September 22, 2016 Last Updated 10:02 am

Website ‘Rate My Media’ hopes to increase media accountability through crowd-sourced ratings

‘The media is a source of the racial tension we see play out in the news every day. When people are fed a constant media diet of the superiority of one group, it is easy to dehumanize others’

It is ironic, or maybe not, that the press release you can read below made its way into my email in-box today. The new web app, Rate My Media, is a crowdsourced rating website that designed to give readers a chance to rate ‘all forms of biased media’ including news, textbooks, television, etc.


Created by a University of Southern California associate professor, the website is about calling out bigotry, but one wonders if the consumers of such material really care whether another news organization, or this new web app, calls out their news sources as bigoted? In fact, wouldn’t ‘Rate My Media’ eventually just be thrown into the same pile of media such as The Washington Post and others that are seen as biased against those on the right who are called out as racists, and more recently ‘deplorables’.

“You can rate media on equity and inclusion, learning and general content quality. Entries may include a wide range of media from news articles, games, to music or social media sites like Snapchat. You can also rate a company,” the new website explains. “Each rating will be calculated with other members of the community’s ratings to form an overall rating for the piece of media and the company.”

Readers add new media to the Rate My Media database, including the title, type, source, and location, then add a review and star rating. A 1-star rating is used for media which shows a ‘lack of racial equity and inclusion’ – while a 5-star rating shows ‘exemplary racial equity and inclusion.’

As you can see, the emphasis is on media that discusses racial issues. That seems too narrow of focus to me, especially given the wide range of topics being discussed online during this election cycle. Maybe the “Rating Rubric” will be expanded to better cover the wide range of media bias possible.

Here is the announcement for the new web app, Rate My Media:

Los Angeles, Calif. – September 21, 2016 — After over 60 years since the launch of the Civil Rights Movement and over 150 years since the Women’s Rights Movement emerged, it’s alarming that racism, sexism, stereotyping and misrepresentation continue to plague the media landscape. Now, a first-of-its-kind web app, Rate My Media, is aiming to change that.

ratemymedia-screen-400Created by esteemed digital equity champion and University of Southern California associate professor, Dr. Brendesha Tynes, Rate My Media is the world’s first crowdsourced rating site focused specifically on equity and inclusion in the media. Consumers are empowered to raise attention to and speak out against all forms of biased media, including textbooks, video games, news articles, television, apps, radio, advertisements, books, films, comics, magazines, educational materials, social media sites, blogs, music and more. In turn, educators and consumers are enabled to make informed media choices and expose media offenders. Alternatively, they can upload and search the site for media that are inclusive with multi-dimensional representations of users.

As racial tensions in the United States continue to escalate, Tynes believes that Rate My Media will play a critical role in alleviating the strains by increasing media accountability through a community of engaged users.

“As a major institution in society, the media play a critical role in our culture,” explains Tynes. “The media is a source of the racial tension we see play out in the news every day. When people are fed a constant media diet of the superiority of one group, it is easy to dehumanize others.”

The idea for this app was inspired by Roni Dean-Burren and her son Coby, whose World Geography textbook described African slaves as “workers” in a section on immigration. The video of this mother, educator and doctoral student exposing the misrepresentation went viral. Months later, Dean-Burren was able to get McGraw-Hill, the publisher, to change the text and reissue copies to schools of the revised version. Deeply moved, Tynes decided to take it a step further and focus on all forms of media.

Additional Features:

  • Company reviewing;
  • Video reviews;
  • Simple Facebook or Twitter user sign-up/login;
  • Social media review sharing;
  • Reporting on reviews that violate terms of service;
  • Safe community space for ages 13 and up;
  • Equity and inclusion rating rubric.

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