General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Do you know of a US news source that is nearly consistently neutral, politically?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) December 30th, 2014

I would like to find one or two news feeds that I could depend on to present the facts, without an unfailingly Democratic or Republican slant.

I pretty much refuse to open Huffington Post and Fox News stories unless I think it’s a really serious story. Then I’ll open them to see the poles in order to guide me toward the equator.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

55 Answers

dxs's avatar

I’ve heard Al Jazeera USA is pretty unbiased. I can’t testify to that, though.

zenvelo's avatar

@dxs beat me to it- Al Jazeera is pretty neutral and un biased.

BBC World News is too. But I don’t know of any domestic news service that isn’t biased. AP tries to be, but even then their coverage is biased.

JLeslie's avatar

My parents like Al Jazeera.

I still think Morning Joe is one of the most balanced political shows. It’s on MSNBC which has some extremely left leaning shows, but Morning Joe in my opinion wants to hear all sides, cares about the truth, and doesn’t like cross talk yelling and screaming, but rather has guests on who get a long spot to discuss their points of view.

Edit: I don’t consider Morning Joe to be a “news” show in the strict sense of the word.

CWOTUS's avatar

US News and World Report has always seemed to be fairly unbiased, as does the Christian Science Monitor, and the Wall Street Journal’s news is pretty fair.

jerv's avatar

If you want an objective view, you must be on the outside looking in. That is why I trust BBC News over anything from here in the states.

Silence04's avatar

Al Jazeera
RT
Skynews

johnpowell's avatar

Al Jazeera English is one of my main sites when shit is going down. Unfortunately, their English News Stream is no longer available in the United States. For major breaking stuff I use a Canadian proxy where it does work to watch.

I have never seen a guest on Al Jazeera English ask if a missing plane was due to a black hole and be taken seriously.

janbb's avatar

A magazine called “The Week” presents a weekly digest of the news with quotes from sources with different opinions on each story.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@janbb – The Week has no depth at all. It’s just a paragraph or two. I subscribed to it once, and dropped it, because it was so poor.

Darth_Algar's avatar

As far as domestic sources the Christian Science Monitor is probably your best bet as far as I’m aware.

janbb's avatar

@elbanditoroso I read The New York Times daily but enjoy The Week as a supplement for stories I missed. I also listen to NPR a lot.

Vincentt's avatar

It’s good to keep in mind that, for a journalist, it’s impossible to be neutral, simply because **there are no neutral terms for a lot of things**.

For example, some people could be termed “terrorist” or they could be called “freedom fighters”—neither term is neutral, but there is no other way of saying it. In other words: the journalist has to make a choice about the perspective it should be reported from.

Add to that that the information fed to a journalist is also often biased, making it hard to see what the “correct” perspective would be, and you can see why you should always be wary. Regardless of the intentions of the journalist.

hominid's avatar

@ibstubro: “I pretty much refuse to open Huffington Post and Fox News stories unless I think it’s a really serious story. Then I’ll open them to see the poles in order to guide me toward the equator.”

First of all, these two sources (and the whole Democrat/Republican thing) are not poles – they’re sitting quite close to each other. Second, even if the difference between the two were that great, it seems that you may be committing a fallacy.

prairierose's avatar

The following are supposedly unbiased news sources: Wikinews, AlterNet, Reuters, The Real News.

Pachy's avatar

Speaking as a former newspaperman, none, in my opinion… not in these times of often-amateurish reportage and 24/7 news dissemination. Some are more non-biased, more often, than others, of course, but none are completely and consistently non-biased. That’s just not possible.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It isn’t bias that worries me. The bias of FOX or the Huffington Post are fine. The really alarming development for me is the collapse of print journalism, specifically newspapers, and particularly local and regional papers. To this day, it is the newspapers that are left which generate “the news” stories that wind up on television and the internet. This is particularly true when it comes to investigative as well as in depth journalism. The newspapers were the watchdogs for hanky panky and corruption in local politics . Local small town papers were often the ONLY check on shenanigans in backwater regions, and it is more than a coincidence that the acceleration in obtuse absurdities erupting from the heartland parallels the shriveling of local papers. Meanwhile, if bias is inescapable, then it is critical that one READ A LOT. There are still excellent sources for national and world news. The Economist, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post still hew to form, biased or not. The worry isn’t so much that Fox or the Huffington Post grow like melanomas. It’s the question of what we will become when they are all that is left.

