Liberal Media Bias is Real Says New Study

Discussion in 'Politics' started by carpro, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. carpro

    carpro
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    http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/page.asp?RelNum=6664

    Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist


    Date: December 14, 2005
    Contact: Meg Sullivan ( [email protected] )
    Phone: 310-825-1046


    While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

    These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.

    SNIP

    Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

    Only Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

    The most centrist outlet proved to be the "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer." CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown" and ABC's "Good Morning America" were a close second and third.

    SNIP

    The fourth most centrist outlet was "Special Report With Brit Hume" on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC's "World News Tonight" and NBC's "Nightly News" to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found.

    SNIP

    Five news outlets — "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," ABC's "Good Morning America," CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown," Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and the Drudge Report — were in a statistical dead heat in the race for the most centrist news outlet. Of the print media, USA Today was the most centrist.
     
  2. Bro. Curtis

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    You don't say.....
     
  3. StraightAndNarrow

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    What Liberal Media?

    The question of whose interests the media protects—and how—has achieved holy-grail-like significance. Is media bias keeping us from getting the whole story? If so, who is at fault? Is it the liberals who are purported to be running the newsrooms, television and radio stations of this country, duping an unsuspecting public into mistaking their party line for news? Or is it the conservatives who have identified media bias as a reliably inflammatory rallying cry around which to consolidate their political base as they cynically “work the refs?” The media has become so pervasive in our lives that regardless of exactly where on the ideological fence you sit, the question of media bias has become all but unavoidable.

    Most of the criticism (and anger) has so far emanated from the political Right, which has offered us the rather unconvincing argument that a systematic Left bias is destroying the quality of news and debate in our country today. Journalist and historian Eric Alterman begs to differ.

    What Liberal Media? confronts the question of liberal bias and, in so doing, provides a sharp and utterly convincing assessment of the realities of political bias in the news. In distinct contrast to the conclusions reached by Ann Coulter, Bernard Goldberg, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly, Alterman finds the media to be, on the whole, far more conservative than liberal, though it is possible to find evidence for both views. The fact that conservatives howl so much louder and more effectively than liberals is one significant reason that big media is always on its guard for “liberal” bias but gives conservative bias a free pass.

    After reading What Liberal Media? you will understand that the real news story of recent years is not whether this newspaper, or that news anchor, is biased but rather to what extent the entire news industry is organized to communicate conservative views and push our politics to the right—regardless of how “liberal” any given reporter may be.

    Eric Alterman currently writes the “The Liberal Media” column for The Nation and the “Altercation” web log (www.altercation.msnbc.com) for MSNBC.com. In recent years, he has been a contributing editor to, or columnist for Worth, Rolling Stone, Elle, Mother Jones, World Policy Journal, and The Sunday Express (London). His Sound and Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy (1992/2000), won the 1992 George Orwell Award and his It Ain’t No Sin To Be Glad You’re Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen (1999), won the 1999 Stephen Crane Literary Award. He is also the author of Who Speaks for America? Why Democracy Matters in Foreign Policy (1998), and When Presidents Lie: Deception and Its Consequences, which is forthcoming. A senior fellow of the World Policy Institute at New School University, and an affiliated faculty member in the magazine journalism program at New York University, Alterman received his B.A. in History and Government from Cornell, his M.A. in International Relations from Yale, and his Ph.D. in U.S. History from Stanford. He was born in Queens, New York and lives with his family in Manhattan. He can be reached online at www.whatliberalmedia.com.

    Only a liberal would be dumb enough to title a book, What Liberal Media? Listen to just about anyone and the answer is obvious: “What are you, stupid? Just pick up a newspaper or turn on your TV.” Should that fail to convince, bemusement can turn to anger, or at best, pity, as in “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” America’s argument about media bias features just two points of view. The right argues that the media is biased toward leftists. The other side responds, to quote David Broder, “dean” of the Washington press corps, “There just isn’t enough ideology in the average reporter to fill a thimble.” The idea that the media might, for reasons of ownership, economics, class or outside pressure, actually be more sympathetic to conservative causes than to liberal ones is widely considered to be simply beyond the pale.
    —From What Liberal Media?


