Skip to comments.A Measure of Media Bias (research shows Drudge/Fox centrist, NYT far liberal)
Posted on 06/22/2004 9:25:39 AM PDT by Tamzee
click here to read article
I have been saying the same thing for years. It's about time somebody agrees with me. LOL
You're welcome, TexKat!
Since this analysis is based on data from the 1990s it cannot shed light on that question.
In fact, liberalism in general is a war on historical perspective; the very last thing a liberal wants is to be judged on the results when his proposed nostrum was tried the last time.
The liberal always insists that what he is proposing is new, never tried before. Just as today's paper is new. There is an ineluctable superficiality in the emphasis on novelty which is central to journalism (and to liberalism, for those who think there is a difference between the two). Liberalism is novelty for novelty's sake, in politics. Novelty for novelty's sake can of course only seem to make sense in a world where the status quo seems evil.
If the foundational assumption is that the status quo is evil simply because it is the status quo, then it really doesn't matter whether John Kerry attacks Bush for acting too strongly or too weakly, too late or too soon. It does not matter if the attacks on Bush are a contradictory mishmash, or that any of the criticisms have a factual basis. It only matters that Bush is criticized.
What, then, of the case where liberals actually control the government? Doesn't that mean that they are the status quo and that journalism must attack them? By no means. If liberals ever did control the status quo there would be no freedom in America. Conservatives conserve the traditions of their own culture and nation, and liberals attack it. The American tradition is "to preserve the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity;" American conservatism is the odd form of "conservatism" which conserves the freedom of the people to do things differently than they have been done in the past. The freedom which implies capitalism, which implies that the progress which makes an American secretary's standard of living comparable to that of Queen Victoria in her day (1819-1901).
Thus the anti conservatism that inheres in journalism always implies a lust for governmental power and a tendency to see evil in freedom. In or out of power in the government, liberals always define the "evil status quo" as "whatever can be blamed on the private sector."
Recall the permanent campaign of the x42 administration; it was not so much an administration as an assault on the private sector and on traditions of civility such as respecting the privacy of former WH appointees. With the thinest veneer of legality - if that. Law, after all, is codification of status quo . . .
To me, the issue is not that the mainstream media is leftist to the core, but why. Conspiracy theories aside, I haven't been able to find a reasonable answer to the question. In your travels; have you?
Hey Dan, pour a cup of coffee before you sit down with this one. Enlightening, if not engaging, study ;^)
True enough, but just how many of these groups are household words? Their efforts and observations rarely see the light of day or make it to the public at large where it would do the most good. And not all on this list are conservative, or even centrist, for that matter; FAIR comes to mind.
Well, FGS, I know you have seen my 9/01 opus,
Ultimately I think that "Why are journalists pinko?" is the wrong question. I think the true question is, "Why do otherwise intelligent people take the fox's word that he is guarding the chicken coop?" Why would anyone expect that people who buy ink by the carload would do anything other than maximize the influence of people who buy ink by the carload? The more I study the issue, the less reason I see to expect that journalists have any direct incentive to nurture adherence to fixed rules when they have the option of proposing their own new rules.
"Objective" journalism is a game for liberals; if you are conservative you will not claim to be wise because such a claim is the marker of the unwise, of the sophist. And a claim of objectivity is nothing other than a claim of wisdom. This sneaky way of claiming wisdom without getting called a sophist is quite effective as anticonservative politics, and there is in America little market for explicitly anticonservative politics.
In fact since American conservatism is actually more dynamic and less reactionary than leftism, American leftism has had to adopt ever subtler misnomers as the American public has seen through the cruder ones. Although "socialism" as dictionary-defined is not a misnomer for leftism, its coinage using the root "social" is IMHO a deceit - free-market capitalism is social in nature, and its opposite is actually "government"ism (or "politics"ism) rather than "social"ism. "Governmentism" is however too obviously a synonym for tyranny to be a good brand name for an ideology in America. Thus, leftist tyranny has been variously labeled "socialism," "liberalism," "progressivism," and (lately) "moderation." And of course the fact that anticonservatism is the product of people who do nothing but write is a fabulous advantage when a re branding of leftism becomes advantageous.
OTOH conservative journalism can only sail openly under the banner of "conservatism." Anyone who is not liberal but assays to commit journalism is greeted with an overwhelming propaganda barrage from pseudo-objective journalism - "Not a journalist, not objective." Thus "conservative journalist" is considered an oxymoron, but in fact conservatives do indeed do journalism. It's journalism, but it goes under the name "talk radio." I think that Rush is coming alive to the threat of a revival of the Fairness Doctrine which is implicit in "Campaign Finance Reform," and is attacking the idea of "objective journalism" with his "CBS, N-BS, A-BS" formulation. The article starting this thread is obviously wonderful ammunition in that campaign, which is sure to come as the election approaches.
