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Discussion in 'Politics' started by jimnyc, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    Media Bias Basics

    Seventy million Americans rely on broadcast television for their news. They form opinions based on what they hear and see and to a lesser extent, read. Since citizens cannot cast informed votes or make knowledgeable decisions on matters of public policy if the information on which they depend is distorted, it is vital to American democracy that television news and other media be fair and unbiased.

    Conservatives believe the mass media, predominantly television news programs, slant reports in favor of the liberal position on issues. Most Americans agree, as the data below indicate. Yet many members of the media continue to deny a liberal bias.

    Evidence of how hard journalists lean to the left was provided by S. Robert Lichter, then with George Washington University, in his groundbreaking 1980 survey of the media elite. Lichter's findings were authoritatively confirmed by the American Association of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) in 1988 and 1997 surveys. The most recent ASNE study surveyed 1,037 newspaper reporters found 61 percent identified themselves as/leaning "liberal/Democratic" compared to only 15 percent who identified themselves as/leaning "conservative/Republican."

    With the political preferences of the press no longer secret, members of the media argued while personally liberal, they are professionally neutral. They argued their opinions do not matter because as professional journalists, they report what they observe without letting their opinions affect their judgment. But being a journalist is not like being a surveillance camera at an ATM, faithfully recording every scene for future playback. Journalists make subjective decisions every minute of their professional lives. They choose what to cover and what not to cover, which sources are credible and which are not, which quotes to use in a story and which to toss out.

    Liberal bias in the news media is a reality. It is not the result of a vast left-wing conspiracy; journalists do not meet secretly to plot how to slant their news reports. But everyday pack journalism often creates an unconscious "groupthink" mentality that taints news coverage and allows only one side of a debate to receive a fair hearing. When that happens, the truth suffers. That is why it is so important news media reports be politically balanced, not biased.

    The Media Research Center regularly documents the national media's ongoing liberal bias — and has since 1987. For a look at media bias in the last decade, the last year or even last night, check the MRC homepage.

    The information that follows relays the political composition of the media — voting patterns, political affiliations and beliefs — as expressed to researchers by the reporters themselves. This is followed by a review of public opinion on liberal media bias, and what members of the media have said about liberal media bias, and a guide to how to identify liberal media bias.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    "81 percent of the journalists interviewed voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election between 1964 and 1976."

    " Over the 16-year period, the Republican candidate always received less than 20 percent of the media’s vote."

    "44 percent of journalists identified themselves as Democrats, compared to only 16 percent who tagged themselves as Republican."
    -------------------------------------------------------
    "At newspapers with more than 50,000 circulation, 65 percent of the staffs were liberal/Democrat or leaned that way. The split at papers of less than 50,000 was less pronounced though still significant, with 51 percent of staffs identifying as liberal/Democrat compared to 23 percent who identified as conservative/Republican."
    --------------------------------------------------------
    Most Recent Data: Six Percent of Press Conservative

    The "National Survey of the Role of Polls in Policymaking" [full report in PDF], completed by Princeton Survey Research Associates for the Kaiser Family Foundation in collaboration with Public Perspective, a magazine published by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, was released in late June 2001.

    The poll questioned 1,206 members of the public, 300 "policymakers" and 301 "media professionals, including reporters and editors from top newspapers, TV and radio networks, news services and news magazines." Significant findings from the survey of media professionals appear below.

    Business Reporters Are Reporters, Too

    A 1988 poll by the Journalist and Financial Reporting, a New York-based newsletter, surveyed 151 business reporters from over 30 publications ranging from the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, New York Times and Chicago Tribune to Money, Fortune and Business Week. The survey found that newspaper and magazine business reporters are as liberal as their colleagues covering politics.

