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Unveiling News Bias: A Closer Look



Pre-Listening Activities

1. Opinion Scale:

  • Create a scale from 1 to 10. On one side, label it “News Should Be Neutral” and on the other side, label it, “Opinions should be shared.” Think of three current events new stories happening in the world today. Discuss the news sources that are reporting these events. Do any of these sources appear to hold a biased position?

Vocabulary and Expressions

Here are some words and expressions that appear in the video:

chime in (phrasal verb):  join a conversation or discussion abruptly or spontaneously.
– Without hesitation, Alex chimed in with an unexpected solution to the business problem at the company.

project (verb): unconsciously conveyed personal biases or opinions.
– Despite efforts to remain objective, journalists may unintentionally project their perspectives into their reporting.

echo chamber (noun): a social environment where individuals are exposed only to information that supports their existing beliefs.
– Social media can create echo chambers, reinforcing people’s viewpoints by filtering content based on their preferences.

wade into (phrasal verb): gradually become involved or immersed in a complex or challenging situation.
– The team cautiously waded into the intricate details of the project, addressing potential issues one by one in the meeting.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.


Randall: In our next video, let’s talk about this topic about news stories. Should news stories actually give an opinion on what they report?

Emily: No.

Randall: Uh, whether it’s dealing with politics and so forth? Emily, you just chimed in very quickly. Tell me what your thoughts are.

Emily: I think that reporting needs to stay neutral.

Aubrey: I think that that’s the ideal, but it’s very difficult to not project your own biases into that, you know?

Emily: Yeah. Yeah.

Aubrey: So I mean [it’s] really extreme on both sides. I won’t name names, but it is useful to follow, like, different political camps, to kind of have an idea of what’s going on. So you’re not in your own echo chamber.

Randall: Right.

Aubrey: And there’s also, you know, issues that might be affecting you that your side isn’t reporting on or things that aren’t being reported in mainstream news that are actually happening. You know?

Randall: And are you speaking specifically or more specifically regarding political issues or environmental issues?

Aubrey: Uh, Political issues, environmental issues.

Randall: And I think when I think about news stories, I think there are stories that can be just by the nature of them, like the weather can be more neutral, but I think people are often looking to news programs at times that actually provide, uh, different perspectives and ideas. And hopefully, people have the skill, the skill set, to be able to understand and critically think about the information they’re receiving.

Aubrey: Unfortunately, I’m going to have to contradict you here. Like, you know, all discourse, uh, the weather can be very political now

Randall: Oh, ok.

Aubrey: because of climate change.

Emily: Yeah.

Randall: And I, I’m glad that you brought that up. I was thinking on a very basic level, but still, I think you’re right. Is, you know, what was the, you know, temperature today? But yet, even then, people start wading into the area, you know, the, the, the topics of climate change and what is causing these different weather patterns.

Aubrey: Yeah

Randall: And I think that’s an important issue too. All right. Well, thank you for sharing your thoughts on new stories.

Conversation Questions

Intermediate Level:

  1. Bias Recognition:

    • How do you think biases might unintentionally find their way into news reporting, as discussed by Emily and Aubrey? Can you think of any examples from your own experience?

  2. Echo Chambers:

    • Discuss the concept of echo chambers mentioned in the interview. How might being in an echo chamber affect an individual’s understanding of current events? Can you identify any echo chambers in your own social circles?

  3. Impact of Perspectives:

    • Randall mentions the importance of news stories providing different perspectives. In what ways do you believe exposure to diverse viewpoints can influence individuals and society positively? Can you think of any potential challenges or drawbacks?

Advanced Level:

  1. Ethics in Reporting:

    • Emily emphasizes the need for reporting to stay neutral. Explore the ethical considerations of maintaining neutrality in journalism. Are there situations where expressing an opinion might be justified, or should news reporting always remain objective?

5. Climate Change and News Reporting:

    • Aubrey suggests that even weather reporting can be political due to climate change. Analyze this statement and discuss how climate change has become a socio-political issue. How should journalists navigate reporting on climate-related topics without being overly biased?

6. Critical Thinking in the Digital Age:

    • Randall talks about people needing the skill set to critically think about the information they receive. In today’s digital age, where information is abundant, how can individuals enhance their critical thinking skills to discern reliable news sources from biased or misleading ones?

ChatGPT was used collaboratively to prepare some of the discussion questions for this lesson.
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