Two ad agency creatives’ quest to take down biased news
If there’s one thing the election taught news consumers, it’s to carefully vet sources. Everyone is a “fake news” expert today, and even mainstream news outlets are being subjected to more scrutiny than ever. Now, two creatives have launched a website that highlights the inherent bias in news reporting by pitting headlines from CNN and Fox News against each other. Elena Knox and Alyssa Georg, a copywriter-art director duo at agency SS+K have created readbetweentheheadlines.com to give people what they say is unbiased, impartial news, untainted by any political affiliation.
The website is a curated ticker of headlines that refreshes every few seconds. Visitors are served up the same piece of news as it is delivered by Fox News and CNN. There is a blue band displaying CNN’s headline of the story on top and a red band with Fox’s version of the same story at the bottom. In the middle lies “the actual news,” Knox and Georg’s attempt to impart information objectively.
“It’s our commentary on how news seems to work these days,” said Georg. “We understand that appealing to your core audience is necessary, but this clouds people’s ability to see things clearly and make their own decisions. We felt like we needed to a shine a light on the reality that part of the reason people are divided is because they are getting news that is completely biased.”
For example, when President Trump asked a black reporter if she could help set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus and dismissed another Jewish reporter at a conference last month, CNN and Fox News ran headlines on the opposite end of the spectrum. While CNN’s story carried the headline “Trump Lashes Out,” Fox News’ headline read “Press Beat Down: Trump blasts out of control media, defends agenda, administration.” Knox and Georg’s headline, on the other hand, read “Trump holds a 77 minute press conference.”
“News at these sources, including CNN, has always had its leanings, but we felt this was necessary to call out now more than ever because President Trump is pandering to the divisions in the country,” said Knox. “We hope they will dig a little deeper through the passive bias, and not just rely on clickbait headlines.”
As for their own political affiliations, both Knox and Georg bleed blue, and also worked on a $20 million campaign by Emily’s List and Priorities USA, the super PAC supporting Hilary Clinton’s campaign, to persuade millennial women to vote. The campaign consisted of four ads in which young women and men were asked to read statements that President Trump had made.
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