December 19, 2005

Newsflash! UCLA study concludes American media has a liberal bias. Film at 11.
  • Um a. Who put up the money for the study??>? And um b. - if you read carefully they are comparing like with like and then skewing results this sucks as research what do the peer reviews say???? c. Hey they validated Rupert Murdoch what more can I say?????????? time to fade off i am very bitter and twisted this evening but damn i will have my 20 cents worth even if it is blither!
  • It's weird, but in the east Texas city of 15,000 that I live in, the paper has run far more anti-Bush editorials than I would give them credit for. Even the columnists in the ranch & farm newsmagazine here roasted Bush for destroying small agriculture and shipping jobs off to China. But I'm not fooling myself -- this county will vote red and give tax breaks for the next toxic sludge company that wants to move here.
  • I don't doubt this, but keep in mind that the right in this country advocates torture, happily invades foreign countries based on fraudulant information or *NEWSFLASH* no reason whatsoever. The conservative party utterly discounts non-American lives, including civilians that we're presumably rescuing, and indeed devalues American lives -- can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, you know. It also supports unauthorized wiretapping and generally restricted liberties for Americans (ironically, to protect us from terrorists who "hate our freedom") and shits on our Constitution whenever it's convenient. So I'm not surprised to hear that the American media has a "liberal bias". Maybe if it leaned a little more left, it'd be sane.
  • (I started to tag the above post with supporting links, including contradictory video clips from Dear Leader Himself, but no Bush supporter would believe any of 'em anyhow. Liberal media, you know...)
  • This is very interesting, but I think it is ultimately misleading to say that the newsmedia is "leftist" based on this research. The actual paper is available on his homepage and in the abstract to the paper states:
    We measure media bias by estimating ideological scores for several major media outlets. To compute this, we count the times that a particular media outlet cites various think tanks and policy groups, then compare this with the times that members of Congress cite the same groups. Our results show a strong liberal bias: all of the news outlets we examine, except Fox News’ Special Report and the Washington Times, received scores to the left of the average member of Congress.
    So this is really saying that news outlets are to the left of Congress. But wait, which party is currently in control of Congress? Isn't it the Republican party? Therefore, even if a news outlet were strictly in the center, then they would appear to the left of the majority of Congress. So this study doesn't really make any direct correlation between the political bias of the media in relationship to the public.
  • Couldn't you just say that in general, reporters have a less clueless understanding of the world, when compared with the overall voting public? That is their job, finding out about the world.
  • Stripe - reporters have a less clueless understanding most of which is tainted by subjective rather than objective points of view and (God forbid) editorial policy. The media now gives the general uninformed public a point of view rather than a series of subjective reports. (Seen it too much with too few media outlets in a generally politically ill informed and apathetic voting public) Got very cynical about it all thus the Murdoch comments and apologies to those who still believe in a free press
  • 'News' generally isn't agreeing with the government of the day, it's generally in reporting the failures of the government of the day. I'll take a stab and guess, for similar reasons as jccalhoun, that if the Democrats were in power, then the very same study would suggest that the media had a conservative leaning. Having said which, the method the UCLA study used seems like a very arbitrary way to assess political bias in the media. It seems in trying to find an unbiased method they've come up with a study that implies that it's actually meaningful that media outlets don't mention thinktanks as often as politicians do.
  • Keep in mind that the idea of an objective press is a relatively new idea. As late as a century ago, most newspapers in the US were overtly partisan, often serving as house organs for the various political and ideological pov's that were locally prominent. The idea being, that you got the paper for which pov you espoused, and perhaps checked others for their take on events. While it wasn't objective news reportage by any stretch of the imagination, there were also a LOT more newspapers. As media companies developed and reduced competition (and with the rise of TV news), the idea of an objective reportage grew until it became the norm. TV news was supposed to have killed the traditional newspaper by all pronosticators' accounts, but the reality was that TV and print journalism addressed different markets for information, and so for a while both grew, to my mind in tandem - the proximity of the TV news prompted more people to seek out more detailed accounts in newspapers. Then came the internet, which apes, in many ways, the conditions that existed in newspapering prior in the 17th-19th centuries - every pov has it's own cadre, now, of websites espousing its agenda. However, the net and newspapers occupy the same place in the news market - detailed, text based information. So while TV served (or imo augmented) the printed news, the net is strangling it with faster deployment, wider sources, and (yes) ideologically tinctured reportage. Add to that the capability of the net to bring many of the best parts of TV to the audience, and the long-term decline of print advertising inches, and you have (voila) declining circulations amongst print outlets, constant mergers and cost-cutting measures to try and ameliorate them, &c. A widening gyre. In the interim, it seems that most newspapers continue to resolutely misunderstand the threat the internet poses to them (we survived TV, we can survive anything! they seem to say), and fail to even attempt to staunch the hemorrhage of readership, even as the quality of their reportage declines. That last bit, to me, is telling. I think that, once the internet has taken over the news-dissemination job from print, the largest web outlets for news will have one criteria by which they can differentiate themselves in a marketplace where the consumer can literally access any news-site with a mouseclick: credibility. Only those sites that strictly maintain the quality of their coverage will retain readership. I think the NYT and the WSJ have good starts in this - but it is something that they will have to continually ensure - see, for instance, the example of Drudge Report, who garnered significant credibility points by breaking the Lewinsky story, but them watched them bleed away through an incremental sink into partisanship and error. One big story does not an long-term outlet make. My view is that we will see a few large media outlets, like the aforementioned, maintain a hold on credibility based on their massiveness and comprehensiveness; a host of smaller, overtly partisan and/or idealistic sites that will run the spectrum of credibility and pretty much obliterate the objectivity<->subjectivity line, and thousands of localized "neighborhood news" sites that will be seen is highly credible in their specific, highly delineated regions.
  • When you redefine right-wing extremism as the center, most *everything* will show a "liberal bias"...
  • Just want to remind everyone that the artificial dichotomy of which we speak is caused by the media. The Authoritarian Right is as bad as the Authoritarian Left. We lone voices in the wilderness of the Libertarian Right are doubly left out of the current discourse -- the general media (which almost certainly has an economically-left bias) and the "conservative" media (which doesn't seem to have much problem with W taking a crap on the 4th Amendment) have pretty much isolated a huge (and generally far more reasonable) chunk of the right-of-center in the US.
  • RE: the liberal/conservative dichotomy being caused by the media. Media coverage is certainly a part of the problem, but only a part and not the root cause. Part of the issue is that politics is just pretty damn complex --newspapers simplify their articles on scientific breakthroughs too. But I think a bigger factor is the way the US government is set up, which is conducive to the two-party system, This means that those parties are going to have a vested interest in the consolidation of political views. (hear any news about 3rd party candidates in the presidential candidate debates last year?) Ultimately I tend to place most of the blame not just at the feet of the corporate consolidations of media in the past 15 years, but also with those actors who do not find healthy public discourse to be to their advantage. (corporations in general)