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  #1  
Old 12-19-2005, 12:11 PM
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Media bias analysis

Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist


Date: December 14, 2005
Contact: Meg Sullivan ( msullivan@support.ucla.edu )
Phone: 310-825-1046



While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.

"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

"Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left," said co‑author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.

The results appear in the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, which will become available in mid-December.

Groseclose and Milyo based their research on a standard gauge of a lawmaker's support for liberal causes. Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) tracks the percentage of times that each lawmaker votes on the liberal side of an issue. Based on these votes, the ADA assigns a numerical score to each lawmaker, where "100" is the most liberal and "0" is the most conservative. After adjustments to compensate for disproportionate representation that the Senate gives to low‑population states and the lack of representation for the District of Columbia, the average ADA score in Congress (50.1) was assumed to represent the political position of the average U.S. voter.

Groseclose and Milyo then directed 21 research assistants — most of them college students — to scour U.S. media coverage of the past 10 years. They tallied the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups, such as the left-leaning NAACP or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation.

Next, they did the same exercise with speeches of U.S. lawmakers. If a media outlet displayed a citation pattern similar to that of a lawmaker, then Groseclose and Milyo's method assigned both a similar ADA score.

"A media person would have never done this study," said Groseclose, a UCLA political science professor, whose research and teaching focuses on the U.S. Congress. "It takes a Congress scholar even to think of using ADA scores as a measure. And I don't think many media scholars would have considered comparing news stories to congressional speeches."

Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Only Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

The most centrist outlet proved to be the "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer." CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown" and ABC's "Good Morning America" were a close second and third.

"Our estimates for these outlets, we feel, give particular credibility to our efforts, as three of the four moderators for the 2004 presidential and vice-presidential debates came from these three news outlets — Jim Lehrer, Charlie Gibson and Gwen Ifill," Groseclose said. "If these newscasters weren't centrist, staffers for one of the campaign teams would have objected and insisted on other moderators."

The fourth most centrist outlet was "Special Report With Brit Hume" on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC's "World News Tonight" and NBC's "Nightly News" to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found.

"If viewers spent an equal amount of time watching Fox's 'Special Report' as ABC's 'World News' and NBC's 'Nightly News,' then they would receive a nearly perfectly balanced version of the news," said Milyo, an associate professor of economics and public affairs at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

Five news outlets — "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," ABC's "Good Morning America," CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown," Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and the Drudge Report — were in a statistical dead heat in the race for the most centrist news outlet. Of the print media, USA Today was the most centrist.

An additional feature of the study shows how each outlet compares in political orientation with actual lawmakers. The news pages of The Wall Street Journal scored a little to the left of the average American Democrat, as determined by the average ADA score of all Democrats in Congress (85 versus 84). With scores in the mid-70s, CBS' "Evening News" and The New York Times looked similar to Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who has an ADA score of 74.

Most of the outlets were less liberal than Lieberman but more liberal than former Sen. John Breaux, D-La. Those media outlets included the Drudge Report, ABC's "World News Tonight," NBC's "Nightly News," USA Today, NBC's "Today Show," Time magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, NPR's "Morning Edition," CBS' "Early Show" and The Washington Post.

Since Groseclose and Milyo were more concerned with bias in news reporting than opinion pieces, which are designed to stake a political position, they omitted editorials and Op‑Eds from their tallies. This is one reason their study finds The Wall Street Journal more liberal than conventional wisdom asserts.

Another finding that contradicted conventional wisdom was that the Drudge Report was slightly left of center.

"One thing people should keep in mind is that our data for the Drudge Report was based almost entirely on the articles that the Drudge Report lists on other Web sites," said Groseclose. "Very little was based on the stories that Matt Drudge himself wrote. The fact that the Drudge Report appears left of center is merely a reflection of the overall bias of the media."

Yet another finding that contradicted conventional wisdom relates to National Public Radio, often cited by conservatives as an egregious example of a liberal news outlet. But according to the UCLA-University of Missouri study, it ranked eighth most liberal of the 20 that the study examined.

"By our estimate, NPR hardly differs from the average mainstream news outlet," Groseclose said. "Its score is approximately equal to those of Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report and its score is slightly more conservative than The Washington Post's. If anything, government‑funded outlets in our sample have a slightly lower average ADA score (61), than the private outlets in our sample (62.8)."

The researchers took numerous steps to safeguard against bias — or the appearance of same — in the work, which took close to three years to complete. They went to great lengths to ensure that as many research assistants supported Democratic candidate Al Gore in the 2000 election as supported President George Bush. They also sought no outside funding, a rarity in scholarly research.

