Students examine the role of the media in influencing people’s beliefs and values by identifying the ideological bias in a selected media piece and by rewriting the piece to present a more balanced portrayal of ideological perspectives.
- Detect ideological bias in media accounts.
Establish the criteria
Invite students to view selected episodes or clips from relevant media (e.g., advertisements, documentaries, television shows) or an excerpt from a magazine, newspaper or poster that demonstrates ideological bias and another that demonstrates a fair-minded account of an ideology.
Invite students to brainstorm ways to distinguish between fair-minded and biased accounts. The following can be used as criteria for recognizing fair-minded and biased accounts:
Criteria for an impartial account may include the following:
- open-minded: willing to accept new ideas and alter opinions based on new information and evidence
- full-minded: well informed, considers all available evidence
- fair-minded: impartially considers competing pieces of evidence when forming a conclusion.
Criteria for a biased account may include the following:
- closed-minded: unwilling to consider evidence that might be counter to previously held views
- incomplete information: bases conclusions on inadequate or partial evidence
- unfair: prejudges the result in favour of or against one group or view based on personal preferences or associations.
Analyze a media account
Provide each student with a chart for recording information. You may wish to adapt the retrieval chart Recognizing Fair-minded and Biased Accounts in Recognizing Biased and Fair-minded Perspectives (Lesson Material).
Instruct students to examine a clip from relevant media (e.g., advertisements, documentaries, television shows) or an excerpt from a magazine, newspaper or poster. Ask students to determine whether the media presents a fair-minded or biased account. Students should use the retrieval chart to guide their analysis of the account.
Reflect on influence of ideology on media
After students have analyzed accounts and determined fair-mindedness or bias, ask them to reflect on the degree to which ideology influences point of view and perspective. Use students’ responses as the basis for discussions to explore the degree to which media deepen or undermine our understanding of ideologies.
You may wish to refer to Justifying My Choice (Support Material) to structure and assess student responses.
- Rework a media piece so that it reflects a more balanced presentation of ideological perspectives.
Rework a media piece to present a balanced view
After identifying the bias in the media piece, invite students to rework the same media piece so that it reflects a balance of ideological perspectives. To ensure that the account is impartial, students should refer to the criteria for assessing fair-mindedness and bias.