Information Literacy and Media Bias Inquiry

You can fulfill this assignment in one of two ways:
1) Select a controversial topic or current event and trace its coverage in at least 3 different media outlets—preferably 1 or 2 from the left and right sides of the spectrum and 1-2 from the middle (or “center”) of the spectrum. These sources can be a mix of television network news programs, news podcasts or broadcasts (like NPR), newspapers, and online news sources that collect stories from mainstream media outlets (like or an online version of a mainstream news outlet (e.g. or
2) Select a fake news article and trace its origination, coverage, and circulation across at least 3-5 different media outlets or social media outlets. Consider what makes it persuasive for people, but also discuss clear evidence that it is disinformation and not credible. (Please do not choose an article whose viewpoint you simply disagree with; you can use a fact-checking site, such as, to track disinformation down.) Tell me how the fake news you traced has been debunked, and what you learned from tracing its coverage and circulation.
Inquiry (100 points)
You should write a 5 to 7-page, double-spaced inquiry in essay form that does the following:
· Discusses your political biases, as reported in the quiz results from Reflects on how these biases might inform your interpretation of media coverage.
· Traces the coverage of your topic through at least 3-5 media outlets.
· Rhetorically analyzes these outlets’ framing of the topic, considering both the credibility and bias for each of your sources. (The exception is if you are covering a fake news article, which you can treat as definitively not credible.)
· Report on what you learned about your topic: How might your sources have appealed to your unconscious biases (confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, or others)? How were your pre-existing beliefs challenged? Has this inquiry affected how you might look at media coverage in the future?
Offer reasonable support for your argument, including specific examples, quotations or paraphrases from your media outlets, as well as at least 3-5 citations for concepts or vocabulary from Gladstone’s The Influencing Machine and/or The Lexicon of Lies?

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