Web site presents 'all sides' of election news (podcast)

A new site, Allsides.com, provides visitors with a view of election news stories from the left, right, and center.

Allsides.com presents news from right, left and center Screenshot by Larry Magid/CNET
John Gable doesn't believe that there is really such a thing as objective journalism. "There's a great group of reporters that have really tried to be unbiased but as an individual," he said, "it's impossible to do that and do that reliably."

He feels that voters would be better off if they knew where writers and editorial organizations are coming from, so he built a "bias engine" to calculate that so his new site, Allsides.com, can link to articles from the left, right, and center "and bring the best of all opinions together so you can see the different points of view."

Allsides founder John Gable Allsides.com
The bias calculations are based on crowd sourcing. "We are not deciding who's left, who's right and who's middle. We have people online looking at articles and evaluating what's left and what's right... and we have that done by a lot of different people many times." The evaluators themselves take tests and quizzes so Allsides knows their biases. Articles are presented next to each other along with fact checker arguments so, "you get to decide," according to Gable.

The bias engine is pretty good but not perfect. One day it rated an article by Fox commentator Juan Williams as from the right. Although that designation may apply to the news organization itself, it doesn't apply to Williams. Gable said that this is one of the reasons why the service is still in "beta" and that they are in the process of ranking individual commentators as well as the new organizations they work for.

For more, listen to my seven-minute interview.

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About the author

Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safety advocate. He's been writing and speaking about Internet safety since he wrote Internet safety guide "Child Safety on the Information Highway" in 1994. He is co-director of ConnectSafely.org, founder of SafeKids.com and SafeTeens.com, and a board member of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Larry's technology analysis and commentary can be heard on CBS News and CBS affiliates, and read on CBSNews.com. He also writes a personal-tech column for the San Jose Mercury News. You can e-mail Larry.

 

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