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Media bias has become a hot issue for discussion since Edith Efron's study of media bias in the 1968 presidential election (Nixon/Humphrey), The News Twisters (1971) 1..
Conservative politicians have complained for many years about the liberal bias of the media.
In his book "What Liberal Media" (2003)3., Eric Alterman finds the media to be, "on the whole, far more conservative than liberal, though it is possible to find evidence for both views. The fact that conservatives howl so much louder and more effectively than liberals is one significant reason that big media is always on its guard for "liberal" bias but gives conservative bias a free pass."
Pew study of 2000 Election:
Gore: 613 negative stories, 132 positive stories Bush: 265 negative stories, 320 positive stories
A 2004 study (see below), however, shows a liberal bias.
Henry Luce, who founded Time (1923), Fortune (1930), Life (1936) and Sports Illustrated (1954) magazines, believed in Christianity, big business, the Republican Party, anticommunism, internationalism and civil rights. Many of Luce's staff did not share his belief and as Luce wisecracked, "God damn Republicans can't write." His critics maintained that Time reflected his personal leanings. He believed that objective reporting was impossible and encouraged his editors to express his own views in their articles, which were unsigned. See: Henry Luce at American Masters at PBS and Answers.com
A December 2004 study by Tim Groseclose and Jeff Milyo funded by UCLA, the University of Missouri, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago, shows that media outlets cite left-leaning think tanks more often than right-wing ones.
They start with Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), a liberal lobbying group, ratings of the voting records of Senators and Representatives. They looked at the ratings of politicians who cited any of 200 prominent think tanks positively and then looked at how various media sources quoted the same sources.
Various media scored as follows:
Conservative 4.7 Tom Delay (R.-Tex.) 10.3 Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.) 12.7 John McCain (R.-Ariz.) 16.1 Average Republican 35.4 Washington Times 21.5 Nathan Deal (D-Ga.) 39.7 Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume 40.6 House Median 48.0 Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) 51.3 Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) 55.8 Newshour with Jim Lehrer 56.0 CNN NewsNight with Aaron Brown 56.1 ABC Good Morning America 58.2 Senate Median 60.4 Drudge Report 61.0 ABC World News Tonight 61.6 NBC Nightly News 63.4 USA Today 64.0 NBC Today Show 65.4 Time Magazine 65.8 U.S. News and World Report 66.3 NPR Morning Edition 66.3 Newsweek 66.6 CBS Early Show 66.6 Washington Post 68.2 Constance Morella (R-Md.) 70.0 LA Times 73.7 CBS Evening News 73.7 New York Times 84.3 Average Democrat 85.1 Wall Street Journal 87.6 John Kerry (D.-Mass.) 88.8 Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.) 99.6 Maxine Waters (D.-Calif.) LiberalSource: "A Measure of Media Bias", Tim Groseclose, Jeff Milyo, Dec. 2004
See also news blogs in news
The problem with the media as with the financial industry and many other institutions is greed; chasing the almighty dollar.
So I had the opportunity, over the weekend, to speak to a hack from a top-tier news outlet. This guy leans left, as do almost all of the hackery, no matter what they might claim about being neutral or unbiased or not taking sides. And this guy was talking about Gabrielle Giffords and tut-tutting and blaming Palin and Limbaugh. I was like, Dude, do you not realize that you are part of the problem? Yes, even you. All of you. Your whole friggin industry. The guy was dumbstruck. Like, honestly, this had never occurred to him.
So I explained.
The problem in media goes much wider than Palin and Limbaugh and Beck. The entire media business needs to do some soul-searching. News in general, in all forms, has become so debased and vulgar and unserious. Now all of us are paying the price. Because maybe it sounds pious to say that news is important to a culture. We've all had our fill of hacks who take themselves and their "profession" too seriously. But on the other hand, there was a time, in the days of Walter Cronkite, say, when reporting news was something that people took seriously, and maybe I'm just an "old," but you know what? We were better off in those days.
The problem began when news became tied to profits. The networks at one time used to run news as a loss leader, subsidized by entertainment. When that changed, and news started chasing ratings (and dollars), the problem began. When dollars started to dry up, things only got worse. Networks became desperate and resorted to making the news more like entertainment.
The Internet made things worse, in two ways. First, the Internet exacerbated the decline in revenues, and heightened the desperation in the news business.
"The press is no substitute for institutions. It is like the beam of a searchlight that moves restlessly about bringing one episode and then another out of darkness into vision. Men cannot do the work of the world by this light alone. They cannot govern society by episodes, incidents, eruptions. It is only when they work by a steady light of their own that the press, when it is turned upon them, reveals a situation intelligible enough for a popular decision."
- Walter Lippman (1889-1974)
On a "Are the Media Biased?" an Oct. 26, 2004, Justice Talking Program on NPR the question was asked: "If there is a liberal bias why?".
In a 2011 statewide poll of 600 New Jersey residents Farleigh Dickinson University showed that of all the news channels out there, Fox News viewers are the least informed. MSNBC didn\0xFFFDt do all that much better.
Fox News, the most popular of the 24-hour
cable news networks, are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their
government than those who watch no news at all (after controlling for other news
sources, partisanship, education and other demographic factors).