    Praise for Eric Alterman’s Sound and Fury

    “Alterman is...a master stylist with a highly sophisticated sense of humor...Spengler himself couldn’t have put it better.”
    —George Reedy, The Washington Post

    “Alterman is a young man with a sword...he amuses and enlightens. Sound and Fury will be hugely entertaining except to those sorry denizens of the press whose names appear in that Dante’s hell, that Balzacian comedy: Alterman’s index.”
    —Paul Berman, The New Republic

    “The most witty and sadly, profound analysis of the debilitating state of American politics published in years...our next H.L. Mencken.”
    —Kai Bird, The Nation

    “The best book yet on the insider culture of Washington.”
    —Bill Moyers


    In recent times, the right has ginned up its “liberal media” propaganda machine.
    Books by both Ann Coulter, a blond bombshell pundette, and Bernard Goldberg,
    former CBS News producer, have topped the best-seller lists, stringing together such
    a series of charges that, well, it’s amazing neither one thought to accuse “liberals” of
    using the blood of conservative children for extra flavor in their soy-milk decaf lattes.
    While extremely popular with the media they attack, both books are so shoddily written
    and “researched” that they pretty much refute themselves. Their danger derives
    less from the authors’ respective allegations than the “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”
    impression they inspire. In fact, barely any of the major allegations in either book
    stands up to more than a moment’s scrutiny. The entire case is a lie, and, yes, in many
    instances, a slander. Although I abhor the methods of both authors, I do not feel they
    can go unanswered. Ideas, particularly bad ones, have consequences. The myth of the
    “liberal media” empowers conservatives to control debate in the United States to the
    point where liberals cannot even hope for a fair shake anymore. However immodest
    my goal, I aim to change that.

    from the book What Liberal Media? by Eric Alterman
     
  4. Johnv

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    And this is a surprise, how exactly.

    The only caveat is that the definition is "liberal" is sometimes contingent upon one's personal position. While the NY times typically leans left from even the most objective perspective, many hardline conservatives will consider Jim Lehrer and Aaron Brown liberal, though they are considered by most to be centrist.

    Not voicing my personal opinion here, just making an observation.
     
  5. Scott J

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    The thing that seems to be missing in Alterman's consideration is an answer to Goldberg's main premise.

    The news media isn't liberal because of some grand conspiracy. It is liberal because most reporters and editors are themselves liberal. They don't intentionally color the news... in their mind, they are only telling the truth and "objectively" determining what is newsworthy.

    Thus the liberal bias that is easily identified is only the tip of the iceberg. It is the news determined "not fit to print" or not even worth pursuing that really makes them liberal.

    For instance, one of the conservative blogs has printed a story that the NSA conducted communications surveillance under Clintion without warrants even before 9/11. Bob Barr even protested but the media didn't think it was a travesty and trusted that the man that almost 90% of them had voted for wouldn't do anything against the law or tell a lie... at least about anything important. :rolleyes:

    Currently, we have this NYT's "bombshell" revelation that Bush "secretly" approved the monitoring of domestic communications. The more facts that come out the less egregious and narrowly focused the effort appears to be. The evidence of liberal bias: Where are the howls about leaks? What about the operatives/soldiers that might be jeopardized by blown covers or revelations of methods? What about the fact that terrorists now have information to help them hide their communications and planning? Has the NYT's committed treason by facilitating the next 9/11 by dealing with someone who was illegally leaking secret information?

    You simply don't see very much concern... which makes you wonder if there was any real concern in the Plame affair except to hurt Bush. Plame hadn't been "under cover" by the definition of the law that was supposedly broken for over 5 years.

    People currently under cover may be jeopardized by this most recent leak that probably came from a Dem inside the NSA or Dems in Congress... that's why it isn't newsworthy... the liberals in media trust those who think like them in government... it's the conservatives who must be exposed because "everyone" in the mainstream media knows that conservatives have evil motives/goals and can't be trusted.
     
  6. Daisy

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    One problem I have with this study is where the center is drawn which the authors say is the average Congressman. Since the average Congressman is Republican these days, I think the study is skewed.

    For instance, the authors judge a news article to be left-biased if it cites a conservative thinktank less often than the average Congressman. It says that NPR comes out slightly left of center. However, NPR (linkie), by its own count cites right leaning thinktanks over left 239 to 141 - so if the average Congressman cites conservative thinktanks twice as often as liberal ones, he is considered centrist. If a news source cites conservative thinktanks only 1.5 times more than it does liberal ones, it is marked as liberally biased.

    I don't know, as I didn't read the entire study (linkie, pdf), but I think that is shady accounting.
     
  7. carpro

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    That's a pretty good description of Alterman himself. How could his book be any different?
     
  8. Johnv

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    Daisy gives good food for thought. I wouldn't consider NPR to be slightly left of center. I actually condier them to be centrist to very slightly right of center.
     
