Sentence-level Media Bias Analysis Informed by Discourse Structures

Yuanyuan Lei, Ruihong Huang, Lu Wang, Nick Beauchamp
ACL Anthology
December 1, 2022


As polarization continues to rise among both the public and the news media, increasing attention has been devoted to detecting media bias. Most recent work in the NLP community, however, identify bias at the level of individual articles. However, each article itself comprises multiple sentences, which vary in their ideological bias. In this paper, we aim to identify sentences within an article that can illuminate and explain the overall bias of the entire article. We show that understanding the discourse role of a sentence in telling a news story, as well as its relation with nearby sentences, can reveal the ideological leanings of an author even when the sentence itself appears merely neutral. In particular, we consider using a functional news discourse structure and PDTB discourse relations to inform bias sentence identification, and distill the auxiliary knowledge from the two types of discourse structure into our bias sentence identification system. Experimental results on benchmark datasets show that incorporating both the global functional discourse structure and local rhetorical discourse relations can effectively increase the recall of bias sentence identification by 8.27%-8.62%, as well as increase the precision by 2.82%-3.48%.

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