I dunno, FGS, I guess you can call that a conspiracy theory if you want - but everything I discuss is pretty much an open secret, don't you agree?
Just curious, but would you exclude, say, broadcast and internet "journalism"? Taking issue somewhat, and splitting a hair, but would "the perspective of journalism" still be protected if their news in fact takes on a seditious nature? Which in fact they come very close to doing IMO. They are using 1st amendment cover to shred the rest of our Constitution. That ain't nice. Maybe it would be different if their social-isms were more prominent on the editorial pages and less prominent on the front pages. But that would give away the game.
Ultimately I think that "Why are journalists pinko?" is the wrong question.
Really? I think it goes to the heart of the matter. Pink journalism disguised as news is NOT the natural state of things. The fact that virtually ALL of mainstream media are bleeding hearts defies logic. So it would seem there is a "plan" at work here which yields pink journalism. And that "plan" doesn't appear to have the best interests of our republic in mind. That is a major problem and getting the answer to why we have pink journalism would go a long way shining some light on the problem, IMO.
I think the true question is, "Why do otherwise intelligent people take the fox's word that he is guarding the chicken coop?"
I don't have an answer for that one, but I bet shrinks could come up with a few that would get pretty close. Fact of the matter is, mankind has been led astray by snake oil salesmen since the beginning of time. THAT won't likely change in our lifetimes, human nature being what it is. The brighter bulbs(a perception thang) on the tree will always outshine the dimmer ones...for a time. It is the nature of the brighter bulbs that ultimately set the course. Their nature should be investigated closely, eh?
The rest of your remarks deserve a response, but I've run out of leisure time, so must leave it as is.
Good points. This study, like any good academic study, is limited and focused. All it sets out to do is examine the rate at which media outlets cite various think tanks in pure news stories and rate political orientation of the outlets based on the think tanks used. The political orientation of a think tank is determined from how often it is cited by Congressman and Senators with known political biases.
The result is limited in scope and far from proving a liberal media bias. The conclusion is simply that most media sources cite the same think tanks as a moderately left of center Congressman in news stories. Implicit is the assumption that elected Democrats and Republicans are accurate barometers of liberalism and conservatism as a whole, which is perhaps the weakest link in the study. There also does not seem to be any discrimination in what types of stories are reported because that may well affect the think tanks consulted. And, like you pointed out, editorial content, in particular editorial comments by anchors during a broadcast, is an important factor in media bias.
In sum, the result is something most people accept: the news is reported from a moderately liberal perspective. Claims that conservatives dominate the news or that the mainstream media is far-left are not supported by this study. Given that reporters describe themselves as socially liberal but economically conservative, this is not that surprising.
Now, it'd be instructive to see a similar study on editorial content in news broadcasts with the same level of objective rigour or a study looking at which Congressman and Senators are cited in reports since that is even more direct than the methods used in this study.
I don't know how I missed this earlier, but I did.
Thank you, belatedly, for posting this important study.
Do the major media outlets in the U.S. have a liberal bias? Few questions evoke stronger opinions, and we cannot think of a more important question to which objective statistical techniques can lend their service. So far, the debate has largely been one of anecdotes ("How can CBS News be balanced when it calls Steve Forbes tax plan wacky?") and untested theories ("If the news industry is a competitive market, then how can media outlets be systematically biased?").The newspaper industry is a system of very limited competition for the simple reason that its members are associated.
They are members of the Associated Press, in fact - and that produces the system in which all claim that all are objective.
And that leads directly to their inability to see that their own incentive to hype their own importance - which motivates story selection and emphasis in very standardized, formulaic ways (Man Bites Dog, not Dog Bites Man; If it bleeds it leads, and so forth) - is a powerful leftist bias shared by all commercial, mass-market journalism.
*bump for later*
Interesting. The data is from the 1990’s so some things have changed. For example, the NY Times, the LA Times, and ABC have all moved much further left.
...As in National Health Care covering up the abominable Medicare/Medicaid. The liberal even tries a new term for himself, "progressive" to provide cover for the stolen concept "liberal" that was hijacked by "SOCIALIST" deceivers.
Thanks for the ping/posts c_I_c. OUTSTANDING thread. Thanks to every poster/linker/researcher/educator/scientist.
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