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Posted by on Mar 15, 2007 in Media | 28 comments

Zogby Poll: Public Overwhelmingly Think Media Is Biased

A Zogby poll finds that the American public overwhelmingly feel the news media is biased:

The vast majority of American voters believe media bias is alive and well – 83% of likely voters said the media is biased in one direction or another, while just 11% believe the media doesn’t take political sides, a recent IPDI/Zogby Interactive poll shows.

The Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet is based at George Washington University in Washington D.C.

Nearly two-thirds of those online respondents who detected bias in the media (64%) said the media leans left, while slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said they see a conservative bias on their TV sets and in their column inches.

This isn’t good news for the news media. It means that in this day and age when the news media in style and content is seemingly influenced by supermarket tabloids (which have fallen on hard times recently), and by talk radio and cable TV ideological scream fests (those where the guests interrupt and shout over each other, each guest being a “high concept” stereotype of a certain political type) the news media is being perceived as just as biased as anything else.

One potential fallout from this (if other polls echo this poll) is that the powers that be and alternative media will, more than ever, be unfraid of taking on and lambasting the traditional media. Yet, one unanswered question is: if the “old media” standing in terms of perceptions is on the wane, does that automatically mean the “new media’s” perceptions are on the ascent? Or are we moving into this new century with all kinds of media highly suspect — suspect in a time when polarization isn’t an exception but a rule and a way of life?

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  • Would be interesting to look into the details. For instance, where there separate questions for bias of TV, radio, and press? Because there are huge differences. Nobody can deny that conservative talk hosts are dominating the airwaves. And you have to be red/blue colorblind to not notice that most discussion rounds on TV have more conservative guests than liberals. As for newspapers’ bias, the call isn’t so clear. It’s a diverse market and the picture may change from region to region.

  • Marlowecan

    Hahahahaha…oh, come on, Gray. The media are massively liberal. Even poll that has been conducted of reporters finds they vote Democrat over Republican by a massive margin.

    AM radio is predominantly conservative because of talk radio. The Democrats have been talking about eliminating that by leglislation.

    All other broadcast media are liberal. Rupert Murdoch’s entire business model behind Fox News was that he saw a “niche market of 125 million that wasn’t being served”. But Fox is easily outweighed by MSNBC, CBS, and CNN as the more liberal networks.

    Newspapers? The prominent papers skew liberal…the NYT leading the pack. The NYT has not endorsed a GOP candidate for president in over a half century (1956).

    In the late 1980s, when I first noticed US TV, there were only three token conservatives in all of US media: William F. Buckley, George Will, and William Safire.

    I will grant you that corporate ownership eases the bias to a degree…as does reporters wanting a story. But the bias seeps out all the time. This poll is a simple recognition of that fact.

    Joe does make a good point in contrasting OLD and NEW media on this score. One point to the blogosphere: the biases are front and centre.

    In the OLD media the liberal bias is covert. My god, Olbermann regularly declares that he is independent and without bias. Olbermann!!!

    The blogosphere is at least honest in this regard.

  • “The media are massively liberal. Even poll that has been conducted of reporters finds they vote Democrat over Republican by a massive margin.”

    Well, sry that you’re not feeling well today, Marlowe. Sometimes I wonder if I have early symptoms of Alzheimer, too. Do you remember admitting that corporations tend to be more conservative (and newscorps sure benefitted form Bush’s laissez faire approach) and that conservative editors may have more influence than liberal journalists plays a role in this, too, just a few days ago?

  • Rudi

    Komrad Marlow – Things are better, now it’s the token Libruls in the minority. I would agree that the bias is a LITTLE left of center, but ask a netrooter about bias, they would say MSM is conservative. Ask a dittohead, they would say the MSM is socialist. The country as a whole is still a little conservative, their perception of MSM reflects their beliefs, not actual media bias.

  • Entropy

    Read the link:

    “While 97% of Republicans surveyed said the media are liberal, two-thirds of political independents feel the same, but fewer than one in four independents (23%) said they saw a conservative bias. Democrats, while much more likely to perceive a conservative bias than other groups, were not nearly as sure the media was against them as were the Republicans. While Republicans were unified in their perception of a left-wing media, just two-thirds of Democrats were certain the media skewed right – and 17% said the bias favored the left.”

