Skip to comments.How Biased Are the Media, Really? (Not much says WaPo; Free Republic mentioned)
Posted on 04/28/2012 6:13:59 AM PDT by kristinn
Charges of media bias have been flying like a bloody banner on the campaign trail. Newt Gingrich excoriated the elite media in a richly applauded moment during one of the Republican debates. Rick Santorum chewed out a New York Times reporter. Mitt Romney said this month that he faces an uphill battle against the press in the general election.
Meanwhile, just about every new poll of public sentiment shows that confidence in the news media has hit a new low. Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed by the Pew Research Center in the fall said the media tend to favor one side compared with 53 percent who said so in 1985.
But have the media really become more biased? Or is this a case of perception trumping reality?
In fact, theres little to suggest that over the past few decades news reporting has become more favorable to one party. Thats not to say researchers havent found bias in reporting. They have, but they dont agree that one side is consistently favored or that this favoritism has been growing like a pernicious weed.
So why the rise in the publics perception of media bias? A few possibilities:
l T he media landscape has changed.
Theres more media and more overtly partisan media outlets, too. The Internet has given rise to champions of the left Huffington Post, Daily Kos, etc. as well as more conservative organizations such as Drudge and Free Republic. This means your chance of running into news that seems biased has increased exponentially, elevating the impression that bias is pervasive throughout all parts of the media.
Theres a kind of self-fulfilling perception to it, said Robert Lichter, a pioneering media-bias researcher who heads the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University...
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Can't say I disagree here. For the past few decades, the media has been in the tank for the Dems. We on the right just have the means to make that clear now.
Well if academia agrees with journalists, it must be true.
Pray for America
I always rely on people employed by the main-stream media when they tell me how unbiased the main-stream media is.
After all, the reason we have an FDA is because companies that manufacture food and drugs are the best evaluators of their own products.
The reason we have an SEC is because banks and stock brokerage firms are the best evaluators of their own standards of behavior.
Do I really need the </s> tag?
THAT'S the reason. NOT the fact that YOU, the WASHINGTON POST, routinely ignores information damaging to the Obamas.... like, Fast and Furious, like the connections between operatives (Sandra Fluke, Hilary Rosen) and the Administration, and like the many bureaucratic abuses under Obama. NOT that you routinely editorialize to give cover to the Obamas, and NOT that your editorialization is steadily injected into your 'news'.
No no no. It's Free Republic.
And the Libs pine for the good ol' days when America was propagandized and did not know it. But unfortunately for the Goebbelists, it takes but one time for the uninitated to be exposed to media bias of the left and these newly-aware people are forever wary of anything called "news". I know because I am one of these.
I'd agree, but consider where we were a few decades ago:
Environmental Cancer - A Political Disease?(1999)
...a further comparison - between the views of the two groups(environmental groups and cancer research groups)and the content of television and newspaper accounts over a two-decade period - shows that press reports most frequently cite the views of environmental activists as if they were the views of the scientific community. These findings cast doubt on the objectivity of the news media and environmental activists. And, the authors conclude, misplaced fears about the risks of environmental cancer have seriously distorted public policy and priorities.
Good Intentions Make Bad News: Why Americans Hate Campaign Jouralism(1995)
This text outlines how campaign journalism has evolved since the 1970s, concluding that media partisanship plays a disproportionate role in determining electoral outcomes.
This guy was right on top of the media bias back in the 90's when he wrote most of his insightful books on the media.
Delusions are very comforting when you are trying to maintain the illusion that organizations like The New York Times, NBC News, ABC News and the Washington Post itself are objective observers and reporters. This Robert Licter of George Mason University, tenured and liberal. Now there is no reason to suspect he is biased and no doubt his word on the subject should never be questioned. Another example where Americans are being conditioned to abandon personal critical thinking and accept the dictum of government sanctioned “experts”.
Comparing the news outlets and the internet sites is apples and oranges. One reports their version of the news and the other discusses it. The problem is “their version” is biased when it should be just the facts.
It may not be the reportage per se, but the method, frequency and tone.
While they may report on the malfeasance of a democRAT they rarely mention the party affiliation in the first few words as they do for a republican.
Also the choice of what leads above the fold, or ends up on page B12. That is the bias that is unspoken.
A glaring example is the Fast and Furious program, the birth certificate, et al. An absolute refusal to pursue issues that reflect badly on those that they are simpatico with amounts to bias.
