How biased are the media, really? - The Washington PostOn the conservative side, the strongest case might have been made by Tim Groseclose, a political science and economics professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. Groseclose used a three-pronged test to quantify the “slant quotient” of news stories reported by dozens of media sources. He compared these ratings with a statistical analysis of the voting records of various national politicians. In his 2011 book, “Left Turn: How Liberal Bias Distorts the American Mind,” Groseclose concluded that most media organizations aligned with the views of liberal politicians. (Groseclose determined that The Washington Post’s “slant quotient” was less liberal than news coverage in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.)
Robert Samuelson: Media bias explained in two studies - The Washington PostGentzkow, who teaches at the University of Chicago, has just won the John Bates Clark Medal for an outstanding American economist under 40 (he’s 38). He has some interesting ideas about the modern media, which he culled by studying traditional media. Namely, newspapers.
Along with economist Jesse Shapiro, also of Chicago, Gentzkow examined the ideological “slant” of newspapers by identifying various words and phrases favored by liberals or conservatives. For instance, conservatives often say “illegal aliens” when liberals prefer “undocumented workers.” Another example: What liberals refer to as “the estate tax,” conservatives call “the death tax.” By tallying newspapers’ use of liberal and conservative phrases, Gentzkow and Shapiro determined papers’ political slant. This compromised their “objective” pursuit of the news.
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What actually happens is both more innocent and more insidious. Papers with more Republican readers tend to provide more conservative stories and language; papers in more liberal areas lean left in their coverage and story selection. (The study involved 1,000 phrases reviewed in 429 newspapers, representing about 70 percent of the nation’s circulation. To gauge the politics of newspaper readers, Zip code-level data on voting patterns and circulation were matched.)
Another perspective on the Groseclose study.
The Liberal Media: It's No MythA Measure of Media Bias, by Tim Groseclose of the University of California at Los Angeles and Jeff Milyo of the University of Chicago, presented last Ma
rch at Stanford University's Workshop on the Media & Economic Performance. These researchers set up an objective measure of bias in U.S. television networks, newspapers, and magazines. The main finding is that the liberal inclination is pronounced. Although Fox News emerges as conservative, it is not nearly as far to the right as many outlets are to the left.
Groseclose and Milyo began with the well-known ratings of the voting records of U.S. senators and representatives by Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), a self-described liberal lobbying group. The researchers used data for the 1990s and adjusted the ADA scores to make them comparable over time and across the two chambers. On a 0-100 scale, with 100 the most liberal, the median member of the U.S. House had an ADA score of 39. Thus, 39 is a reasonable measure of a centrist position. Among well-known senators, Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) had a highly conservative score of 4, whereas Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) had a strikingly liberal score of 80.
So from a content analysis perspective, it seems reasonable to conclude that the actual content broadcast and printed in the main stream media are in fact with a liberal bias.
Further, I don't believe that it's logical to assume that journalists, who self identify by such a large margin as liberal, can and will report the news in a neutral and fair fashion. Especially when liberal / progressive ideology deals more with how you feel rather than logic. Is it reasonable to assume that an ideology based on feeling would suppress those feelings when engaged in news reporting and editorial decisions? I hardly think so, and the above studies seem to bare that out.