  • “I would agree that the bias is a LITTLE left of center”

    Conrade Rudi, pls don’t feed the political enemy by making such general statements, be more specific. What bias? That of the TV? Of the press? Of radio stations?

    And if you really believe the MSM in general favors the left, I guess you’re a bit confused about the relative importance of the several branches of the media, plus you disregard the fact that a republican president is ruling the US, and so naturally Republicans are under a hugher scrutiny. It was the other way round under Clinton. But this isn’t a political bias, that’s just the media doing its job (very seldomly nowadays, imho).

  • Of course the major media is conservative. They have to be to please their advertisers and to cater to wealthy readership. This is just the nature of business.

    I don’t think bias in news is necessarily a bad thing, as long as the bias is clear. We get in trouble when we start thinking of news reporters or anyone as “objective.” No is perfectly objective and no one ever will be.

  • Rudi

    Axis memeber Gray – I am saying the bias is just perception, not actuall bias. As a card carrying member of SDS and the Weatherman, I look forward to seeing Noam Chomsky on the cable outlets every day. Why yesterday, I really enjoyed the debate between Angela Davis and Apple Coulter on Fox, their thought provocing(sp) talk on American Idol was a classic.

  • kritter

    Entropy- the reason 97% of conservatives think that the media has a liberal bias is because they are told so daily by Rush, Sean, Billo and Savage!

    I think almost every journalist has some bias, but most try to hide it. Cable news doesnt’ really even attempt it, nor does talk radio. CBS’ Bob Schieffer is the closest I can come to a journalist with absolutely no bias, but he is one of a dying breed.

    There are many conservatives in the media who make no attempt to hide their bias— for every Olbermann there is a Brit Hume or a Tucker Carlson-
    The slightly liberal WaPo is offset by the conservative Washington Times, The NYT, by the New York Post.

  • domajot

    It’s vital to separate perceived bias from actual bias.

    I you listen to callers on C-Span, many think that FOX is the only true blue unbiased news outlet. There is a natural tendency to see everything that disagrees with your own viewpoint as biased.

    Another thing is that people buy the message.
    Once the message of ‘liberal MSM’ has been heard a few hundred times, it begins to sound like a schoolbook text.

    I’m also troubled by this phenomenon of minute by minute polling. The announced results end up being just another media message. If you hear that John Doe is behind in the polls, you begin to think of him as a loser and might opt to vote for someone else.

    The ‘truth’ is a very elusive lady.

  • domajot

    PS re the bias poll-

    Once we hear that X% of the public thinks the media are biased, that knowledge is likely to influence our answers in the next poll, because this poll told us it was so.
    And round and round it goes.

  • Marlowecan

    Gray said: “…pls don’t feed the political enemy.”

    Why not? Conservatives like to eat babies and tender virgins, feeding the scraps to our dragons in the backyard.

    Yes, Gray, I remember…”Do you remember admitting that corporations tend to be more conservative?”…actually, I even cited that in my comment just above yours! LOL

    Your Alzheimer’s is at a more advanced stage than my own.

    Rudi does have a point about POV though: “ask a netrooter about bias, they would say MSM is conservative.”

    However, I suspect the Libural attacks on the MSM for being conservative are in bad faith. They KNOW the media is liberal…they just hammer those who dare to go off the reservation.

    Kritter said: “the reason 97% of conservatives think that the media has a liberal bias is because they are told so daily by Rush, Sean, Billo and Savage!”

    Humbug. Kritter, I noted this the other day, but the executive producer of “60 Minutes 2” who greenlighted the Rathergate story, was a senior advisor to 5 (!) Democratic presidential campaigns from McGovern to Mondale.

    Find me a similar senior network executive at NBC or CNN or ABC or CBS — or even Fox — that is that closely linked to the GOP.

    I doubt you will be able to. PEW and other reputable surveys over the years have confirmed the political affliliations of individuals reporters as being overwhelmingly Democratic. Their corporate masters yank their chains, I must admit (thank you Gray!) so that they don’t upset the capitalist gravy train…but the media is nonetheless overwhelmingly liberal.

