Dave Van Zandt – Media Bias Fact Check
Recently I was engaged in a discussion about the differences between a Mixed factual source and a Questionable source. On our methodology page we have a short description of a Mixed source that is honestly kind of vague.
Factual Reporting: MIXED = a score of 4 – 6, which means the source does not always use sourcing or sources to other biased sources. They may also report well sourced information as well, hence it is mixed. These sources need to be checked.
I will expand on this as there is more to it. First, I want to be clear that a Mixed factual source is not necessarily a bad source. If they were a bad source they would be on our Questionable list. A Mixed source always publishes more credible factual news than untrue news. Here is a list of ways to be a Mixed factual source: using highly biased sources that spin (mislead) despite being linked to factual information, using sources that have failed fact checks, having a track record of failing a fact check or two, but not consistently, rushing to publish news without verification and then retracting or correcting and finally, changing the context of factual information to be different than intended.
Our definition of a Questionable source is very clear:
A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, overt propaganda, poor or no sourcing to credible information and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact checked on a per article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the notes section for that source.
In other words a Questionable source is more consistent in publishing news that is either not true or highly spun to be entirely misleading. Basically, they are promoting propaganda for purposes of profit or influence.
Here is an example of a Mixed factual source and why we rate them that way. Buzzfeed is a very popular news and opinion website that produces both strong journalism as well as sensational stories. We rate Buzzfeed Mixed because they failed one fact check and also rush stories and later have to correct them. For the most part Buzzfeed is a factual source that has a left leaning bias. We give them a Mixed rating even though they rarely publish untrue news so that the reader can be aware of the possibility and find an alternative source for the information. Other sources that fit into this category are CNN and Fox News.
In conclusion, a Mixed source publishes mostly credible/factual news, but not always. A Questionable source routinely publishes misinformation in the form of being outright fake, extreme bias or promotion of unknown conspiracies.