently well-written articles on a variety of topics.  Liberal.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  Experts address the “political, ethical and social aspects of nuclear science.”

Christian Century.  Presents “a voice of responsible liberal religious views, inclusive of Christian as well as non-Christian.”

[Christian Science Monitor.  Viewed as either center or liberal, depending on the source.]

Christianity Today.  Presents the conservative Protestant Christian point of view on current political and social issues.

Chronicle of Higher Education.  Provides the most complete coverage of the world of higher education in America. 

Commentary.  Sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, this outstanding periodical is a “strategic forum for policy debate on a critical range of issues.”  Neoconservative.

Commonweal.  Although this is a Catholic periodical most articles are nonsectarian and liberal in point of view.

Congressional Digest.  Each issue is devoted to the pros and cons of one topic of debate in Congress.

Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report.  Provides thorough, objective reports on developments in politics and government.

Conservative Chronicle.  A reprint periodical which features some of the best syndicated conservative opinion and commentary. 

CQ Researcher.  Each detailed 6000 word report objectively covers a current topic of interest.  This is a good source to help a student select a topic for research.  The “At Issue” column covers pros and cons of controversial issues.  Bound volumes contain a ten-year index. Also available online.

Current.  An unbiased reprint periodical which selects articles for originality and relevancy from over 600 publications each month.

Current History Each issue of this journal of contemporary world affairs targets for discussion a single country, region or continent. 

Daedalus.  Each issue of this publication of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is devoted to a theme relevant to contemporary American society. Available in Student Resource Center database.

E Magazine.  An independent periodical with articles on a wide range of environmental topics. 

Economist.  An outstanding British newsmagazine which covers economic conditions, current events and politics around the world. Conservative.

Environment.  Covers environmental problems and solutions. 

Foreign Affairs.  Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations this prestigious periodical presents divergent views on foreign policy issues. 

Foreign Policy.  Published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a typical issue contains about a dozen articles on American foreign policy and international relations. 

Futurist.  Published by a nonprofit, nonpolitical society, each issue contains provocative articles dealing with all aspects of the future. 

Governing.  Published by Congressional Quarterly, each issue focuses on state, local, and intergovernmental problems and issues. 

Harper's.  Liberal opinion magazine with commentary on contemporary politics, culture and society.

Humanist.  Focuses on social and moral issues from the humanist viewpoint. Articles are thought-provoking and sometimes controversial.  Liberal.

Issues and Controversies on File.  This digest of news analysis and background information provides an objective presentation of current issues and controversies. Available in Facts.com database.

Maclean's.  Similar to newsweeklies in the United States, this magazine reports the news from a Canadian perspective.

Mother Jones.  A readable and provocative magazine, supporting social and political reform from a left-of-center perspective.

Nation.  Features some of the best left-of-center writers of this country.  Articles cover social and political issues. 

National Interest.  Readable, provocative foreign policy periodical.  Neoconservative.

National Review.  The best conservative periodical in the U.S. today.

New American.  The voice of the John Birch Society, this magazine offers a right-of-center view of the world.  [Not indexed]

New Leader.  This bi-weekly newsmagazine offers a variety of opinions and reviews.  Liberal.

New Perspectives Quarterly.  A multidisciplinary, transnational forum of ideas treated with originality, insight, and depth.

New Republic.  One of the best sources of political commentary.  Neoliberal. 

New York Review of Books.  Excellent source of commentary on new books and the ideas they contain.  Liberal.

Newsweek.  One of the three major news weeklies published in the United States, this magazine covers domestic and world affairs from a middle-of-the-road perspective.

Policy Review.  A major forum for conservative debate on the major political issues of our time.

Progressive.  Award-winning, highly acclaimed left-of-center periodical.

Society.  Prominent authors write on social science and public policy.  Focus is on the U.S.  Available in Sociological Collection database.

Texas Observer.  Features investigative reports on social and political issues in Texas. Liberal. 

Time.  Similar in content and format to the two other major U. S. newsmagazines, this periodical covers the news from a centrist point of view. [NOTE: Others label Time liberal or leftist.]

USA Today.  Excellent objective news magazine.

U. S. News & World Report.  One of the three major newsweeklies published in the United States, this magazine tends to focus on the practical issues associated with current events.  Moderately conservative.

Utne Reader.  Each issue contains 10-15 articles reprinted from mainstream and alternative presses.

Vital Speeches of the Day.  Each issue contains reprints of 8-10 speeches on vital issues given by leaders of public opinion.

Washington Monthly.  Articles cover controversial issues and the Washington political scene.  Neoliberal.

World Press Review.  Contains feature stories from foreign newspapers and magazines. Useful for presenting foreign perspectives on U.S. events.

Other Assessments of Newspaper and Magazine Bias

You can look at other lists to find additional titles of magazines and newspapers and to compare the "labeling" on a particular one. You will frequently notice differences!

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