Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

News Bias Then and Now
Mike King
American History
Time Frame:
1-2 Days
Civil War

Grade Levels:

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Students will discover and turn in examples of bias in the news media (television, internet websites, newspaper, etc)

  • Students should be able to identify bias in the news media

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

1.    principles expressed in the documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States

      7. evaluate the accuracy of information and the reliability of its sources

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Recent example(s) of a book, newspaper article, website that illustrates the objective

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

De Bow's Review
Southern and Western States
Volume XI, New Orleans, 1851
AMS Press, Inc. New York, 1967

"Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race" http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h3106t.html
James Henry Hammond advocates slavery 1858 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h3439t.html

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • The students will, after the teacher gives several examples and explains bias can be not only what is said, but what is not said, etc., select a current news story that illustrates bias in the news, and either write a descriptive paragraph, or present their example to the class, time permitting, that details and explains their selected example of biased news reporting.

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
  • This particular assignment will be a participatory-type assessment, as many students: 1.  may or may not have the cognitive abilities to successfully complete this higher-ordered effort, 2.  may or may not have access to the internet at home