"No matter the results, we feared our findings would've been suspect if we'd received support from any group that could be perceived as right- or left-leaning, so we consciously decided to fund this project only with our own salaries and research funds that our own universities provided," Groseclose said.

The results break new ground.

"Past researchers have been able to say whether an outlet is conservative or liberal, but no one has ever compared media outlets to lawmakers," Groseclose said. "Our work gives a precise characterization of the bias and relates it to known commodity — politicians."

-UCLA-

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  #2  
Old 12-19-2005, 12:20 PM
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Wow, another baiting thread.
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Old 12-19-2005, 12:24 PM
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If anyone wants to read the entire article, I have access to a digital copy of it through my school. I'll read it myself, when I have time. Its' 47 pages long.
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Old 12-19-2005, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oasis100
Wow, another baiting thread.
The left just hates when they are exposed......
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Old 12-19-2005, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
The left just hates when they are exposed......
No, I'm saying it's baiting cause this would lead to another 10 pages of rhetoric.

Btw, pretty quick on the response there, stop trolling.
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Old 12-19-2005, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oasis100
No, I'm saying it's baiting cause this would lead to another 10 pages of rhetoric.

Btw, pretty quick on the response there, stop trolling.
Trolling is what you do......do a search on your previous posts....that explains my comment.

ANd whats wrong with proving the Bias the left rants so incessantly isn't there?


Is that becasue the Bias is there and you hate for it to be proven?
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Old 12-19-2005, 03:01 PM
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What's surprising about a media bias? Most writers are creative people, and most creative people are progressive on social matters. As for the WSJ you can certainly be conservative on money matters, but be forward thinking on other issues.
For the haves' to resist change is understandable to protect what they have, but for the have nots' to support backward thinking must go to the old quote "Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives." (John Stuart Mill) set star drag to 8
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Old 12-19-2005, 03:44 PM
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Interesting, but the essay doesn't touch on how its findings might be skewed by a failure to report. Take FOX's amazingly extensive coverage of Terry Schiavo and Natalie Holloway. These are but two of a plethora non-stories on which FOX spends so much time that, if FOX was one's only (as it is for many) source for "news", one would not learn of all the other truly newsworthy events happening throughout the world. My point? A network that spends an appreciable amount of its time not reporting the news, or providing ad-nauseum coverage of non-stories, will present far fewer opportunites for a researcher to identify a "match" than a network that identifies and reports on more deserving stories.
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:01 PM
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How about the left wing medias failure to report anything that would make the war appear positive or to report on any of the positive achivements which far outnumber the negative stuff in reality to anyone who does nothing but watch their biased coverage....
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
How about the left wing medias failure to report anything that would make the war appear positive or to report on any of the positive achivements which far outnumber the negative stuff in reality to anyone who does nothing but watch their biased coverage....
I don't know, how about it?
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by NKowi
I don't know, how about it?
Simple its the Bias from the left wing who refuse to report anything positive becasue its not THEIR guy in office....and they would be excomunicated from the democratic party for reporting on any story that reflects a republican president in a good light.
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
Simple its the Bias from the left wing who refuse to report anything positive becasue its not THEIR guy in office....and they would be excomunicated from the democratic party for reporting on any story that reflects a republican president in a good light.
Ohhhhh, I see.
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
Simple its the Bias from the left wing who refuse to report anything positive becasue its not THEIR guy in office....and they would be excomunicated from the democratic party for reporting on any story that reflects a republican president in a good light.
"Don't you see it?" He pointed at the tinfoil hat, then quickly reached up and felt to make sure it was there. "Whew! For a second I thought maybe I just imagined it! No, it's real."
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Old 02-02-2006, 07:00 PM
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Excerpted from: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article.asp?aid=12102017_1

The reasons for the widening fissures in Congress are not far to seek. Each of the political parties was once a coalition of dissimilar forces: liberal Northern Democrats and conservative Southern Democrats, liberal coastal Republicans and conservative Midwestern Republicans. No longer; the realignments of the South (now overwhelmingly Republican) and of New England (now strongly Democratic) have all but eliminated legislators who deviate from the party’s leadership. Conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans are endangered species now approaching extinction. At the same time, the ideological gap between the parties is growing: if there was once a large overlap between Democrats and Republicans—remember “Tweedledum and Tweedledee”?—today that congruence has almost disappeared. By the late 1990’s, virtually every Democrat was more liberal than virtually every Republican.

The result has been not only intense partisanship but a sharp rise in congressional incivility. In 1995, a Republican-controlled Senate passed a budget that President Clinton proceeded to veto; in the loggerhead that followed, many federal agencies shut down (in a move that backfired on the Republicans). Congressional debates have seen an increase not only in heated exchanges but in the number of times a representative’s words are either ruled out of order or “taken down” (that is, written by the clerk and then read aloud, with the offending member being asked if he or she wishes to withdraw them).