    "54 percent identified themselves as Democrats, barely 10 percent as Republicans."
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    In 1995, Kenneth Walsh, a reporter for U.S. News & World Report, polled 28 of his fellow White House correspondents from the four TV networks, the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Copley, Cox, Hearst, Knight-Ridder, plus Newsweek, Time and U.S. News & World Report, about their presidential voting patterns for his 1996 book "Feeding the Beast: The White House versus the Press." As reported in the MRC's June 1996 MediaWatch, Walsh counted 50 votes by White House correspondents for the Democratic entry compared to just seven for the Republican.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    "There is a liberal bias. It’s demonstrable. You look at some statistics. About 85 percent of the reporters who cover the White House vote Democratic, they have for a long time. There is a, particularly at the networks, at the lower levels, among the editors and the so-called infrastructure, there is a liberal bias. There is a liberal bias at Newsweek, the magazine I work for —- most of the people who work at Newsweek live on the upper West Side in New York and they have a liberal bias....[ABC White House reporter] Brit Hume’s bosses are liberal and they’re always quietly denouncing him as being a right-wing nut." — Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas in an admission on Inside Washington, May 12, 1996.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    "There are lots of reasons fewer people are watching network news, and one of them, I’m more convinced than ever, is that our viewers simply don’t trust us. And for good reason. The old argument that the networks and other `media elites’ have a liberal bias is so blatantly true that it’s hardly worth discussing anymore. No, we don’t sit around in dark corners and plan strategies on how we’re going to slant the news. We don’t have to. It comes naturally to most reporters.....Mr. Engberg’s report set new standards for bias....Can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, a network news reporter calling Hillary Clinton’s health care plan 'wacky?’...
    "‘Reality Check’ suggests the viewers are going to get the facts. And then they can make up their mind. As Mr. Engberg might put it: `Time Out!’ You’d have a better chance of getting the facts someplace else -- like Albania." — CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg on an anti-flat tax story by CBS reporter Eric Engberg, February 13, 1996 Wall Street Journal op-ed.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    "I think we are aware, as everybody who works in the media is, that the old stereotype of the liberal bent happens to be true, and we’re making a concerted effort to really look for more from the other, without being ponderous or lecturing or trying to convert people to another way of thinking." — ABC World News Tonight Executive Producer Emily Rooney, September 27, 1993 Electronic Media.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Two recent national surveys on media bias have yielded surprising results. A large percentage of newspaper editors admit there is liberal bias in their own backyards — newspapers — and even more find bias in television and radio stations.

    First, in September 1992, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) commissioned a poll of 94 editors, 89 publishers and 22 executives carrying both titles, asking "Do you believe there's bias in the general media's political coverage?" Highlights of the NAA survey were featured in the MRC's June 1993 MediaWatch.

    http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/MediaBiasBasics.html
     
  2. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Liberals: "Uhm. No it's not. a journalism school did a study one time!"
     
  3. insein
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    insein Senior Member

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    I love how they still think its biased towards conservatives though. lol
     
  4. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    Nice try, Jim, but this report doesn't mention the fact that the editors, that is the people who decide what goes in the paper, are overwhelmingly conservative. This would explain the answers of the editors and publishers. They think there is a bias because they are conservative.

    acludem
     
  5. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    Wasn't a try, it was FACTS over a long history of time. Even the reporters admit there is a bias. Walter Cronkite admits there's a bias, but we should think he's loony because acludem say's otherwise. :rolleyes:

    Besides. where do you get your facts?

    In January 1998, Editor & Publisher, the preeminent media trade magazine, conducted a poll of 167 newspaper editors across the country. Investor’s Business Daily reporter Matthew Robinson obtained complete poll results, highlights of which were featured in the MRC's February 1998 MediaWatch.

    In 1992, when just 43 percent of the public voted Democrat Bill Clinton for President, 58 percent of editors surveyed voted for him.

    In 1996, a minority (49 percent) of the American people voted to reelect Clinton, compared to a majority (57 percent) of the editors.

    Doesn't sound like 'overwhelmingly' conservative to me! I believe I should be the one saying nice try!
     