  • Marlowecan

    Domajot said: “It’s vital to separate perceived bias from actual bias.”

    That is the sticky question. Lots of good journalists keep their biases in check. Some don’t. Some are even paid to be rabid beasts.

    Most surveys over the years have found journalists individually voting Democratic by about 70%. Slate – a liberal online magazine – actually polled its staff for the 04 vote and found over 90% voting Kerry (although this is no surprise if one reads Slate’s articles).

    Gray is right in regard to the influence of corporations, I admit. Actually, Chomsky says this in “Manufacturing Consent” and I think this is true. Liberal journalists attack Bush…but don’t question systems as a whole.

    But contrary to Gray’s view — who represents an entire front of the Axis of Anti-Conservatism on his own it seems 🙂 — I do think the media skews liberal on everyday politics and issues.

  • I’ll say one thing. If there’s a bias in the media that NO ONE can deny, it’s bias against third parties and Indepedents in America. Democratic and Republican presidential candidates suffer from no lack of media attention and even have the media following them around, writing stories about everything little thing they say or do. Third party and Independent candidates, on the other hand, have to practically beg the media to actually conduct interviews with them and address issues that the two major parties refuse to address.

    Sometimes, the media is extremely biased, and yet it’s hard to quantify whether this bias is more in a liberal or a conservative direction.

    Case in point: The other day on Fox News, resident warmonger Morton Kondracke made a statement that was FLAT OUT WRONG. After Senator Hagel made his announcement that he will not be entering the presidential race at this time, Mr. Kondracke said, “There is no anti-war candidate in the GOP field.”

    The only problem is, that statement was incorrect. There was (and is) indeed an anti-war candidate in the GOP field–Republican Congressman Ron Paul, who just happens to be the most consistently anti-war politician in Washington. Ron Paul officially declared his candidacy the same day Hagel made his non-annoucenment and before Kondracke made this statement.

    One wonders, is Kondracke, a pundit for a major news network, too ignorant to know that there’s Republican anti-war candidate running for president. Or does did he know that Ron Paul is running and purposely neglect to mention him?

    Blantantly wrong! But is it bias? And if so, is it “liberal” bias or “conservative” bias? Kondracke “conveniently” neglected to mention the candidacy of Ron Paul, a Republican, so maybe it’s an example of “liberal” bias. On the other hand, Ron Paul is the most consistent critic of the war and regularly criticizes the Bush administration, so maybe neglecting his candidacy is an example of “conservative” bias.

    Another case in point: Back in October of 2004, two presidential candidates were ARRESTED for peacefully protesting at the presidential debates (which they were conveniently excluded from by the Democrats and Republicans who make of the committee than runs the debates). Libertarian Party presidential candidate Michael Badnarik and Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb attempted to deliver a letter of protest to the debates and were arrested.

    One would think two PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES being ARRESTED for PEACEFUL PROTEST at the site where the PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES are taking place would make big news. Yet I didn’t hear about it on the cable networks, and it was little mentioned on the blogosphere save for Libertarian- and Green-friendly sites.

    What it all comes down to is while you Democrats and Republicans whine about how the media is biased in favor of the other side, you conveniently neglect to mention how the new networks, and talk radio, and the newspapers, and the committee on presidential debates are almost exclusively controlled by Democrats and Republicans, who go out of their way to exclude third party candidates and independents. Your Democratic and Republican heroes that you so righteously defend have rigged the system in their favor to ensure that no matter horrible they are, they’re always assured of getting no worse than second place in an election.

    Listening to Democrats and Republican quibble about bias is SO ridiculous. It’s like watching a Democrat and a Republican sitting down at a table with pie between the two of them–each arguing whose half is bigger. Meanwhile, the Independent, the Libertarian, the Green, and the Constitionalist are forced to sit on the kitchen floor and pick at the few crumbs that fall from the table.

    Yep. There’s bias alright. And the fact that so may of you are so quick to think in terms of “Democrat versus Republican” or “liberal versus conservative” shows just how pervasive this bias truly is.

