All Ears English Podcast - 1917: How to Avoid Biased News in English

This is an all ears English podcast episode 1917 how to avoid biased news in English

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When you reach this higher level of English, it’s time to start reading the news in English

But what news should you consume in today’s episode?

Lindsey and Aubrey show you four publications that are less biased than others

Plus find out why bias is creeping into American news more and more

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Hey Aubrey, what’s shaking? Hi, Lindsey. I have a question for you. Okay, I’m ready to go to read your news

Oh my gosh, so I actually being a podcaster, of course, I listen to my news

So in the morning, I listen to up first by I think that’s an NPR own channel

and then in the evening

I listen to the daily from the New York Times and the

Journal from the Wall Street Journal and then I read the New York Times when I’m having lunch at my desk

Just pull up the New York Times read the headlines

I’ve started listening to news in slow Spanish and news in slow French

Oh, that’s fantastic. I slow it down a little so I can understand really well and they’re sort of quick snippets

I love it. Good idea. That is so good

I’m getting ready for a trip to Argentina actually by the time this trip comes out

I’ll already have gone to Argentina, but I need to listen to more Argentine Spanish, you know

It’s a very different pronunciation side point for today. But what are we getting into?

Interesting we had a great question about bias in the news. That’s why I wanted to know where you find your news


So we’re going to answer this listeners question and dive into this because it’s a very fascinating topic

It actually came up recently in one of the live group classes

I was teaching here at all

There’s English was a fascinating discussion and I’m curious how this is all over the world

So come to YouTube find this podcast episode and let us know how this is in your culture in your country

I really want to know

Yeah, and I think sadly this is more of an issue now than it was five years ago and more than it was

30 years ago, right? So this is becoming more and more important. So here’s the question from our listener. Here we go

Dear Lindsay, first of all, I really want to thank you for doing all those English podcasts

It’s my favorite English podcast and it helps me a lot with my learning. I really hope you guys can keep doing it

Awesome. Aubrey great review. I

Would like to bring up my question. I want to read news in English and study

The vocabulary and expressions that are used when it comes to formal occasions that will improve my academic writing

I know there are so many news agencies reporting news in English that it’s hard to make a choice

So, which ones do you recommend?

Okay, you definitely got our recommendations right there at the top of the podcast for the ones we actually listen to every day

But I think it’s really valuable to think about which news sources do have some bias and which try to be more

Unbiased so that you can try to get the facts. Yeah, we’re gonna go into it today

I mean the first thing I just want to insert this right away

I think the first problem of why news has become so much more bias is money, right?

If you you know, if you look at things like public radio PRX NPR

Those tend to be a little more trustworthy just because it’s publicly funded not saying they’re not biased

But they’re even in these podcasts right podcasts have advertisers and you know, then they’re making money

They want to get downloads. I mean, that’s it’s a business in the end

So when you mix news with business is kind of where you get in trouble

I think it really reminds me of the HBO show succession. Have you seen that Lindsay? I haven’t seen it

But now I’m gonna go watch it this weekend. Yes, I highly recommend it

It is about a family that owns a media company in the United States and how they try at least to exert influence

Over the news over politicians. It is fascinating

I think it’s maybe based on a real family in the United States

But either way, it’s fascinating to see the kind of power struggle how money affects it and is involved and how it affects

This family and their relationships. It’s fascinating. Yeah, it comes down to money. It really does

I mean, that’s really what it’s all about. So we’re gonna try to answer this question for our listener today

What is the first kind of phrase we want to define and talk about? Yeah, so just to define the word bias

this is a spin toward a political stance or to benefit the owners of a news outlet when we’re talking about

The news you can have bias about anything, right?

If your opinion is a little slanted one way or another you are biased. We talked about this a lot in the news


I mean

I would just start by saying I think we all have bias in everything like there’s no way that the way you see the world

Is the same as the way I do there’s no way any situation you and I are gonna see differently

right, but good news good reporting like professionals professionals high standard reporting is trying to

Reduce bias or take it out as much as possible. Just report on what’s actually happening. But as human beings

That is actually really really hard because there’s so many things that influence the way we see the world our past

Who we’ve spent time around there’s so much right Aubrey, but when it comes to the news, we have these built-in structures

We have editorials. We have opinion articles and that’s where you’re going to share your bias, right?

That should be there

Totally actual news that’s a claiming to be facts needs to as much as possible

eliminate that bias and I think there might be an issue with education too because I think nowadays a lot of people will read an

Opinion column in the New York Times and pass it off as news, you know, and that’s not even misinformation

That’s just opinion right like right if you get your news on Facebook like a lot of that might be editorial

It might be someone’s opinion and you may not know that because maybe you didn’t learn about that in college or in

Graduate school or whatever in high school. So what’s what the most in your opinion Aubrey?