  6. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    Interesting....here are some numbers from 2000 in which a survey of over 200 editors and publishers found that editors supported Bush by a 2 to 1 margin and publishers by a 3 to 1 margin:

    Newspaper editors and publishers favored Bush by a 2-to-1 margin, according to the survey of nearly 200 editors and publishers. Publishers, who are at the pinnacle of power within news organizations, were even more pro-Bush, favoring the then-Texas governor by a 3-to-1 margin, E&P reported. Gazing through the rose colors of their pro-Bush glasses, the news executives incorrectly predicted a Bush electoral landslide in November 2000. [See E&P, Nov. 2, 2000]

    E&P is Editors and Publishers a journal covering American newsmedia. Their site is at http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/index.jsp

    acludem
     
  7. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    Acludem, link to the article itself. I'm not going to sift through that web site to find your source for you.

    Oh, and for the last time, even the people you're defending as being impartial, now listen very closely, very, very closely, ADMIT THAT THERE IS A HEAVY LIBERAL BIAS IN THE MEDIA. That's editors, publishers, reporters, etc. It goes all the way from the company owners down to the kids that toss the papers on your front porch. It's there. Any lawyer worth 2 cents will tell you that it's practically useless to defend someone who's confessed, so stop it.
     
  8. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    I can't link to the article itself because it requires subscription to the journal, I could only get that little blurb. I will try and get it from my college library tomorrow, I think I may be able to access this journal through one of the online academic research engines.

    acludem
     
  9. insein
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    insein Senior Member

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    Perhaps then you could post an exact excerpt from said article for us to peruse.
     
  10. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    Here's the entire article, I can't give you a good link, because I can only get to it through an academic search engine available only through college libraries, or by use of a proxy server at home with an assigned port.
    ==========================================

    Newspaper executives endorse, plan to vote for -and predict a big victory for Bush

    It's George W. Bush -- big time. The nation's newspaper editors and publishers strongly believe the Texas governor will beat Al Gore in Tuesday's election for president. By a wide margin, they plan to vote for him themselves. And, to complete this Republican trifecta, newspapers endorsed Bush by about 2-to-1 nationally. One has to wonder: whatever happened to the so-called "liberal press"?

    These results -- surprising in their clear-cut nature -- come from an exclusive Editor & Publisher/TIPP survey completed exactly one week before the election. (Results of a separate newspaper readers' poll start on p. 7 of this issue.) The poll was conducted for E&P by TIPP, a national polling firm in Oradell, N.J., a unit of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence.

    TIPP polled 193 newspaper executives across the country, almost evenly divided between editors and publishers. This sample was weighted to roughly reflect the national breakdown of small (under 50,000 circulation), medium (50,000 to 100,000), and large (over 100,000) daily newspapers.

    Besides seeking views on election results and endorsements, E&P surveyed the editors and publishers on a wide range of related issues, including perceptions of bias and overall coverage of the presidential race.

    This provided some unexpected and revealing results. For example, about 25% of the editors and publishers stated they believe that newspapers, overall, showed bias in covering the presidential race, favoring one candidate over the other -- but only 4.7 % said that their paper showed any slant.

    Give us a call
    With the election still considered tight, and a dozen or more states in the "toss-up" category, the analysis of knowledgeable local observers -newspaper editors and publishers, for example -- should carry extraordinary weight this year.

    Unfortunately for Al Gore, most of these local "experts" seem to feel that the election is slipping away from him.

    Editors and publishers in most of the key toss-up states, including Florida, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, predict a Bush win in their states. Even those in Gore's home state of Tennessee predict a Bush win there. This, essentially, puts Bush over the top, giving him 301 electoral votes to 237 for Gore (see map). The vice president, in this view, will hold California, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin -but it won't be enough.

    Looking at the national race from a local perspective, the editors and publishers provide more bad news for Gore. By an astonishingly wide margin, 55% to 14%, they forecast a Bush triumph across the United States. Even those who plan to cast their votes for Gore narrowly pick Bush as the likely winner.

    Endorsements
    "The voter this year is more independent than ever before," Richard E. Campbell, editor of The Argus-Press in Owosso, Mich., told us. "He is voting for himself, not what the newspaper tells him."

    Clearly, however, newspaper executives still believe in the value and importance of editorial endorsements. According to the survey, four out of five believe that endorsing candidates "is an important responsibility of newspapers." And, in fact, at least three out of four papers did make an endorsement in the presidential race this year.

    Al Gore may wish they didn't.