  • domajot

    I hoped to get a reaction to my observation re THE EFFECT OF POLLS ON SUBSEQUENT POLLS.

    We hear it day in and day out: the media are biased, the media are biased. Then, surprise, polls show that people see the media as being biased. It’s, seemingly, been confirmed by the poll results now: the media are biased.

    When the next poll rolls around, the pollees will just echo this much hullabood message about media bias.

    Poll results serve, in many ways, like ad campaigns. They send a message that influences perception.

    Independent thinking becomes harder and harder.

    What do you think?

  • domajot

    nicrivera –
    You are right about Independents.

    In a two party system, where the Indies have to caucus with one party or the other, it will be a while before media attitudes change, though.

  • kritter

    “Humbug. Kritter, I noted this the other day, but the executive producer of “60 Minutes 2″ who greenlighted the Rathergate story, was a senior advisor to 5 (!) Democratic presidential campaigns from McGovern to Mondale”

    Marlowe- but the issue isn’t whether you can link a producer to a campaign, but whether they emphasize one party’s bad news over another.FNC may not have executives that have worked with GOP presidential candidates, but Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes are big contributors. When Bush was in trouble before the election, he called conservative columnists and talk radio hosts to the WH to get GOP talking points out. So there’s bias on both sides.

    The media had a heyday with the Swiftboating story about John Kerry, which was never on very solid ground, and was obsessed for months about Monica’s little blue dress in Zippergate!

  • Marlowecan

    Kritter said: “The media had a heyday with the Swiftboating story about John Kerry, which was never on very solid ground, and was obsessed for months about Monica’s little blue dress in Zippergate!”

    I will disagree with you about the Swiftboat. As I recall, the media resisted this story for the longest time, and it took a major effort by the Right Wing Noise Machine (which I must admit was successful in this case) to get the story out there.

    As for Monica’s dress…that was all about sex! Sex trumps everything in America, Kritter. I mean, look at the media meltdown over Anna Nicole Smith. That was lunacy, over an inftlatable, not very talented, former model.

    I never understood Whitewater first or last…made no sense to me whatsoever, and I follow politics…but Monica’s dress was an easy thing to grasp.

    Nicrivera makes a great point, I think: “I’ll say one thing. If there’s a bias in the media that NO ONE can deny, it’s bias against third parties and Indepedents in America.”

    This is an example of the “systemic” bias in US media. The media rip strips off Bush…like they did Clinton…but reporters never question the system as a whole. They pumped up the Ross Perot in 92, because he undermined the GOP vote, not because he was an alternative voice.

    In defense of the US system, though, it is more open than the technocratic structure of France or Italy, where everything is decided in the backroom. There may seem choice in those systems…between socialists and the right…but the choices are limited to different brands of statists, that’s all.

  • BrianOfAtlanta

    I hoped to get a reaction to my observation re THE EFFECT OF POLLS ON SUBSEQUENT POLLS.

    We hear it day in and day out: the media are biased, the media are biased. Then, surprise, polls show that people see the media as being biased. It’s, seemingly, been confirmed by the poll results now: the media are biased.

    Well, that certainly explains why Bush’s approval numbers went into a death spiral!

    Or not.

    I’m not sure how far you can take this line of reasoning. People are not that easily led around, I would think, especially about something which is confirmed or denied every time they turn on the news.

  • domajot

    I’m not sure how much influence polls have, either. That’s why I went fishing for other views.

    I suspect, though, they do have some influence.
    When we look for confirmation or denial of bias in news, we are looking with a pre-conditioned eye. It’s similar to the effect of advetising. If the “American people’ think that something is true, it conditions you to look for the tiniest evidence of confirmation, something you may not see without the pre-conditioning message that it’s there, and all you have to do is find it.

  • MichaelF

    Of course the media has a Liberal bias . This explains why :
    For example, a survey in 1992 showed that 89% of Washington, DC, journalists voted for President Clinton in the 1992 Presidential election. These results may explain why throughout 1992, the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) found that more than 70% of the networks’ sound-bites about President Bush were negative, whereas the majority of sound-bites about Governor Clinton were positive.

