Posted by: kzahka | July 10, 2009

Left vs. Right.. Which way does the media lean?


 

According to the article “Media Bias Is Real,” by Meg Sullivan, it depends on the publication. She writes of a UCLA study conducted by Political Scientist Tim Groseclose, where he, along with his co-author Jeffrey Milyo, aim to discover the bias of of the major media outlets in the U.S. and run these results along side today’s politicians.  

Their findings show that these major media outlets are actually more moderate compared to members of Congress, which contradicts their hypothesis. Additionally, of the 20 media outlets looked at in the study, 18 of them were found to be left of center, which is not too surprising. The Wall Street Journal, CBS Evening News, The NY Times, and the LA Times were found to be the four most liberal sources of media. On the contrary, the only two media outlets to score right of center, were Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume,” and The Washington Times.  The most moderate of the media outlets was proven to be “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer,” “NewsNight With Aaron Brown,” (CNN) and “Good Morning America” (ABC). 

Groseclose states that if viewers were to spend an equal amount of time watchings Fox’s “Special Report,” as ABC’s World News, along with NBC’s Nightly News, this would provide them with a well-balanced, unbiased, source of news. 

Some things that I found particularly interesting about this study were: 

1) the fact that they took no outside funding– I think that this is a very important aspect of this study, especially since they are looking at media biases. It’s pretty common in studies done today that either a corporation, an individual, or some other outside bias provides funding for a research study that could either help or hinder them.  Since they didn’t take outside funding, they provide somewhat of an unbiased look at their research of biases.

2) the fact they the did not consider Op-Ed news– This is another aspect that plays a major role in this study. Op-Ed news is usually, if not ALWAYS biased. Including Op-Ed in the study wouldn’t help in proving a bias in straight news reporting.

3) the fact that they based their research on a “standard gauge of a lawmaker’s support for liberal causes”– this is the only thing that really bothers me about this study. They basically assign a numerical score to each lawmaker, and find that the average score in Congress is a 50.1 (pretty moderate) and then say that this number is to represent the average U.S. voter’s political position. While I assume that the average American is pretty moderate, I’m not sure that the people in Congress are an accurate representation of this.

Here’s an article from Politico this morning that discusses media bias in the Huffington Post..
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/24681.html

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