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:
A Pew Research study showed:

    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.
In the 2002 session, for example Ted Kennedy received an ADA score of 100 and Phil Gramm a score of 0. Politicians who cited the Heritage Foundation and Family Research Council had an average ADA score of 20, while those who cited The Economic Policy Institute and Consumer Federation of America had an average score of 81.
They converted scores to the 1999 House scale to give centrist members of Congress a score of about 50.

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.) 
Liberal
Source: "A Measure of Media Bias", Tim Groseclose, Jeff Milyo, Dec. 2004

See also news blogs in news


Durring and after the 2016 presidential election there were claims by President Trump of "Fake News". In "10 Journalism Brands Where You Find Real Facts Rather Than Alternative Facts", Forbes, Feb 2017, Paul Glader of the The Berlin School Of Creative Leadership says,
"Here are my top 10 large journalistic brands where I believe you can most often find real, reported facts:
1. The New York Times
2. The Wall Street Journal
3. The Washington Post
4. BBC
5. The Economist
6. The New Yorker
7. Wire Services: The Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg News
8. Foreign Affairs
9. The Atlantic
10. Politico
Runners up: National Public Radio, TIME magazine, The Christian Science Monitor , The Los Angeles Times (and many other regional, metropolitan daily newspapers), USA Today, CNN.
Business News Sources: FORBES magazine, Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine, Fortune magazine
Real News Sources - Liberal Resistance:
  1. The Nation
  2. The Atlantic
  3. Mother Jones
  4. Huffington Post
  5. Slate
  6. The Guardian
  7. Salon
  8. ThinkProgress
  9. Politico
  10. DemocracyNow

The problem with the media as with the financial industry and many other institutions is greed; chasing the almighty dollar.

Daniel Lyons, a former senior editor at Forbes, posted the following in his fake blog The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. It pretty well sums it up.

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.


Other References:
Quote:
"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?".
One answer was: "The national press is concentrated in Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles, and the press is just reporting the attitudes of the culture they are in."

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.
The conclusion: Sunday morning news shows do the most to help people learn about current events.

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).
See: Some News Leaves People Knowing Less
and Part Deux: Many think US is bailing out Greece which says,
"NPR does the best job of informing respondents about the debt crisis: Listening to NPR is associated with a 26-point increase in the likelihood of correctly naming Germany as the bailer, and a 12-point decrease in thinking that the US is behind the Euro-bailout. Sunday morning talk shows, talk radio and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart have similar positive impacts. On the other hand, people who report watching Fox News are five-points more likely than those who watch no news at all, to incorrectly say it\0xFFFDs the US that is bailing out European countries. "

References:
1. Efron, E. (1971) The News Twisters. Los Angeles: Nash Publishing.
2. "Coloring the News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism ", 2003, W. McGowan
3. "What Liberal Media", 2003, Eric Alterman

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last updated 2 Jan 2012