    Before the 2004 election, the CMPA released a report which showed that on broadcast TV networks and weekly news magazines, evaluations of Sen. Kerry were positive by a 2-to-1 margin, and that over 60% of evaluations of President Bush were negative.

    Some scholars contend that journalists seek a more activist role in reporting, and that this, combined with a liberal slant, produces a liberal media bias.

    They have good reason to think that way .
    A new survey confirms that liberals and Democrats dominate the major media.

    The website of the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) reports the findings from a new book, “The American Journalist in the 21st Century: US News People at the Dawn of a New Millennium.” It finds that 40 percent of journalists described themselves as being on the left side of the political spectrum and conservatives were only 25 percent. Moderates made up 33 percent.

    If that is not enough proof for you read this :

    Study Finds Liberal Media Bias Is Real
    A three year study of the past 10 years of major media news stories, by led by UCLA political scientist Tim Groseclose, finds that media bias is real and that the term “liberal media” is a good description for the top 20 media outlets.

    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. Don’t do a double take, you read that right. The news pages of The Wall Street Journal led the list of left leaning coverage. Editorial and Opinion pieces were not included in the study – only news stories.

    From the UC News Wire press release:

    “I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican,” said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study’s lead author. “But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are.”

    “Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left,” said co author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.

    The results appear in the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, which will become available in mid-December.

    So how did they measure bias?
    Groseclose and Milyo based their research on a standard gauge of a lawmaker’s support for liberal causes. Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) tracks the percentage of times that each lawmaker votes on the liberal side of an issue. Based on these votes, the ADA assigns a numerical score to each lawmaker, where “100” is the most liberal and “0” is the most conservative. After adjustments to compensate for disproportionate representation that the Senate gives to low population states and the lack of representation for the District of Columbia, the average ADA score in Congress (50.1) was assumed to represent the political position of the average U.S. voter.

    Groseclose and Milyo then directed 21 research assistants – most of them college students – to scour U.S. media coverage of the past 10 years. They tallied the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups, such as the left-leaning NAACP or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation.

    Next, they did the same exercise with speeches of U.S. lawmakers. If a media outlet displayed a citation pattern similar to that of a lawmaker, then Groseclose and Milyo’s method assigned both a similar ADA score.

    “A media person would have never done this study,” said Groseclose, a UCLA political science professor, whose research and teaching focuses on the U.S. Congress. “It takes a Congress scholar even to think of using ADA scores as a measure. And I don’t think many media scholars would have considered comparing news stories to congressional speeches.”

    Read the rest of the surprising results.

    Update: The full report is available [PDF]. Thanks to jc for pointing it out

  • DLS

    Everyone (honest) not only knows but will say that the media are largely liberal. (And so many journalists and non-journalists who say they are “centrist” or “moderate” are, of course, liberals, and either are afraid to say the L-word or are trying to be deceptive, without success. “Independents” are the same way.)

    Fox, which has diverged significantly from the liberal party line, is treated with hatred exactly in the same manner as a traitor (or an apostate by the militantly religious).

    Traitor to what? The liberal party line.

    Polls? Among the journalists or among the public?

    Pew has had polling information on this issue from both the public and from journalists. Plenty of numbers can be seen on the following pages and other pages related to them in various reports. Aggregate numbers also are available. The text below is sufficient for you to decide if you want to view the numbers or not (stay blind).

    Journalists at national and local news organizations are notably different from the general public in their ideology and attitudes toward political and social issues. Most national and local journalists, as well as a plurality of Americans (41%), describe themselves as political moderates. But news people – especially national journalists – are more liberal, and far less conservative, than the general public.

    About a third of national journalists (34%) and somewhat fewer local journalists (23%) describe themselves as liberals; that compares with 19% of the public in a May survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, there is a relatively small number of conservatives at national and local news organizations. Just 7% of national news people and 12% of local journalists describe themselves as conservatives, compared with a third of all Americans.

    In this regard, Internet journalists are similar ideologically to local journalists: 57% describe themselves as moderates, while 27% say they are liberals and 13% conservatives. Local TV and radio journalists include the lowest percentage of liberals of any of the journalist groups surveyed (15%). Even among local TV and radio journalists, however, just 13% describe themselves as conservatives.

