Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is there Media Bias?

Politico just came out with a great new article on Media Bias regarding coverage of the McCain campaign vs. the Obama campaign. It reminded me of an argument I had with a conservative on The Progressive Movement a few weeks ago. I will now take parts of that discussion and elaborate on it.

The meat of the Politico article is this:

OK, let’s just get this over with: Yes, in the closing weeks of this election, John McCain and Sarah Palin are getting hosed in the press, and at Politico.

And, yes, based on a combined 35 years in the news business we’d take an educated guess — nothing so scientific as a Pew study — that Obama will win the votes of probably 80 percent or more of journalists covering the 2008 election. Most political journalists we know are centrists — instinctively skeptical of ideological zealotry — but with at least a mild liberal tilt to their thinking, particularly on social issues.
So what?

Before answering the question, indulge us in noting that the subject of ideological bias in the news media is a drag. The people who care about it typically come at the issue with scalding biases of their own. Any statement journalists make on the subject can and will be used against them. So the incentive is to make bland and guarded statements. Even honest ones, meanwhile, will tend to strike partisans as evasive or self-delusional.

Here goes anyway.

There have been moments in the general election when the one-sidedness of our site — when nearly every story was some variation on how poorly McCain was doing or how well Barack Obama was faring — has made us cringe.

And my favorite part of the article:

As it happens, McCain’s campaign is going quite poorly and Obama’s is going well. Imposing artificial balance on this reality would be a bias of its own.

I'm sure the Conservative nutjobs will be screaming media bias about the above even while Politico screams it themselves. Take a look at the list below and then at my 'out of the box' ideology behind it.

TV's Talking Heads:

First let's break down the major TV news outlets in America and let's see how biased they are.

FOXNews: Biased Conservative
MSNBC: Biased Progressive
CNN: Equally partisan (despite what FoxNews watchers say)
NBC: Non Partisan - Brian Williams has zero outspoken bias.
ABC: Biased Conservative
CBS: Biased Progressive
FOX: Biased conservative

The Written Word:

The major newspaper outlets.

The New York Times: Biased Progressive
The New York Post: Biased Conservative
The Washington Times: Biased Conservative
The Washington Post: Biased Progressive
The Chicago Tribune: Biased Conservative
The Wall Street Journal: Biased Conservative
The L.A. Times: Biased Progressive
Houston Chronicle: Biased Conservative
The Boston Herald: Biased Progressive

and let's not leave out the magazine world:

Newsweek: Biased Progressive
Rolling Stone: Biased Progressive
The Weekly Standard: Biased Conservative
The American Conservative: Biased DUH.
The National Review: Biased Conservative
The Nation: Biased Progressive
Time: Biased Progressive

Now based on this list, I'm thinking the media bias isn't quite as bad as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity make it out to be. They always claim "media bias" when a story doesn't fit their conservative agenda. They have done this SO well in the past that they've actually caused media outlets to not report the truth and their analysis for fear of being "biased."

Thankfully news organizations are waking up. They now list things as Opinion and don't claim that news has a bias. They report it, then comment on it. There is ZERO lack of reporting going on with very few exceptions where, for example, the Bush Administration does not allow Press access or the obvious lack of access to Sarah Palin.

Conservatives, I know you'll likely argue about CNN (as you call it, the Clinton News Network) being progressively biased but every panel they've had for every debate has had equal democrats and republicans. Just because the little meters they show have Obama winning and Biden winning in the debates doesn't mean they are biased. It means they are HONEST.

Me? Yes, there is a "liberal media bias:"

All that being said, I think the liberal media bias does exist. However, quite simply, it exists because those that are closest to the powers that be (journalists) see BS just like us average "Joe Sixpack" folks do.

You ever reach outside of the box to think that maybe the media is liberally biased is because liberal ideas are the ideas of change? The ideas of tolerance and the lack of bigotry allowed in our society? Maybe they are biased because more and more journalists are waking up.

Maybe journalists see the truth that is the neo-conservative movement. They are fighting back against an idea that all humans are NOT created equal. They are fighting back against the idea that running a smear campaign against a very respectable man (Barack Obama) is the only way to win. They are fighting back against the idea that to enable stupidity by putting an "Aww shucks" and "You betcha" hockey mom into national office with no vetting is the way to "recharge a campaign." And maybe, just maybe, they are fighting back against the corporate greed, corporate welfare, ethical nightmares and downright fraudulent activity.

When people say "the media is biased" they never stop to think that maybe its that way for a reason. Maybe enough journalists have seen enough bullsh*t and can't continue reporting objectively without selling their souls. Maybe having a media bias isn't a bad thing. The conservatives have their lie machine called Fox News. I'll stick with a "media bias" more than I will a station full of lies and outright false claims guised in "fair and balanced" journalism.

One day people will wake up and realize that "media bias" is there for a reason. If you have confidence in the average American...then have confidence in the media, as well. If good, honest journalism leans progressive...I still stand behind the reasoning 'outside the box' that I have listed.

Here is a great video from Politico.com from the media bias article.


Grey Fedora said...

Yes, there is a media bias. There is also an anti-tobacco bias, and a global warming bias. The reality based world is biased against a lot of things.

suebeehonee said...

Oh, it is quite obvious, in most cases, as to who supports whom. I have always known FoxNews had a conservative slant and I used to watch Hannity and Colmes to get my fix of "fired up" debate, but then I lost interest. I also used to watch Bill O'Reilly just see what controversey he would start next, but again, I lost interest. At one point, I quit watching any news of any form. I have only just recently, in the last few years, started to watch and read the news and I am finding that the negativity is still not attractive and a big turn off. I guess it is what we all come to expect of the media.

Grey Fedora said...

I'm an NPR listener myself. All mt right-wing nut friends rail that they are too liberal, and all my far left friends claim they are too conservative. If they are pissing off both extremes, they must be doing something right.
Besides, where else can you hear both Noam Chomsky and the CATO Institute viewpoints?