    Once again, the Democratic candidate came up short, with Bush earning 48% of the nods to 23% for Gore. In this case, size matters, with smaller papers going for Bush almost 3-to-1, midsize papers 5-to-3, and larger papers 5-to-4. The papers that backed Bush, according to the TIPP analysis, represent 58% of total national circulation while Gore's boosters represent 42%.

    The leading reasons for endorsing Bush cited in the poll were "moral trust" and "strong leadership," while Gore's chief selling points are "government experience" and "the state of the economy" -- no surprises there.

    The editors and publishers are not shy about claiming that their endorsements have significant impact. Nearly 40% say that newspaper endorsements "lead to superior candidates being elected." Almost 36% disagree with this, with the rest not sure.

    Yet, making selections also come with a cost. For 46% believe that "readers may perceive we are partisan if we endorse a candidate. " (More than 54% of editors express these fears.) But they disagree strongly with the idea that their readers' fears are justified, as 86.5% asserted that endorsements do not result in "biased coverage" in newspapers.

    More than half the sample said that there are often "strong disageements" within their editorial boards on whom to endorse. That's one reason one in four newspapers -- one in three among smaller papers -- offered no endorsement this year. Michael Rogers, managing editor of The Evening Times in Sayre, Pa., explained, "Our publisher does not like them, and we could not come to a consensus on our editorial board. Our publisher feels it can appear too partisan."

    Stan Tiner, editor of The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., agreed, proposing that newspapers "should move to a no-endorsement policy."

    Personal views
    OK, newspapers may have endorsed Bush at a 2-to-1 rate, but how did their publishers and top editors (often reputed to be rather liberal in outlook) feel about that choice, which was not always in their hands? Pretty darn good, to judge by the survey results.

    For they show that by almost precisely the same 2-to-1 ratio, these executives plan to vote for Bush this week. There are some significant differences within this overall finding, however. Publishers back Bush 59% to 20% -- while editors give Bush the edge by just 5%. Still, this punctures a common view that newsroom chiefs have a certain leftward tilt.

    There are also huge disparities depending on the size of newspapers. Editors and publishers at small papers support Bush overwhelmingly --but at midsize and large newpapers, the vote is evenly divided. (Interestingly, more than one in three editors refused to divulge their vote. Just one in five publishers felt this way.)

    More food for thought is found in the fact that nearly all of the executives at papers that backed Bush intend to vote for him -- while more than a quarter of those at Gore papers plan to switch sides and vote for Bush.

    A rare exception to all of this is David Felts, editor of The Daily News in Greenville, Mich., who plans to vote for the Libertarian candidate for president even though his paper backed Bush. "I would rather vote my heart than not," he reports. "There are times when I can disagree with the paper."

    Coverage
    As we have observed, roughly one in four in the E&P/TIPP sample said newspapers provided coverage that favored one candidate over the other this year. Of course, there's another way to look at it: the vast majority of editors and publishers believe that the press provided very balanced coverage this time around.

    Of the group that detected bias, four out of five said the candidate treated as the favorite son was Al Gore. Most of those making this claim, to be sure, were Bush backers, although about one in 10 Gore supporters agreed with this view. (If Gore does lose the election, one has to wonder whether press bias, if it existed, worked in his favor --or hurt him.)

    "I don't think it is some internal or conspiratorial thing," Brian Cooper, executive editor of the Telegraph Herald of Dubuque, Iowa, told us, "but Gore has probably gotten a lot more attention."

    While only a handful admit that their paper showed favoritism in this race, most of those who do make this confession say that they slanted toward Bush.

    Despite these claims, the editors and publishers feel that, overall, newspapers provided fine coverage of the presidential race, with 60% rating it as "excellent" or "good," 28% "fair," and just 4.7% "poor." Editors and publishers felt about the same way concerning this -- as they did in many other areas.

    David Levine, editor of The Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown, Pa., called coverage this year "thorough" and "a lot more objective" than in the past, volunteering that "this is the fairest The New York Times has ever been" and adding that he was "also impressed with AP."