It has been suggested that congressional polarization is exacerbated by new districting arrangements that make each House seat safe for either a Democratic or a Republican incumbent. If only these seats were truly competitive, it is said, more centrist legislators would be elected. That seems plausible, but David C. King of Harvard has shown that it is wrong: in the House, the more competitive the district, the more extreme the views of the winner. This odd finding is apparently the consequence of a nomination process dominated by party activists. In primary races, where turnout is low (and seems to be getting lower), the ideologically motivated tend to exercise a preponderance of influence.

All this suggests a situation very unlike the half-century before the 1990’s, if perhaps closer to certain periods in the 18th and 19th centuries. Then, too, incivility was common in Congress, with members not only passing the most scandalous remarks about each other but on occasion striking their rivals with canes or fists. Such partisan feeling ran highest when Congress was deeply divided over slavery before the Civil War and over Reconstruction after it. Today the issues are different, but the emotions are not dissimilar.

Next, the mass media. Not only are they themselves increasingly polarized, but consumers are well aware of it and act on that awareness. Fewer people now subscribe to newspapers or watch the network evening news. Although some of this decline may be explained by a preference for entertainment over news, some undoubtedly reflects the growing conviction that the mainstream press generally does not tell the truth, or at least not the whole truth.

In part, media bias feeds into, and off, an increase in business competition. In the 1950’s, television news amounted to a brief 30-minute interlude in the day’s programming, and not a very profitable one at that; for the rest of the time, the three networks supplied us with westerns and situation comedies. Today, television news is a vast, growing, and very profitable venture by the many broadcast and cable outlets that supply news twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

The news we get is not only more omnipresent, it is also more competitive and hence often more adversarial. When there were only three television networks, and radio stations were forbidden by the fairness doctrine from broadcasting controversial views, the media gravitated toward the middle of the ideological spectrum, where the large markets could be found. But now that technology has created cable news and the Internet, and now that the fairness doctrine has by and large been repealed, many media outlets find their markets at the ideological extremes.

Here is where the sharper antagonism among political leaders and their advisers and associates comes in. As one journalist has remarked about the change in his profession, “We don’t deal in facts [any longer], but in attributed opinions.” Or, these days, in unattributed opinions. And those opinions are more intensely rivalrous than was once the case.

The result is that, through commercial as well as ideological self-interest, the media contribute heavily to polarization. Broadcasters are eager for stories to fill their round-the-clock schedules, and at the same time reluctant to trust the government as a source for those stories. Many media outlets are clearly liberal in their orientation; with the arrival of Fox News and the growth of talk radio, many are now just as clearly conservative.

The evidence of liberal bias in the mainstream media is very strong. The Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) has been systematically studying television broadcasts for a quarter-century. In the 2004 presidential campaign, John Kerry received more favorable mentions than any presidential candidate in CMPA’s history, especially during the month before election day. This is not new: since 1980 (and setting aside the recent advent of Fox News), the Democratic candidate has received more favorable mentions than the Republican candidate in every race except the 1988 contest between Michael Dukakis and George H. W. Bush. A similarly clear orientation characterizes weekly newsmagazines like Time and Newsweek.

For its part, talk radio is listened to by about one-sixth of the adult public, and that one-sixth is made up mostly of conservatives.1 National Public Radio has an audience of about the same size; it is disproportionately liberal. The same breakdown affects cable-television news, where the rivalry is between CNN (and MSNBC) and Fox News. Those who watch CNN are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans; the reverse is emphatically true of Fox. As for news and opinion on the Internet, which has become an important source for college graduates in particular, it, too, is largely polarized along political and ideological lines, emphasized even more by the culture that has grown up around news blogs.

At one time, our culture was only weakly affected by the media because news organizations had only a few points of access to us and were largely moderate and audience-maximizing enterprises. Today the media have many lines of access, and reflect both the maximization of controversy and the cultivation of niche markets. Once the media talked to us; now they shout at us.
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  #15  
Old 02-03-2006, 02:32 AM
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Quote:
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What's surprising about a media bias? Most writers are creative people, and most creative people are progressive on social matters. As for the WSJ you can certainly be conservative on money matters, but be forward thinking on other issues.
You know what? I hate black people. I would never invite one into my home. I even cheer when they are run over by a steamroller. HOWEVER, when I put on the McDonnalds uniform, I serve everyone equally. Is that too much to ask? You are supposed to report and not inject your own skews on the topic in question.

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