Matt Drudge is linking
to a study that purports to demonstrate that the media is, in fact, biased to the left. I am simplifying the study a great deal, but its basic argument relies on a measurement of references to left and right leaning think tanks. If a media outlet refers to liberal/left groups more often than the average lawmaker, the outlet is liberal.
Some of the results of the research are at least amusing:
This is good stuff. Somehow, a media that is less liberal than Joe Lieberman is biased to the left.
The methodology of the study is unbelievably flawed. Articles often reference liberal-leaning think tanks in response to paragraph after paragraph of pro-govrnment, pro-militarist point of view. Just the mention of a think tank hardly obviates the overlying center-right message of the news. To believe, in the context of the NY Times covering up Bush’s flagrant abuse of wiretaps, the media’s refusal to demand casualty numbers in Iraq, right wing bias among NPR guests, to name a few, is either incredibly naive or amazingly cynical.
It’s time to make clear–in letters to your local papers and national outlets–that the press needs to worry less about liberal bias, and more about giving the government a free pass.
Eric Alterman quotes the Tom Tomorrow cartoon in his book What Liberal Media?:
Imagine, “an expansive network of left-wing think thanks which are of course bankrolled by secretive left-wing financiers seeking to advance their radical agenda.” Now imagine “blatantly left-wing cable news networks and op-ed pages that then promote (left-wing) ideas relentlessly.” Had enough? What about “angry liberals” debating these left-wing proposals with weak, mealymouthed conservatives on the Sunday talk shows? Want more? How about an entire universe of left-wing talk radio hosts spending endless hours devoting themselves to hammering these left-wing notions into the heads of tens of millions of listeners across the land? Why, poor President Bush and Vice President Cheney wouldn’t have a chance.
The Republicans have framed this debate so well that it seems that the public and media believe that the media is biased. It’s time to make clear–in letters to your local papers and national outlets–that the press needs to worry less about liberal bias, and more about giving the government a free pass.