janbb's avatar

@stanleybmanly Great analysis!

jerv's avatar

@stanleybmanly Personally, I think that the world is no more (or less) messed up than it ever was;it’s merely that our awareness of the absurdity of the heartland, the corruption of the government, and other messed up things has increased with the introduction of a new medium that allows nearly anyone to publish a “newspaper”. In fact, the lower cost of websites has led many publishers of all sizes to abandon “dead tree” editions of their publication; they still put out the same articles, only in HTML instead of handheld format.
And I don’t think that the fact that our news is now more often printed with pixels than with ink is a deathblow to investigative journalism either; there have always been sensationalist papers whose “news” bears little/no relationship with reality. It’s just that we now have more sources (at all levels of quality) than before.

syz's avatar

I tend to listen to NPR, and I’ve been very impressed by Al Jazeera.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Ha! NONE of it is.

sahID's avatar

In the mainstream media, I rely most on the New York Times and The Washington Post. While I tend to agree with @ibstubro about the Huffington Post, the do have some talented writers worth reading. For a quick look at news stories from a variety of sources, I have not found a better website than newser.com (which is far broader in its coverage than The Week.

For overall balance in the news, I turn to both thedailybeast.com and alternet.com. The strength of the latter website is its lack of corporate influence, which leaves it to report on stories and emerging developments that the mainstream media will either spin or ignore.

ibstubro's avatar

I’ve added Al Jazeera and BBC News to my bookmarks.

Others still under advisement. Will update.

Oh. And I listen to NPR all the time.

johnpowell's avatar

I got into Al Jazeera English during the uprising in Egypt. They pretty much said “we have nothing to add” and then just showed the protests without reporters or audio for hours on end. No speculation, just the five Ws.

grac3alot's avatar

One American News

I pay for their 24/7 TV news service, but it looks like the web version is free.

It is fairly new. Started in late 2013. It is a 24/7 U.S based news network that covers breaking news, national and international. For at least 21 hours, it is opinion-free straight news reporting and at least 3 hours are devoted to right-leaning opinion shows. No commercials.

grac3alot's avatar

Pew research organization did a study on this topic. This should give you some insight and help you choose link

One of the key findings is that the size of audience does not indicate the level of trust, so even though a news source like CNN has a large audience, it is not as trusted as other networks with a smaller audience.

Notice Al Jazeera is one of the most distrusted. This link might be some of the reasons why.

Although I don’t understand why BBC is seen as the most trusted. They’re just as messed up. Look at all this link1 and this link2

Darth_Algar's avatar

“Notice Al Jazeera is one of the most distrusted. This link might be some of the reasons why.”

A lot of those seem kinda sketchy, to be honest.

grac3alot's avatar

What makes you think that?

I checked out some of the footnotes. The sources are reliable. A lot of journalism review organizations, video proofs, wikileaks, some distinguished news agencies.

jerv's avatar

@grac3alot Odd corollaries from one of your links. If this is correct, then Conservatives generally only trust Conservative sources whereas Liberals may give a little more credence to Left-leaning sources, but are far more willing to trust more neutral sources. Liberals also tend to get their news from more sources while Conservatives are more likely to surround themselves with friends who share their views. The implication is that Conservatives truly are generally more narrow-minded than Moderates or Liberals while the Left-leaners (those too Liberal to be Moderate, but to Moderate to be Liberal) seem to be the most open-minded and tolerant.

All that from the same source as your first link.

As for the Wikipedia links, there is some truth to that in that there are many people who believe that stuff to be true and thus have an opinion on their trustworthiness based on those beliefs. Whether or not any of it actually is true though…. well, really doesn’t matter since many people disregard things like facts, truth, and reality.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@grac3alot

Many of the examples in that article amount to little more than opinions on Al-Jazeera’s bias (or lack thereof). It’s funny that one group accuses Al-Jazeera of having an anti-American bias, another group accuses them of having a pro-American bias. Some criticize it simply because it’s government-owned. And the US government basically criticizes it for being media they can’t control.

grac3alot's avatar

@jerv

Agreed. The research only shows what people trust. That doesn’t mean that they’re correct in trusting those sources. The only one on that list that is equally trusted by all is the Wall Street Journal. However, when I looked into the most trusted sources, they’re some of the most problematic of all the sources. So even though most people consider BBC as one of the most trusted source on that list, it is actually one of the most biased, corrupted ones based on the evidence of the links I provided. Same goes for most of those sources on that list.

