We think identifying bias is very hard to do so systematically. It is even harder to do without injecting our own biases into the creation of whatever system we might use.
Fortunately, the concept of fiat news we so often write about isn't really about bias – or at least, it's about far more than bias. Fiat news is about the press telling you how to think about issues. Fiat news is about the presentation of opinions as facts, regardless of whether they consistently favor one group or another. If you want a bit more of a primer, including why we call this fiat news, the original piece Ben wrote in 2017 is located here.
We think there are some ways to measure this, so we're going to try. And we're going to do it in the open. Let me introduce you to the Fiat News Index.
I've selected 20 of the largest and most prominent US-based news and commentary organizations. Using the tools and database from our friends at Quid, the Index measures the proportion of articles from a media outlet which use one of a range of words or expressions I selected. These words and expressions fall roughly into three categories: words that convey a causal link between two statements (Causal Expressions), words that seek to communicate the Common Knowledge element of a narrative (Common Knowledge Expressions), and words that communicate explicit value judgements (Value Expressions). These concepts will be familiar to readers of the recent In Brief, The Tells of Fiat News.