The truth about 'Liberal media'

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by DKSuddeth, Jan 17, 2004.

  1. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    http://www.fair.org/reports/journalist-survey.html

    This study is far too long to put in here, these are just snippets.

    The idea that the mainstream media have a "liberal bias" has long been conventional wisdom. At various times, public figures from Richard Nixon to Newt Gingrich have all taken refuge in the claim that the "liberal" media were out to get them. A legion of conservative talk show hosts, pundits and media-watch groups pound away at the idea that the media exhibit an inherently "liberal" tilt. But the assertion is based on remarkably little evidence and is repeatedly made in the face of contradictory facts.

    In particular, the conservative critique of the news media rests on two general propositions: (1) journalists' views are to the left of the public, and (2) journalists frame news content in a way that accentuates these left perspectives. Researchers and analysts have discovered persuasive evidence against the latter claim. Content analyses of the news media have, at a minimum, shown the absence of any such systematic liberal/left tilt; some studies have found a remarkably predictable press usually reflecting the narrow range of views of those in positions of power, as well as a spectrum of expert opinion that tilts toward the right.

    But even some progressives have been willing to cede to conservatives the first point: that journalists' views are to the left of the public. Professionals in general, they observe, often have "liberal" leanings on social issues and there is no reason to expect journalists to be any different. However, they have also argued convincingly that the norms of "objective journalism" and the powerful corporate interests which own and sponsor the news media ensure that news content never strays too far, for too long, from protecting the status quo. You don't understand the corporate ideology of General Motors by studying the personal beliefs of the assembly-line workers, the argument goes. Ideological orientation is introduced and enforced by those high in the organizational hierarchy who have the power to hire and fire, to reward and punish. Working journalists, despite their sometimes high visibility, usually do not call the shots in the nation's media corporations. (The documentary "Fear and Favor in the Newsroom" provides vivid illustrations of this situation.) Consequently, the private views of individual journalists often matter little.

    Such an analysis of organizational dynamics is fundamental to understanding the news process. It, indeed, is a crucial argument that kicks the legs out from the conservative critique and gets at the more fundamental structural elements that set the news agenda. Still, this approach begs the question: are journalists really to the left of the public? This element of the conservative critique has not been adequately addressed; it's one reason why the "liberal media" charge gets repeated without serious scrutiny.
     
  2. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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  3. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    very good sites. I'll have to read more on them later.

    I do find it difficult to believe its a neutral look on media bias when the MRC was founded by a handful of conservatives but, as I said, I'll read more on it later.

    thanks for the links jim.
     

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