It's obvious this guy has had a few sips of kool-aid. His 1990's books (past few decades?) stated the exact opposite of his statement today:
In fact, theres little to suggest that over the past few decades news reporting has become more favorable to one party
And the Libs pine for the good ol’ days when America was propagandized and did not know it. But unfortunately for the Goebbelists, it takes but one time for the uninitated to be exposed to media bias of the left and these newly-aware people are forever wary of anything called “news”.
You might also add that as revenues decline for the various “newspapers” they have had to lay off more and more “real” reporters and have turned to large news disseminators like AP and Reuters for most of their non-local news. And that means that newspapers around the country all look like each other and have a homogenous point of view.
There's a big difference, sites like Huffington generates their own biased news to bolster MSM bias. We here at Free Republic read bias news and shred it apart.
Free Republic is pretty much a free-for-all of news that is out there, our 'bias' is the process of breaking down and debunking news that's bias.
Liars say they aren’t dishonest.
I don’t think the major networks and print media are outright biased in their reporting.... In the sense that they knowingly take sides on purpose....
Obviously cable outlets like MSNBC should run a disclaimer “We are ass clowns “ before broadcasting their shows
What they do is not report the other side or leave out information or not even report at all important aspects of stories... When they are unfavorable to their POV...
Think it would be something worth doing over a flagon or two of amusing brew?
WaPo op-ed title s/b “How Stupid and Gullible Do We Think The Public Is?”. Thanks kristinn.
First the NYT addresses their problem of cheer leading for Obama and announcing the game is up. Now the Washington Post comes up with a bs article claiming the media are not biased and the public perception that the media is slanted is all wrong.
They are worried. The Obama media orchestrated public enchantment has worn off and the public knows they have been manipulated and screwed by deceiptful, smash mouth radicals. Yet again.
I distinctly remember flipping through the TV during the national nightly news of ABC/CBS/NBC back in the early 1990's, and seeing essentially the same broadcast! It was these networks, the New York Times and the Washington Post who set the agenda and provided the bulk of the "news".
Then we got the internet along with the watershed moment of Matt Drudge revealing the Monica Lewinsky story; it was all downhill from there for the liberal hegemony of "news". Boo Hoo.
The WaPo author has a point. Before alternative media, the MSM could say what they pleased, and ignore what didn't fit their desired narrative, and the average person would not know that the news was being slanted.
Today, when people see that stories like "Fast and Furious", the Wichita Massacre, the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom are ignored, when you see that the pics of Trayvon Martin that get plastered in the news are from when he was 12 and compare that to later thug pics, it's hard to escape the conclusion that you are being played by the MSM.
I have the same experience, in the late 1960's and throughout the 1970's. I was a kid, and I noted the same segment on the same topic aired at the same time. I used to make a game of trying to get them to complete eachothers sentences.
Sometimes, I actually succeeded. It was that bad.
The Columbia School of Journalism, for the last couple of generations -- make that three or four generations -- has surveyed entering J-school students about their reasons for entering journalism.
Starting in the late 40's, and certainly in the 1950's, Columbia noticed a rise in the proportion of students who cited, as their main reason for choosing journalism, a desire to "improve" society and benefit their fellowman -- liberalism, IOW. (And Marxism -- Columbia was a "little Red schoolhouse as long ago as the 1930's, so said ex-Communists like Louis Budenz.)
Vance Packard, in one of his social-criticism books in the 1960's, noted that the proportion by then had risen to over half, nearly 2/3's, of incoming classes. The proportion rose to 90% in the 1970's and 1980's and has been pegged-out ever since.
Confirming this takeover of journalism by ideological liberals and "progs" (neo-Stalinists), journalists who continued -- and continued to this day -- to profess themselves "independent", voted for George McGovern, the old Henry Wallace delegate and "prog" Stalinist, by 9:1 in the 1972 election that saw Nixon sweep 49 States.
It would be nice to know what percentage of "journalists" voted for Obozo. I should imagine it was something like, well, 100% -- total commitment, total true-believer over-the-cliffness.
This is actually BRILLIANT.
Make the award monthly, and pick a reporter with wider name recognition who has been particularly egregious (not that Bernstein wasn't).
Good point about Drudge breaking the Lewinsky story.
After the fact, we learned that the Washington Post and Newsweek had the Lewinsky story, but had been sitting on it for months! They had declined to publish that story. The reason? Because Bill Clinton was a good Democrat, and they didn’t want to go with a story which would bring him down.
