Sunday, June 29, 2008


It took me awhile to decide whether this new Skewz site is brilliant or one of the signs of the apocalypse, but I think I've come down on the side of "brilliant."

Basically, the point of Skewz is to use the wisdom of crowds to make explicit the bias that exists implicitly in the media, while also functioning sort of like Digg, aggregating stories that people find interesting. People submit stories and then get to vote on how much and in which direction they think the stories are skewed.

But Skewz isn't designed to let people only see the stories that they agree with ideologically—the pages are divided up into one column for "liberally skewed" stories and one for "conservatively skewed" stories, which lets readers see both sides of the news right next to each other. Unfortunately Skewz doesn't seem to actively pair conservative and liberal stories on the same topic, but still, it's useful to be able to see what both sides are talking about on any given day—especially since quite a bit of media bias isn't in how a story is covered but in what people think is newsworthy in the first place.

And, one of the best parts: it aggregates people's skew ratings for each story and uses them to create a giant chart showing the ideological skew of quite a few of the major newspapers and blogs on 20 different issues.

So of course this comes out after I quit editing the books where I had to pair opposing viewpoints and was always running around trying to find somebody arguing the other side of some mildly obscure issue....

Hat tip: Marginal Revolution (again!)

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