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Identifying Bias

Political Spectrum

The political spectrum is separate from political parties because politics includes issues of social life, culture, economy, ideologies, law, and more. People generally don't identify entirely one way or another because there are so many issues and perspectives. The political spectrum is usually described in terms of wings: left wing, center or moderate, and right wing.


Political Parties in the US

This list is not comprehensive since political ideology is a vast spectrum. However, these are the main political parties in the United States:

  • Democratic Party - Founded in 1828
  • Republican Party - Founded in 1854
  • Libertarian Party - Founded in 1971
  • Green Party - Founded in 1991

Politics in Periodicals

Sources of information may contain bias -- especially political bias. Media can be geared towards one wing or another to meet the ideologies of their readers. Professional journalists and reporters try to adhere to journalistic objectivity where they present the facts and allow the reader to decide. However, even in non-partisan periodicals and scholarly journals you can find opinion and bias. Identifying bias will help you determine if a source is appropriate to use. If the article content is objective and cites factual evidence, it may be a good source even if the publication leans one way or another on the political spectrum.

The following list of resources is not intended to be comprehensive. Do your research to determine if a source leans one way or another.

Liberal/Left/Progressive Leaning Non-partisan/Moderate Conservative/Right Leaning
The Boston Globe (newspaper) Christian Science Monitor (newspaper) New York Post (newspaper)
Los Angeles Times (newspaper) Chronicle of Higher Education (newspaper) Wall Street Journal (newspaper)
New York Times (newspaper) Newsweek (magazine) Washington Times (newspaper)
Washington Post (newspaper) Time (magazine) The American Spectator (magazine)
The American Prospect (magazine) U.S. News & World Report (magazine) National Review (magazine)
Mother Jones (magazine) Business Week (magazine) The New American (magazine)
The Nation (magazine) The Economist (magazine) The Weekly Standard (magazine)
Politics and Society (journal) Public Opinion Quarterly (journal) The National Interest (magazine)
Science and Society (journal) The Washington Quarterly (journal) Heritage Foundation (policy think tank)
Center for American Progress (policy think tank) Brookings Institution (policy think tank)  Manhattan Institute (policy think tank)

Politics on TV & Radio

Liberal Nonpartisan Conservative
MSNBC (television) NPR (radio) FOX News (television)
CNN (television) PBS News Hour (television) NewsMax (television)
The Stephanie Miller Show (radio)   Glenn Beck Talk Radio (radio)


Alternative Media

Mainstream media encompass the outlets familiar to most people -- ABC, CNN, NPR, FOX, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, etc. However, even before the internet, there are alternate presses and media outlets spanning the entire political spectrum focused on special interests. Keep in mind that these sources can provide insight on a topic, but can be heavily subjective.