Ask yourselves if the Post or N.Y. Times or any liberal outlet would have sat on an explosive story such as Lewinsky if a Republican president would have been the target.
Do you think it was what advertisers call "roadblocking"? Making sure everybody watching the news gets the same message at the same time (no "leakage")? Or more a case or "conscious parallelism"?
See my last re contrast of press and public political orientation. The public might not have known it, but the press pukes had to know McGovern was an old Prog Stalinist.
The Internet has given rise to champions of the left Huffington Post, Daily Kos, etc. as well as more conservative organizations such as Drudge and Free Republic. This means your chance of running into news that seems biased has increased exponentially, elevating the impression that bias is pervasive throughout all parts of the media.
Actually, the majority of the stories are gathered on these sites. They are not written researched or reported by these sites. The reportage is by the MSM, by and large. Yes occasionally one of the mentioned sites will break a story a story like BJ-gate and Rather-gate. But not all that often...so the bias IS in the MSM.
And as others have mentioned: NOT reporting or researching a story is just as damningly biased like fake birth certificates and fast and furious.
“In fact, theres little to suggest that over the past few decades news reporting has become more favorable to one party.”
You’re not fooling anyone, you know?
I’d be interested to hear of those who said “the media favors one side” which side they think it favors.
When they say “the right” I’ll know it’s time to lie down in my hobbit hole and give up the ghost.
“I know because I am one of these.”
Truly, it is liberating ne’cest pas?
Of course that's just a straw man. If 90% of the media is liberal and 10% is conservative, then one side isn't consistently favored. They're not addressing the question of whether the media "slants heavily to the left."
I remember that too. It still happens. The same set of stories covered the same way by different networks. It gives me the impression that the various news producers tend to chat with each other, sharing choice lines and spin, before doing the scripts for their shows. We saw it happened with the JournoList online forum, where we found out how hundreds of media and news people got together to hash out what the spin should be on stories.
If anybody thinks that such consensus-building meetings weren't going on for decades before, in cocktail parties, news people getting together in bars, etc, etc, I have a bridge to sell you.
SF authors John Ringo and Tom Krattman at one point made note that, at the higher levels, the Left is not a conspiracy, it is a consensus.
The Left talks among themselves. They attach great importance to ideological purity, something all of us have probably noticed when we reveal a conservative viewpoint to a Lefty acquaintance, friend, or relative, and suddenly we suddenly turn into "unpersons". We have revealed our ideological impurity and are therefore unfit to associate with.
Think about the implications of that in the news field, where so much depends on reputation, on people recommending you for assignments and promotions, where people spend time talking about people. Those who do not "fit" the ideological conformity are driven out of the group, into the Outer Darkness. Look at what happened to Juan Williams. He was made an example of what happens when you stray. I'm sure it was a lesson that was not lost on the rest of the leftist MSM: strive to stay within the Consensus, or be cast out to starve.
That effect is called Stockholm syndrome. Well keep on keeping on then.
Is this the same WaPo that apologized the week after the 2008 election for their love affair with Obama?
When my son was only a child we drove past the St Petersberg Times rack. He said, Wow, Gore is so much taller than Bush”.
Even kids notice. It’s the small things - the conservative point of view in the bottom half of the article, the “Here is Mr Kennedy, and now far-right Jesse Helms”, the interest in digging through Palin’s garbage while totally ignoring Obama’s associations with criminals, the rapidity with which a scandal involving a conservative appears in the news while only the Enquirer chases John Edwards down the stairs.
Over and over and over.
Excuse me, we aren’t stupid.
Yes, you’ve got it. That is the phrase.
I was just remembering with my brother, when the NY Times went on strike (their union workers I really don’t remember who exactly it was on strike) years ago and they were out for a while, maybe a week or 10 days.
During this time some folks (it was said they were actual NY Times folks, but I don’t know if that is true) started publishing a “Not The New York Times” little give-away paper, just a few pages, but looking just like the real thing (although I’m pretty sure it was smaller) and they were handing it out in midtown.
The Times unions picked a bad time to be off (what would be a good time?) and that fake paper’s greatest headline was: POPE DIES YET AGAIN.
My personal recollections of the 1950s and 1960s. Cities had newspapers that represented both sides (and more) back then. Then a not so funny thing happened..
TV news replaced newspapers and one side emerged as dominant, the bias became obvious to conservatives but liberals did not see it. It's what they always did.
My letters of complaint to the TV networks were answered with "We're professionals and you're not."