    The percentage of national journalists who have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the American public to make good decisions has declined by more than 20 points since 1999. Confidence among local journalists has fallen as well.

    What is going on? …

    … liberal journalists unhappy with President George W. Bush’s policies could be dismayed that the public chose Bush in 2000 and until recently have largely approved of his performance.

    Much has been made of the public’s ideological divisions in this election year, but journalists also are divided along ideological lines over several issues, including press coverage of the Bush administration.

    Most national and local journalists do not believe any national daily news organization is “especially liberal” in its news coverage. … By contrast, solid majorities of both national and local journalists say there is an organization that they think is especially conservative – and for most the organization that comes to mind is Fox News Channel.

    Credibility ratings for the major broadcast and cable television outlets have fallen somewhat in recent years, due in large part to increased cynicism toward the media on the part of Republicans and conservatives. … A similar pattern of waning credibility can be seen for print news outlets. … Entertainment and tabloid news sources receive the lowest ratings overall.

    The falloff in credibility for these news sources is linked to a growing partisan tilt in the ratings. Republicans have traditionally viewed the overall media more skeptically than Democrats and this has long translated into lower credibility ratings from Republicans for most news sources. … But Republicans have become even more negative about the media’s believability, widening the partisan gaps and driving down the overall ratings of several major news organizations. … More surprising is the sharp decline among members of both parties but especially Republicans in ratings for the Wall Street Journal. … Ratings for the NewsHour and the Associated Press also have changed dramatically among Republicans. … Even C-SPAN, the non-profit, public affairs network has seen its ratings become more politicized. … Credibility ratings for the major news networks have not changed as dramatically in recent years, largely because they have long been divided along partisan lines.

    A number of Michael Kelly’s works have featured journalist and media polling data. Example: “Left Everlasting” (two parts)

    Fox News Channel, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the Washington Times … Gore’s “major institutional voices” are in fact minor (although frequently loud) voices in a very large symphony.

    And this symphony has long been considered to be liberal — that is, first of all, largely populated by liberals and, second, often presenting the news from a liberal point of view. Has this been true? Is this still true?

    As to the first, there is no question that journalists as a group are much more liberal than conservative and much more so than the general public. The independent media analyst S. Robert Lichter looked at 10 major surveys on the political beliefs and voting patterns of mainstream print and broadcast journalists from 1962 to 1996.

    … Surveys since have shown no overall change in this dynamic. …

    “Does a (still) largely liberal news media (still) exhibit a largely liberal bias?” — can be answered both as a matter of logic and as a matter of fact, and in both cases, the answer is: Sure. …

    In 17 years of news content analysis, especially of network evening news broadcasts, Lichter’s Center for Media and Public Affairs has consistently found evidence of liberal bias, and this has not changed in the past few years. …

    … right-leaning media such as talk radio … have produced a media universe where anti-establishment right-wingers (and also anti-establishment left-wingers, such as Michael Moore) are able to bypass the establishment media …

    To those long used to a media controlled by, and “news” defined by, their own largely liberal and establishmentarian views, this can seem unfair and wrong — but this is a case of “been up so long, it seems like down to me,” as Lichter puts it. I think to most people it seems more like democracy.

  • DLS

    Gray said:

    > Would be interesting to look into the details. For instance, where there separate
    > questions for bias of TV, radio, and press?

    Look at polling data at Pew (see my previous posting). This doesn’t only distinguish between network, and print media but between local and national media as well as in some places between “old” and Internet media. (News sources also include talk shows as well as magazines.)

    I have seen nothing at Pew so far distinguishing liberal US media from frequently-more-liberal-still foreign media such as European media (the BBC and its notorious bias, the Al-Guardian, Le Monde diplomatique, Deutsche Welle, etc.). Al-Jazeera, we already know about.

  • DLS

    Nic Rivera said:

    > I’ll say one thing. If there’s a bias in the media that NO ONE can deny,
    > it’s bias against third parties and Indepedents in America.