    Mike Gallaway, publisher of The Express Star in Chickasha, Okla., told us, however, that he feels that the coverage of the race "is often slanted toward who the paper wants to win. To be excellent, we would report on the truth on both sides." And Charles Pittman, publisher of the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, said, "We let the candidates dictate what is covered more than people dictating the issues. I don't know if we get a true understanding of what the true issues are."

    True understanding or not, the moment of truth is now at hand. And as Oklahoma Publisher Mike Gallaway puts it, "When it is all said and done, I think people pick who they see as best." May the best man win.

    METHODOLOGY
    TIPP President Raghavan Mayur has assembled for E&P a panel of about 800 editors and publishers from newspapers of all sizes. A survey questionnaire was faxed to each of them, and 193 returned it with their answers. The margin of error for the poll is 7.5%. TIPP received no replies from just three states (Delaware, Maine, and West Virginia) and Washington, so Mayur "called" them for a candidate based on latest polling data. The latest polls were also taken into account for four states where predictions were about evenly split: Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

    Endorsements: Small is beautiful for Bush
    Which candidate has your newspaper endorsed in the upcoming 2000 presidential election?

    Legend for Chart:

    A - Bush
    B - Gore
    C - Neither

    A B C

    Over 100,000 circulation 52.4% 42.9 4.8%
    50,000-100,000 circulation 54.5% 33.3% 15.2%
    Under 50,000 circulation 45.3% 17.3% 37.4%

    Source: E&P/TIPP

    Nothing wrong with picking a winner
    Legend for Chart:

    A - Agree
    B - Disagree
    C - Neither

    A B C

    Endorsements lead to superior 38.9% 35.8% 25.3%
    candidates being elected.

    Generally, endorsements result 8.3% 86.5% 5.2%
    in biased coverage in newspapers.

    Coverage gets high marks
    Generally speaking, how would you rate the coverage of the presidential race by American newspapers?

    No Answer 2.6%
    Excellent 7.3%
    Excellent 52.8%
    Good 28.0%
    Fair 4.7%
    Poor 4.7%
    Not super

    Source: E&P/TIPP

    Publishers back Bush, editors divided
    Why do you plan to vote for in the upcoming 2000 presidential election?

    Legend for Chart:

    A - Bush
    B - Gore
    C - Other
    D - No answer

    A B C D

    Total 46.1% 23.8% 3.2% 26.9%
    Editors 33.0% 27.7% 4.2% 35.1%
    Publishers 58.6% 20.2% 2% 19.2%

    Source: E&P/TIPP

    Bird in the hand for BUSH?
    Newspaper executives endorse, plan to vote for - and predict a big victory for Bush

    Editors and publishers pick the president

    TIPP asked editors and publishers which candidate would carry their home states, then declared a state for a candidate.

    Electoral votes necessary to win: 270

    Bush: 301

    Gore: 237

    Gore Bush

    Wash. 11 Ore. 7
    Calif. 54 Idaho 4
    N.M. 5 Nev. 4
    Hawaii 4 Mont. 3
    Minn. 10 Wyo. 3
    Iowa 7 Utah 5
    Wis. 11 Ariz. 8
    Ill. 22 Colo. 8
    Mich. 18 N.D. 3
    N.Y. 33 S.D. 3
    Vt. 3 Neb. 5
    Maine 4 Kan. 6
    Mass. 12 Okla. 8
    R.I. 4 Texas 32
    Conn. 8 Alaska 3
    N.J. 15 Mo. 11
    Del. 3 Ark. 6
    D.C. 3 La. 9
    Md. 10 Miss. 7
    Ind. 12
    Tenn. 11
    Ala. 9
    Ohio 21
    Ky. 8
    Pa. 23
    Va. 13
    N.C. 14
    S.C. 8
    Ga. 13
    Fla. 25
    N.H. 4

    PHOTO (COLOR): Has Gore, with his many missteps, handed the election to Bush? The Texas governor may be as surprised as anyone that he now seems firmly in control -- in the view of most newspaper editors and publishers.

    ~~~~~~~~

    By Greg Mitchell

    Reporting assistance for this article provided by Joe Strupp
     

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