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Identifying an Author's Bias

This prezi will help you understand what bias is, and how to spot it in what you read.

Emily Endress

on 26 October 2011

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Transcript of Identifying an Author's Bias

Identifying Bias
by Ms. Endress
bias is the preference or opinion
that prevents one from approaching
something with a neutral point of view
are biased.
what's your favorite
flavor of ice cream?
what does that mean?
favorite = bias!
do you prefer...
preference = bias!
bias is not always bad.
humans are not robots.
i have no
but, bias does not belong
in some types of non-fiction
Scenario #1: You want to see a good action movie so you read some movie reviews online. Enrique McPoutypants is a famed movie critic who writes a weekly movie review blog. He does not like Diesel von Mussels, the star of the movie "Robots from Space vs. Giant Lobsters from the Deep", because von Mussels once spilled cocktail sauce all over McPountypants's tie at a fancy Hollywood party. Even though McPoutypants actually really enjoyed the movie, he writes that it was terrible, because he doesn't want Diesel von Mussels to get any money or credit for being a good actor.

The critic is biased against movies which star Diesel von Mussels. You cannot trust his opinion about this movie.
Scenario #2: Mrs. Gerflunkenflugen is on the committee to select a new book for the 7th graders to read, and must write a report to hand in to the principal. The other teachers on the committee think that the students would enjoy reading "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. Mrs. Gerflunkenflugen's best friend just wrote a 700-page book about the dietary habits of the Tazmanian water beetle. Even though she knows the students would enjoy "The Hunger Games" more, Mrs. Gerflunkenflugen writes in her report that the school should have the 7th graders read "The Fascinating Culinary Proclivities of the Tazmanian Water Beetle."
Mrs. Gerflunkenflugen
biased author #2
Enrique McPoutypants
biased author #1:
Scenario #3: You are interested in buying a new smart phone. Sally Sassafrass is the owner of Phoney's, a cell phone store. You go to Phoney's and talk to Sally, telling her all the features you are looking for in a smart phone. You ask about the iPhone 4S, but Sally talks you out of it and you get something else instead. Later, you find out that Phoney's doesn't carry iPhones. Obviously, Sally is biased against phones her store doesn't sell, and biased towards the phones that they do.
biased author #3
Sally Sassafrass
In each of these scenarios, the author's information is untrustworthy. We cannot accept what they tell us, because we know their opinions are influencing their reporting of information.
So, you have to find bias before
it tricks you! Here's how...

Look for...
oaded words
not being specific
making broad statements
overstating something
stretching the truth
words designed to make
you emotional,either in
a good or bad way
the way the author feels or believes
not neccesarily based on fact
Dogs are more social than cats.
All students play games on their netbooks during class.
Congressman Smith was born near the green pastures of Indiana and raised with wholesome family values.
Chocolate is the best
flavor of ice cream.
How could these ideas have been expressed
with less bias?
Less biased: Dogs are social creatures by nature,
while cats tend to be less dependent on their owners
for affection and attention. Of course, there are
exceptions to this rule.
Many students are occaisionally
tempted to play games on their
netbooks during class.
Congressman Smith was raised
in rural Indiana.
A recent study by the National
Ice Cream Association showed that
65% of Americans prefer
chocolate ice cream.
Full transcript