For example, the networks saw nothing wrong with 24/7 demands that South Viet Nam hold honest, supervised elections as a foreign-inspired insurgency raged; and hardly a discouraging word reported about the COMMUNIST DICTATORSHIP OF THE FOREIGN COUNTRY THAT CREATED THE WAR AND WOULD NEVER HAVE ANYTHING RESEMBLING A HONEST ELECTION.
.. and it wasn't just Walter "Communist North Viet Nam's most trusted man in America" Cronkite waving the "Red, blue, and yellow protest banner" opposing America in the war.
However Time and U.S. News and World Report were real news magazines back then and you could trust them, it seemed to me.
Ah, but remember when Geraldine Ferraro was first put in front of reporters after Mundale picked her as his running mate?
The reporters started to ask some real questions, and Ferraro broke down in frustration, crying something akin to "But..., but..., but you're supposed to be on MY side!"
Between that, and Mudd taking out his good friend EM Kennedy in 1980 with the simple inquiry "Why do you want to be president" (and Mudd's subsequent elimination as a replacement for Cronkite), the "press" got in line with the Dems, as the difference in polls seems to indicate.
(Probably that, and the post-Watergate journalism types got seniority.)
One big flaw in their story, FR doesn’t report news (with rare exceptions), this site is a forum where people comment on news. Of course there will be a bias of opinion to that of the membership. FR doesn’t pretend to be an unbiased media outlet.
The early part of those years there were multiple newspapers in cities all over America representing all sides. Most are gone and disappeared as TV "news" took over.
Do two studies of Media Bias in Presidential Election Coverage 1968-2008: Evaluation via Formal Measurement and get back to us in the morning.
That is one of the great interviews in election history, but I don't know if it reveals bias on the side of the reporter. It's actually the softballiest of softball questions to throw at a candidate. He couldn't have anticipated that Kennedy would stumble so badly.
Kennedy couldn't tell the truth, "Why, I'm a Kennedy! I deserve it," but he couldn't on the fly make up a nice sounding answer for the peasants either.
I recall TV "news" reporting -- I recall that there were days when nothing else was mentioned on the network news. They repeated charges against Nixon, et al. that had been new days ago.
It was a 24/7 frenzy.
.. and nary a word from the networks a few years earlier about the EXACT SAME THINGS (and worse) done during the JFK and LBJ administrations.
I worked with younger folks at the time and everyday they'd be repeating the latest TV network "news" about that "bastard" Nixon.
Sam Jaffe has some attraction .... he was actually caught working for the KGB, and CBS (reluctantly) had to let him go.
What was the name of that annoying New Zealand Red who was running all over South Vietnam, dirking our guys in the back? He'd be another one.
C.P. Snow is probably too old, too long ago (he was part of the "who lost China" crowd).
Among the current players, Christiane Ahmanpour comes to mind, with her foreign-service husband and globetrotting POV.
Andrea Mitchell's another, sleeps with the Establishment gargoyle Alan Greenspan, and is a redoubtable table-pounder and story-tilter on behalf of liberaldom.
I think monthly would be too often .... you'd run out of really notorious people like the infamous "pseudo-conservative" WaPo blogger Dave Weigel (neocon Palin-hater Jennifer Rubin has his job now and is making a name for herself; she's one of those people who are passionately on your side .... 53% of the time), e.g., or Jonathan Alter.
Well, no we are not, but yes we are because they are still getting away with it. We need to stop generalizing and start naming names and also highlighting specific instances of bias more publically and more forcefully.
Peter Arnett should be considered.
I even get that in my family and extended family. Conform or starve. Conform or die in an empty hospital room. Care about us, or we won't care about you.
Not much new in that sense in the last 8,000,000 years, I should think.
The “everyone thinks like me,” fallacy. Also known as the psychiatrist’s or historian’s fallacy.
(Or the Polly “Wants a Cracker” Kael-fallacy.)
You see a lot of it here, too. Known in the vernacular as “pure, unadulterated b***-s***”.
I think that that is "apples and oranges." The majority of voters are apolitical.. they are influenced by "nonpartisan" media, familiarity with the candidate's name, friends, relatives, and maybe those silly ads.
People with opinions, biased or otherwise, about news sources pay attention.
The newspaper employee should have the courtesy to spend a little time listening to conservative media.. he will find that the conservative media will be many times more likely to state proudly that they are biased in how they interpret facts. The left is much more like to say, "there is no argument the facts are in."