Like I mentioned before, there is a difference between an amature bloggers opinion, and journalism review organizations. Much different than just an opinion. Also, when you have video proofs of Al-Jazeera hosting birthdays for freed terrorist who murdered a bunch of people, there is very little room for questioning the legitimacy of it. Same for wikileak documents that weren’t meant to be seen for public eyes.

^^ @Darth_Algar ^^

grac3alot's avatar

I thought ibstubro wanted a U.S based source? Al-Jazeera is a Qatar news source and BBC is Britian.

Every country has their own propaganda machine in an English version. RT (Russia Bias) , France24 (France Bias) PressTV (Iran Bias), CCTV News (China Bias), Euronews (European Union Bias), and so on.

ibstubro's avatar

OAN online has not posted any news for 2 days?

Interesting.

grac3alot's avatar

Ah, I guess they don’t care about their free web version. I just turned on their live TV channel through Roku and Fios, they’re reporting new material.

I don’t know of any free ones that are neutral.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@grac3alot “Like I mentioned before, there is a difference between an amature bloggers opinion, and journalism review organizations. Much different than just an opinion. Also, when you have video proofs of Al-Jazeera hosting birthdays for freed terrorist who murdered a bunch of people, there is very little room for questioning the legitimacy of it. Same for wikileak documents that weren’t meant to be seen for public eyes.”

The American Journalism Review isn’t a peer-review organization like you seem to think. It’s simply yet another news publication. Also they didn’t claim that Al Jazeera was biased, they noted that critics of Al Jazeera claim bias (but then critics of every new organization claim bias). Also that birthday party was the decision of one man in the organization, not the organization itself, and that man was evidently reprimanded for it. And if they aired wikileaks documents then I’d say they’re doing the duty of the press better than most in the press are these days.

Darth_Algar's avatar

“I thought ibstubro wanted a U.S based source? Al-Jazeera is a Qatar news source and BBC is Britian.”

Both have US branches.

grac3alot's avatar

Wikileaks leaked documents exposing Al-Jazeera bias not the other way around link

Having a U.S branch doesn’t change the fact that the news is coming from a British/Qatar perspective.

johnpowell's avatar

What is exactly wrong with a British/Qatar perspective?

grac3alot's avatar

Nothing, if it is neutral. I was just pointing out that ibstubro requested a U.S news source.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Al Jazeera is/was being used as a tool of diplomacy? Shit, that’s bad.

Darth_Algar's avatar

“Having a U.S branch doesn’t change the fact that the news is coming from a British/Qatar perspective.”

And coming from an outside perspective actually speaks more in favor of the neutrality that @ibstubro was asking for. When you don’t have a dog in the fight, so to speak, it’s easier to remain objective about a situation.

grac3alot's avatar

That would only be true if aforementioned perspective wasn’t peddling its own propaganda, otherwise, all you’re doing is introducing a new flavor of bias.

johnpowell's avatar

Have you ever watched Al Jazeera English?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@grac3alot

You’re not going to find any journalism completely free of bias. That’s simply not possible. Not as long as the press is comprised of human beings. What you want to look for is objectivity, and Al Jazeera and the BBC are certainly a hell of a lot more objective than Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc. At least when it comes to reporting US news.

grac3alot's avatar

@johnpowell

Yes, like 2 years ago. I was watching their news reports on the Operation “Pillar of Defense” war between Israel and Gaza. They were only reporting news that was biased towards the Palestinians and using selective video footage clips. If that wasn’t enough, they only invited guests who were critical of Israel. But they aren’t the worse. CNN holds that title. BCC and PressTV (Iran) are the follow ups.