    I cannot stand the establishmentarian conceit palpable in the remarks the “mainstream” (the establishment!) makes about this. I remember Sam Donaldson’s openly shown contempt for Perot in 1992 (between the elder Bush’s failures and Perot’s 19% vote share, that is why Sammy’s beloved Clinton got elected. Up to nearly the elections, nobody had much faith in Clinton, nobody believed Perot would get any votes, and all the Dims were hoping for Mario Cuomo to ride to the rescue.

    I have also seen that the Wall Street Journal is Northeastern establishmentarian and it openly despises third-party and independent candidates as well as any kind of future multi-party system with proportional representation (something I’d like to see in the House of Representatives someday if the small states’ problem of too few seats could be eliminated, possibly through regional allocations instead of state allocations) or the approval vote (for multiple seekers of single-office holders).

    Just wait until someone good strong who isn’t liberal runs as a candidate. The Wall Street Journal will be condescending or contemptuous and people like Limbaugh or Hannity (imitating Limbaugh) will revert defensively to GOP-party-hack mode and attack the independent candidate mercilessly.

  • Entropy

    It seems DLS has pretty much put the issue to rest in a rather conclusive manner.

    Frankly, I’ve never seen a study that ever did not determine that the major media/news outlets are liberal biased.

  • domajot

    Iim not in a position to analyza CMPA or Pew, but as someone who has dealt with statistics and their compilation throughout my working life, I always read reports like this or poll numbers with a grain of salt.

    For example, when CMPA studied PBS, their selection of which programs NOT to include was suspicious to say the least.

    A lot of these studies depend on ranking comments negative or positive, a very subjective method when so much can depend on a raised eyebrow. The rankings are also done by human beings, not machines, so a lot depends on individual perception.

    I’d also like to know what constitutes a negative statement. Is reporting the number killed in Iraq a negative, and therefore reflecting bias toward the administration?

    Let me be clear. I’m not claiming these studies are wrong. I am saying that listing a lot of statistics sounds more authoritative than it is. To judge, you really have to know the methodology and all the other pesky details. Often it is good to know the purpose, as well. With a goal in mind, it is easy to set up the conditions that will prove you right, even though this is usually unintentional.

    These studies show that journalists vote for Democrats. But the inference that they would, then, produce biased news is only an inference, no more than a guess. Maybe it’s a good guess, but we can’t know that from any report.
    CMPA gets funding from some conservative groups. Does that mean they are biased? If I inferred that, I would probably be wrong, because I would have excluded the information that they get funds from other groups as well.

    But you see what I mean about reading too much into any report like this.

  • Thx for the links, DLS. Very interesting. Imho the data shows, that the alleged liberal bias of the media is vastly exaggerated. The vast majority of journalists are moderates, not liberals, and even though there seems to be a widespread belief that the media is leaning left, when asked for details, it’s just 20% of people that cite the NYT as an example (not even the LA Times is mentioned, but I guess Goldberg is doing a good job in moving it to the right). For a conservative example, Fox comes to 40%, but Wash Times and NY Post aren’t even on the list. This shows most people are just parroting talking points, but have next to no personal experience.

  • Entropy

    Lol Gray, spin it all you want. I’m a moderate – very liberal on some issues, quite conservative on others, and I see the media bias all the time – including Fox on the conservative side. I used to watch Fox a lot – they were once a lot more moderate than they are now, but in the past year or so they’ve really gotten bad. The average bias toward the left IS there, it’s undeniable – certainly individual organizations will have different levels of bias. Perhaps it’s more instructive to look at local markets. With the consolidation of media in recent years, most markets are only served by one newspaper – so the bias has a larger influence because of the lack of competition.

    domajot said:

    “A lot of these studies depend on ranking comments negative or positive, a very subjective method when so much can depend on a raised eyebrow. The rankings are also done by human beings, not machines, so a lot depends on individual perception.

    I’d also like to know what constitutes a negative statement. Is reporting the number killed in Iraq a negative, and therefore reflecting bias toward the administration?”

    That’s true, but the problem is also that different people have different definitions of what liberal and conservative mean. To those on the far right, someone like Libermann is a left winger but on the far left he’s considered a right-winger. I don’t know how one can statistically measure what amounts to human cognitive perception in the same way one would measure temperature, for example. Obviously, the details of how the study is conducted matter.

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