I’m probably in my opinion to definitely what is the most biased TV news station you can think of?

Yeah, so CNN is very much has a strong bias toward the left as far as American

You know politics in the United States and Fox News has a very strong bias toward the right and this

To me, it just seems like fact because a lot of the political pundits that come on we know their political leanings

They’re very much sharing their opinions and there’s a sort of not a balance on which types of opinions

They’re bringing on so you can just sort of see it there. You know, it’s tricky

I heard somewhere that these news stations as they’re coming down to their budgets and their money and their advertising

they’re spending less money on investigative journalism and more money on putting pundits in a room and

Sitting around a table and that’s where I think you get in trouble

That’s where you layer so much bias on top of the news because they’re getting paid to

Entertain at this point news has become like entertainment on both CNN and Fox News. That’s the problem

We had more investigative journalists out there trying to really figure out what the heck is going on with issues in our country in the world

I think we’d have less of this. Yes. Oh, I agree so much

so I think it would be really helpful for us to share the top or

News resources that at least try to be unbiased

They have you know

Their goals as a company is to try to share the facts and eliminate bias and you can research all of these

Recently sources, but they at least have a very good reputation for being unbiased and that means unbiased news just means

Presenting a news story without any bias or at least kind of reporting facts, right? I mean there may be some spin on it

But like, you know, I think

Attempting. Yeah, so let’s go through them. Let’s go there. What’s the first one Aubrey? Yeah, so the first one is the Associated Press

It’s very old. It was founded in

1846 and it’s very renowned as we would say right it has a really good reputation as a global news organization

It’s actually received 53 Pulitzer Prizes. So that’s very impressive

Yeah, and it is as we said, it’s kind of it’s like a feeder for others

So I think other news magazines and newspapers grab their news from the Associated Press right Aubrey

It’s kind of a supplier of news in a way. I don’t know a lot about how that works. Oh, yeah, exactly, right?

I worked for a newspaper during high school and we whenever we wanted to write an article

We would always go to the Associated Press to get a lot of our facts a lot of our details

We know they have done the real work the research and then we would just credit the source

You know or say from Associated Press and we were just sort of compiling

Interesting. Okay, so that that’s a good one. And can we go to actually I don’t even know this

Is there an actual like Associated Press newspaper or is it really just a supplier of news to the papers?

Like is there a place we can go to read the Associated Press and what’s the website? There is a there is a website

I am you’d have to Google it. Yeah, I find out while we’re chatting. They don’t do a print publication as far as I know

I don’t know if they ever did but maybe at one at one time, but

They’re the website is AP news

Calm, okay, and you can get all of their top stories there and it’s possible. They did at one time do a print news publication

I’m curious about that. Yeah, this is good. So I love this episode

So Wall Street Journal being the second one and hmm, I’m glad this is here

But at the same time, I also feel like Wall Street Journal is I mean they they do present

They present the fact like it’s a high quality journalism, but it’s also

conservative leaning

Because it is the perspective of the investor

Business perspective. So I think there is some angle would you would you agree or I honestly don’t read the Wall Street Journal that often

Because I’m not into stocks. I’m not into finances and it definitely has a reputation for being a little more about that

So that makes sense that you know often at least in the United States

Those with a lot of money who want to avoid taxes on that. Yes often do sort of lean to the right because

Conservative politics help them protect that money

So that is possible that the Wall Street Journal has a little bit of bias a lot of what we’re sharing, too

We were kind of looking at an article on

That was called the top unbiased news sources and a lot of it really made sense to me

But it could be that that this the Wall Street Journal does lean a little bit to the right


I think maybe less so than a New York Times at least based on the podcast that I listen to the two shows the

Journal tends to be more straightforward

Around their tagline is about money business and power, right? So they’re talking about these issues. Whereas the daily

Feels a little more

Liberal leaning to me, but you know, our listeners should listen to these podcasts read these newspapers and see for yourself

How how biased are these right? I mean, yeah

Yeah, so third is Reuters, which I would say this is a lot more like the Associated Press, right?

It is well respected and has a reputation as an unbiased news outlet

They really do try to focus on accurate reporting of the facts without the editorialism nice. I love it

I I don’t have a lot of experience with Reuters Reuters. So we’ll leave that with that one and

How do you even say I thought it was Reuters, I don’t I don’t know to be honest

I don’t know that I think the word neuter neuter is spelled the same you

So I assume it’s pronounced like neuter Reuters, but I don’t know. Have I heard anyone say Reuters?