You can tell a lot about a network neutrality based on Israeli-Gaza conflicts.

janbb's avatar

@grac3alot I don’t think there is any source in the world that is unbiased about Israel and the Palestinians. It seems to be impossible not to slant one way or the other. Who could even tell what objective reporting of that conflict would be?

grac3alot's avatar

@Darth_Algar

Journalistic objectivity is measured by the amount of fairness, disinterestedness, and nonpartisanship it produces. With all the evidence out there, Al-Jazeera and BBC, are up there with some of the worst. They’re just different flavors of CNN and FOX.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Darth_Algar I agree. It is impossible to write or report anything without a “point of view”. @jerv I don’t know whether the world itself is any more or less disordered, but the crisis in print journalism is a negative for which both broadcast and cyber journalism are so far unable to compensate. Once again, it is print journalism which historically has been the source for the initial reporting of issues, and this remains the model (with some notable exceptions) to the current day. This fact is particularly pronounced and undeniable when it comes to the flyover regions of the country. The shutting down of local papers which assigned reporters to small town and state legislatures has left a reporting vacuum yet to be filled by either cyber or broadcast sources. Even worse, the once mighty newspapers, legendary for keeping an eye on municipal and state governments in their region, have closed those bureaus as the papers waste away. The only foreseeable result must be a rise in the level of ignorance on the part of a population already dumbing down.

grac3alot's avatar

@janbb

That isn’t true and even if it is (see my answer to Darth for how to measure objectivity), you certainly cannot say that all news agencies have an equal amount of bias. Some are much more neutral than others. That alone culls out a lot of news agencies.

Israel-Gaza conflicts are one of the best methods of measuring bias in news agencies.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@grac3alot “Journalistic objectivity is measured by the amount of fairness, disinterestedness, and nonpartisanship it produces. With all the evidence out there, Al-Jazeera and BBC, are up there with some of the worst. They’re just different flavors of CNN and FOX.”

Sorry, but no. It isn’t just a matter of bias. Fox News and CNN cannot even pretend to be journalism at this point. When a “news” network sues in court for the right to lie to its viewers it is not journalism. When a “news” network’s programming consists of grown adults screaming at each other for 5 minutes it is not journalism. When a “news” network reduces everything down to soundbytes it is not journalism. When a network’s “news” programming consists of reading off idiotic Twitter comments from its viewers followed by inane commentary by its anchors it is not journalism. When a “news” anchor suggests the reason for an airplane’s disappearance might be a black hole it is not journalism.

BBC and Al Jazeera may have their biases, but equating them with Fox and CNN is just insulting. They at least maintain journalistic intent. Fox and CNN, on the other hand, are nothing more than tawdry entertainment masquerading as “news”.

janbb's avatar

How do you know what is biased and what is objective in the coverage of the Israeli=Palestinian conflict? i certainly can’t evaluate it and I read a lot of sources.

I think the best thing to do is to look at a number of sources and hope to get a picture of what might be happening.

jerv's avatar

@stanleybmanly The “flyover” regions generally lack cell coverage and broadband internet, so it stands to reason that they are more reliant on technology and techniques from 60–100 years ago.

Before you take that as a dig, much of NH is the same way. (Reception bad enough that the state police often can’t even use the radios in their cruisers. Even the people in the suburbs on the “major” cities were relegated to dial-up; being rural, my dialup wasn’t even 28.8k. State agencies still rely on fax machines because (as of 2013 at least) they don’t have the hang of this thing called “email”.) I lived in that type of world for almost ¾ of my life.

So yes, print journalism still has use in places that haven’t quite made it to the 21st century yet, but as about ⅔ of Americans live in the better-connected places where news can break in seconds rather than having to wait until the next morning, I’d say that it just illustrates another way in which the US isn’t truly united.

grac3alot's avatar

@janbb

It is actually very simple. You know by listening/looking at a news agency’s diction, omission, selective reporting, and decontextualization.

ibstubro's avatar

I came to this question early in life.

When I was a kid, we always subscribed to Newsweek magazine. I read it cover to cover, because I figured the things that interested me the least were the things I needed to know the most. As a young adult, I continued the Newsweek habit. Then I had the chance to subscribe to both Newsweek and Time for pennies a week. I tried it. The articles in Newsweek were so Conservatively slanted as to be unrecognizable from the relative “news” from Time. I’m not suggesting Time was unbiased, but that they were at least reporting using the facts of the news story. Newsweek was near to historical fiction.

I have distrusted news ever since. I’ll almost never take one source’s perspective for granted.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther