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June 05, 2009

Comments

Tim F

Out of curiosity, Chuck, what are those studies, as I'd love to see them and point my friends to them as well.

Thanks!

Tim

Charles Parker

Legitimate polls taken of media representatives do indicate that the vast majority are registered Democrat. While this does not prove work product bias, it certainly depicts personal political thought is generally one-sided.

zero

not necessarily. that study, i wonder how old it is. if more than 5 years old it would be of benefit to have it conducted again. perhaps there's a difference now. as for that particular outcome, however, the reporters (those mostly identified as democrats) do not have the power to decide what will be the final product that gets printed or aired. since all the mainstream media is now owned by big business i seriously question a reporter's clout over ownership, which are mostly republicans. especially with television, those on-air persons that were on abc, cbs, nbc, cnn and then jumped to fox, it is very startling to witness how partisan they became on fox. which causes me to wonder if they really believe the words they spout or if it's the act they assume for the sake of the job. as far as when people think the media has bias, it's been my experience that people think that when a media outlet doesn't agree with their views.

Brad A.

The studies I've seen showed major metropolitan newspapers as biased toward liberal with the many, many more small newspapers as biased toward conservative. I'm not sure of other media.

In political science, studies have shown what amounts to an anti-politics bias in the media, i.e., a bias against any governmental entity. This stems out of Watergate and Vietnam, where the media got a taste of crusade journalism and has continued it since. I think there's some truth to that.

don woolley

I think it depends on the network and the individual host and reporter.

personal opinions:

Most of the national media tilt's way left. Our local newspaper definitely tilts far right.

MSNBC - extremely far left (though I like Andrea Mitchell,and Chris Matthews at times. Chuck Todd is the best thing they have going - incredibly bright guy. The rest of their news shows are like MoveOn.org on tv. I think MSNBC/NBC has largely abandoned journalism or any effort to be balanced - Olbermann and Madow and the mid-day NYT show are particularly awful.)

Fox News (right / far right of center) - I like Special Report with Bret Baier, but not Hannity. I think Bill O'Reilly makes an effort to be balanced at times. His analysis of the dualing speeches (Obama and Cheney) was actually really good.

CNN - decent overall. I especially liked No Bias No Bull with Cambell Brown and Anderson Cooper 360. I think the rest lean left, but not bad. David Gergen is phenomenal and so is Cathy Crowley. Fareed Zakhaia's show is thought provoking.

I watch too many news programs. :-)

William Ockham

Chuck,

I'm a little late to the party, but I'd like to add a different point of view to the debate. The search for media bias is pointless. Charges of media bias are simply tools of partisans trying to 'work the refs'. The real issue is completely orthogonal to the normal left-right debate.

The following ideas are from a 1986 book by Daniel C.Hallin, The Uncensored War. I was first introduced to them by Jay Rosen at PressThink (http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2009/01/12/atomization.html )
Instead of that left-right single dimension, imagine a two dimensional doughnut (two concentric circles). The donut hole is the sphere of legitimate consensus (you know, motherhood and apple pie). If you don't share the views in that area, the media will seem extremely biased. The next circle represents the sphere of legitimate debate. That's the stuff that press covers and allows both sides to offer up their opinion. Outside that circle is the sphere of deviance. That's where you find people that journalists and the political mainstream have decided are unworthy of being heard. That's everybody from Ron Paul, 9/11 truthers, 'Show me Obama's birth certificate' types to anti-war activists, ANSWER, and Amy Goodman. If you're out there (like I am), you never see your views reflected in the mainstream press.

The press isn't even conscious about its role in creating this framework, but it does it every day. As Jay Rosen points out in the article above, it makes this political act in a very unthinking way. There's often a real disconnect between the way the mainstream press (especially the Washington press corps) see these spheres and what public opinion polls show. Many ideas that are shared only by a minority of the public are considered part of the sphere of legitimate consensus.

When you view the press this way, the various claims of media bias look a lot attempts to force the press to change the definitions of those spheres in various ways. A couple of things become immediately clear. Whoever happens to be President can force issues into the sphere of legitimate debate. Other folks have to work hard to do that. Also, this is an important function of the press, but it needs to be done consciously and openly. We really shouldn't be giving a lot of attention to the fake controversy over Obama's birth certificate, but we should never put some thing like the decision to pursue a war of choice in the sphere of legitimate consensus.

zero

bravo! william. that states the case about the press very well. and it's exactly correct. not only does the press marginalize ideas and individuals like ron paul, it systematically winnows the field of candidates for office (like president) until the few that remain are "acceptable" to the establishment. i hate that!!! it drives me crazy. it isn't their right to do this; their role is to present each and the people decide. i'd rather have to wade through a field of wackos to get to one i might support than to have it decided for me and my vote (or not usually) rubber stamps the choices already made.

Watchman

All one has to do is simply turn on the television and will observe the liberal bias emanating from the major news channels, FOX News the exception. I'm a moderate, conservative on some issues while liberal on others. I tend to look at news objectively. I have found AP and Reuters to be the most moderate news sources around.

As for talk radio, most certainly it is replete with conservative bias, no denying that. But it too has its liberal media sources as well, namely NPR and Air America. However, it seems to me that Rush Limbaugh dominates the radio broadcast airwaves.

My conclusion: television is dominated by the Left and radio is dominated by the Right. Therefore, its about even across all media spectrums.

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