Maybe Reuters Reuters multiple pronunciations. Here’s your adventure guys. Choose your adventure and in just a minute

We’re going to talk about one other news source

Okay, this one’s good. What is the next one Aubrey and the BBC so often?

United States citizens will look to international

News outlets for their news because they recognize that anything within the United States might be a little biased to one side or the other


So we often feel like the BBC it has a really good reputation as the world’s oldest

National broadcasting service one of the largest news services in the world and a good reputation for trying at least to be unbiased

Yeah, and I know the BBC even has a podcast for learning English right the BBC learning English

I’ve seen that in the podcast

I record with Neil Neil here on the podcast. So go back and check that out from BBC learning English

That’s such a great podcast. That was a really fun interview with him good style. We love the BBC. I love it

So were there any others listed that we should know about?

Yeah, there were definitely quite a few recommended by this article and I agree with these C-SPAN Pew Research Economist

Yeah, these are all again. They’re they’re making an attempt to be unbiased and just share the facts

So there are lots of options. I would just sort of avoid those, you know ABC CBS NBC

I mean sometimes it’s fine, but lots of times you’re going to have yeah someone on there an expert who is very much sharing their opinion

Yeah last night I had CNN on I will admit I do put it on sometimes just to kind of like have noise in the

background and there’s one

Republican that I only ever see on CNN. I never see any Republican politicians on CNN

Maybe they won’t go on there, but there was this one guy on there last night

I thought I saw you on here six months ago, and I haven’t seen any other Republicans since then on CNN

Fascinating it is really interesting how if someone is very right-leaning

I know I personally known quite a few people who will only watch Fox News

Because they think everything else is fake news

Everything else is they’re lying and then I know a lot of people leaning very far to the left who would only watch

Only watch CNN, right, you know, maybe they try to watch other stuff, but that speaks to them, right?

Most of what they’re hearing there makes sense to them. And I think I would definitely recommend you guys to be more open-minded

Yes, you I’m a moderate

Honestly, I think it’s so important to see both sides to see the value to be able to have an open conversation

100% being so focused on what you believe. I just think once you get closed-minded it’s dangerous. I 100% agree

I’m leaning more moderate these days too because I’m getting older. I’m reading more

I’m starting to understand things a little bit more and I can’t be locked in one direction or the other extremes extremes are scary

I wouldn’t be a fiscal conservative in a social liberal like it is possible. Oh, I

It’s really tough. It’s really tough out there. I would say one thing about Pew Research

So if I think if we want to make sure we get a hundred percent on bias

I think it’s not gonna be a newspaper

It’s gonna be something like the Pew Research assuming they have high quality standards and how they gather just reading the research

What’s the data say and then you interpret that data in the way you want because journalism is always

Some kind of narrative interpreted on top of research. So the Pew is a really trustworthy name

So you can go to their website and look up studies

Studies on demographics everything going on in the United States in the world. So yeah

Yes, that’s what’s tricky is, you know

do we have time to read the Pew Research about it like I want to be able to trust a

Journalist to research and share it in a way that I can understand very quick way, but it’s true

You can’t trust that. It doesn’t have a little bit of bias


and the other piece that matters here is the last thing I would say is the is the way that local news sadly is

Declining in the u.s. So a lot of local newspapers are getting shut down and that is dangerous for democracy

Yes, that’s worrisome, right? It’s more and more

I think everyone finds their news on Facebook and so there’s not the funding for all of these other sources and that is troublesome

That’s worrisome. I think we do need to support the you know

Funds being still given to the attempt to get accurate news to everyone. I think that’s really vital

Yeah, so news is kind of becoming entertainment and what other than you know

Some of the ones we mentioned which are less biased news, you know big stations Fox CNN

New York Times sound kind of becoming more entertainment in a way

Scary. Yeah, kind of scary. Yep. So what’s the takeaway for our listeners today?

I feel like we could talk about this for a long time, but what an interesting question

Thank you for sending it and I think it is so important to recognize

bias in the news to attempt to read news that reports facts accurately without political slant or spin without that bias and

I think we have some good recommendations here

But definitely take the time to research find what you like, but make sure that it’s not just telling you what you already think

That’s right. All right, really really good stuff guys

Let us know if you have a follow-up question from today’s episode right to Aubrey at all ears English calm

And we’d be happy to feature a follow-up question

I want to come back to this topic because it is so important right now in 2022

We’re about to go into the well by the time this is out. The midterm elections will be done

Politics matter news matters. Okay, definitely. Awesome. Lindsay. Thanks for having this great discussion. I really loved it. Good stuff. Aubrey. Talk to you soon. Bye


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