What is Bias?
This is how the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines bias:
BENT , TENDENCY: an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially: a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment: PREJUDICE: an instance of such prejudice i.e., (1): deviation of the expected value of a statistical estimate from the quantity it estimates (2): systematic error introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others.
or from Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition:
Exhibiting bias: biased, one-sided, partisan, prejudiced, prejudicial, prepossessed, tendentious. See LIKE, STRAIGHT. 2. Disposed to favor one over another: favorable, preferential.
When it comes to modern media like news, advertising and the Internet, bias on demand has become the profession of spin-doctors who specialize in spinning anything negative into something positive.
Why should we check the bias of information on a web page?
Would you trust information unsupported by facts or logical reasoning? A biased author may not pay attention to all the facts or develop a logical argument to support his or her opinions.
Bias is when a statement reflects a partiality, preference, or prejudice for or against a person, object, or idea. Much of what you read and hear expresses a bias. Bias is when a writer or speaker uses a selection of facts, choice of words, and the quality and tone of description, to convey a particular feeling or attitude. Its purpose is to convey a certain attitude or point of view toward the subject. As you read or listen to biased materials, keep the following questions in mind:
Biased information tries to change your mind, how you think. Being aware of bias and knowing how to identify, analyze, and assimilate biased information properly is a skill to be treasured. It puts you in charge of how you think instead of the print and media world. (see Cuesta College Critically Evaluating the Logic and Validity of Information)
What are some indicators of bias on a web page?
You should expect bias on webpages that are dedicated to selling you something. Additionally, webpages dedicated to controversial topics are likely to have a bias.
Questions to keep in mind as you seek indicators of bias:
Authored by Lora K. Kaisler and Dennis O'Connor of the 21st Century Information Fluency Project. Illinois Schools.