How to prevent confirmation bias affecting your journalism

Online Journalism Blog

If one becomes aware of confirmation bias do they get confirmation bias confirmation bias

A couple weeks ago I published a guide to cognitive biases for journalists. I saved perhaps the biggest one of all — confirmation bias — for a post all of its own. It might be one of the best-known biases, but for that very reason it can be easy to underestimate. Here, then, is what you need to know — and what to do to reduce it.

What is confirmation bias — and how does it affect journalism?

Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out — or more easily believe or recall — information that confirms our existing beliefs.

It leads us to make judgements that are not based on an equal assessment of all the evidence, but only that evidence we have cherry picked, remembered or attributed more credibility to.

Confirmation bias affects journalists in at least three ways:

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3 Replies to “How to prevent confirmation bias affecting your journalism”

  1. This article I take real issue with—journalists should assume everything is a conspiracy until proven otherwise, not the other way around—as the article states. Rarely does anything newsworthy happen based on the dealings of a single individual and just b/c some useful idiot doesn’t realize he’s part of a conspiracy does not make that a ‘non-conspiracy’! First order of business, this article included, who wrote it, who benefits, and who is paying him? Cheers 😉

    1. As in what happened to investigative journalism? Time was journalists took pride in sniffing out the story under the appearance. Now they act more like propagandists. However I put the article up to draw attention to the difficulty in persuading people with facts due to their natural? tendency to screen
      out conflicting information. Totally agree with your last sentence. Many seem to have lost the ability to think critically.

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