  9. carpro

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    We have a difference of opinion on NPR.
     
  10. Bro. Curtis

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    Yup. NPR is far left of center. Even though, I still like Bob Edwards.
     
  11. Johnv

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    I suppose it's my limited selction of what I've listen to on NPR. I'll bow to the $.02 of the other's here. [​IMG]
     
  12. poncho

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    Yeah, big surprise huh?

    They must be doing something right (no pun intended) considering who their biggest advertizers are.
     
  13. Daisy

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    In what way is it left of center (not counting Prairie Home Companion, which isn't news)? If you could cite some examples, perhaps I could agree with you, because I honestly don't see it.

    I don't see it in the Wall Street Journal, either. I've always thought their articles were well-researched, well-written and often fascinating. I hadn't noticed a leftist slant in their reporting at all, but I never paid that much attention to what thinktanks they used as reference, either.

    Now I do consider the Village Voice and the New Yorker as leftist, but accurate in their facts. The Village Voice is more antiestablishment than anti-Republican because the Democratic machine is the Establishment there. Likewise, the New Yorker is critical of whoever is in power, whether Democrat or Republican.

    The study only addressed news stories, regular reportage, not opinion pieces. If you were to figure in editorials & syndicated columnists, the outcome might be quite different.
     
  14. Bro. Curtis

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    NPR admits a liberal bias

    National Public Radio is properly understood, even by the media, as radio by and for liberals, not the general public. As Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz puts it, the media landscape stretches "from those who cheer Fox to those who swear by NPR."

    The only ones who seem not to know that the left has a massive, taxpayer-funded radio network of 700 affiliates are the liberals trying to sell investors on their own private-sector talk-radio network. A recent PBS "NewsHour" story on talk radio turned ridiculous when reporter Terence Smith allowed liberal-network booster Jon Sinton to proclaim: "Every day in America on the 45 top-rated talk radio stations, there are 310 hours of conservative talk. There is a total of five hours of talk that comes from the other side of the aisle."....


    LINK
     
  15. Filmproducer

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    One associate professor’s, (Groseclose), study on media bias does not prove anything one way or another. I am not lessening his findings, but in this field there are thousands of studies. Some support his claims, others do not. If you are really interested in media bias I suggest you look into the research of John Zaller, (UCLA, UC Brown), David Paletz, (Duke), Mark Peffley, (UK), Martin Gilens, (Yale), Stephen Ansolabehere, (MIT), and Shanto Iyengar, (Stanford). These are some of the most prominent researchers in this field. You can also look into the research of the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center, or the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center on he Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard.

    What is also interesting is that there are studies which show that many people believe most media is biased against their personal political preference.
     
  16. Hope of Glory

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    I believe that most media is liberally biased (much by their own admission; not much research required), however, they put money first. If it sells papers, it doesn't matter if it's conservative, liberal, or other.
     
  17. Daisy

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    That was a rightwing opinion piece from two years ago from the president of Media Matters. The title does not refer is a twisting of the words about a particular interview, "Unfortunately, the interview only served to confirm the belief, held by some, in NPR's liberal media bias." Note the word "seemed" and the phrase, "held by some".

    I found the Dvorkin piece concerning Terry Gross and Bill O'Reilly linkie) that he seemed to be refering to (he provided no link of his own).
    So NPR proves its liberal bias by continuing to have O'Reilly on the show and asking pointy questions? Unfortunately, O'Reilly's archives don't go back that far (it was a long time ago) so we don't have the show he did the day before, blasting NPR.

    Bozel goes on to criticize Nina Totenberg's reporting. But rather than point out flaws in her actual reporting, he goes after her for airing her opinions on a nonrelated TV show.

    Bozel also mentions that there was a report on one Morning Edition that was critical of Bush's war policies.

    I'm not convinced by this old diatribe, especially as I'd heard that the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kenneth Tomlinson was a Republican partisan who hired someone to monitor NPR & PBS for sufficient conservative content and talkingheads.
     
  18. Bro. Curtis

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    Well, daisy, we disagree. Liberals listen to NPR, conservatives listen to Rush. Doesn't make either correct, or incorrect.

    BTW, glad to see you. I thought the transit strike may have affected you adversely.
     
  19. Filmproducer

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    Liberals listen to NPR, conservatives listen to Rush.

    That is not necessairly true. Rush is a conservative talk show host, NPR is a news station with various types of programming.
     
  20. Daisy

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    What filmproducer said.

    Thanks, I appreciate the thought, but no, I'm north of the City now in the land of rocks.
     

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