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Thread: Media Bias

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Media Bias

    This is a topic that came up in a different thread, and I thought it might be worth its own thread.

    There is a broad perception, on the right, that the so-called "main stream media" (MSM) is severely liberally biased. It is a view I do not share. Yes, I know that journalists tend to be more liberal than conservative - that seems to be well established. But that fact is not enough to support a claim of extremely liberal media bias. One can have conservative or liberal views personally, and still be dedicated to impartial reporting.

    To show extreme liberal bias, it would be necessary to show a cohesive pattern of promoting one political agenda at the expense of another. This is what is missing in the MSM. The media reports what is news - and does so across the political spectrum. Right now much of the news is about Trump because the man is a borderline media genius and sucks up all of the airwaves. And most of the coverage is negative because the man is a buffoon and a bully - two things not seen in the Executive branch in my lifetime, so they are newsworthy.

    This is a far cry from the kind of media bias we see in Fox and Brietbart. These news outlets have a specific agenda: to promote conservative views and advance the Republican Party. There is no explicit agenda in the MSM to promote the Democratic party over the Republican Party. Fox and Brietbart have become the mouthpieces of the right in a way the MSM has never been for the left. Of course, to justify that extreme stance and still claim being "news" outlets, they have to set out on an extensive campaign to paint the MSM as "far left" and themselves as "balancing the scales." And that campaign has worked: most of the right has taken up this call and repeats the talking points of these two (and other) far-right outlets.

    So here is my challenge: present the DATA that shows the MSM has an extreme bias to the left. I readily acknowledge that the information exists to place them slightly left of center - but nowhere near as extreme as is being claimed. And note - anecdotes and examples and solitary quotes don't cut it. Provide DATA to substantiate the views. If you are holding this view deeply, it is reasonable to think it is based on actual data from some source that can be examined and verified. So - where is that data?

    For my perspective that the MSM is "slightly left of center" I point to the crowd-sourced ratings on www.allsides.com, and the tight alignment between the various bias rating sites (https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/right/, http://guides.lib.umich.edu/c.php?g=637508&p=4462444) and the studies from Pew Research (http://www.pewresearch.org/packages/...-polarization/). There is significant alignment between these various sources - and that is the best data I have been able to find.

    But if someone has other data, I promise to look at it. I think we live too much in an age where we ignore the data in favor of our pre-existing biases - and that is a dangerous place for our republic.
    Last edited by carpedm9587; 12-17-2017 at 10:37 PM.

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    There is a broad perception, on the right, that the so-called "main stream media" (MSM) is severely liberally biased.
    Not just on the right. A Gallup Poll this past Spring found that 62% of Americans think the media favors one party over the other with 64% of those who think so saying the MSM favors the left. That would suggest that a sizable number of moderates recognize the bias. Even among Democrats who think that the MSM slants toward one party over the other slightly more think it favors their side (43%) than Republicans (40%). When even partisans on your own side recognize that their is a liberal bias that speaks volumes.

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    This is the third time I've mentioned this study. Is there a reason you keep ignoring it?

    Also, do you work for Allsides.com or something? By my count, this is now the 9th time you've mentioned them.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    This is a topic that came up in a different thread, and I thought it might be worth its own thread.

    There is a broad perception, on the right, that the so-called "main stream media" (MSM) is severely liberally biased. It is a view I do not share. Yes, I know that journalists tend to be more liberal than conservative - that seems to be well established. But that fact is not enough to support a claim of extremely liberal media bias. One can have conservative or liberal views personally, and still be dedicated to impartial reporting.

    To show extreme liberal bias, it would be necessary to show a cohesive pattern of promoting one political agenda at the expense of another. This is what is missing in the MSM. The media reports what is news - and does so across the political spectrum. Right now much of the news is about Trump because the man is a borderline media genius and sucks up all of the airwaves. And most of the coverage is negative because the man is a buffoon and a bully - two things not seen in the Executive branch in my lifetime, so they are newsworthy.
    Trump certainly deserves some negative coverage, but that doesn't mean that the negative coverage can't be biased--and it is. You need only look at Trump's visit to South Korea for that. After the media kept pounding him over and over on supposedly being too aggressive in policy towards North Korea, he actually tones down his rhetoric considerably in his speech there... so what do they do? Do they give him praise for backing off? No, that's ignored and instead you get to see bashing him for largely meaningless things like namedropping his products or in some cases just plain misrepresenting things (e.g. much was made of Trump overfeeding koi fish when he actually did the exact same thing that the Korean before him did). There was actually this great article I read about that trip showing all of the media bias in which they'd pick up on silly things just so they'd have things to criticize--and no, this wasn't even a pro-Trump article, it highlighted things that could have easily been valid targets for criticisms, but didn't sound as negative so they were skipped over. Wish I had saved the link, it was pretty interesting.

    This is a far cry from the kind of media bias we see in Fox and Brietbart. These news outlets have a specific agenda: to promote conservative views and advance the Republican Party. There is no explicit agenda in the MSM to promote the Democratic party over the Republican Party. Fox and Brietbart have become the mouthpieces of the right in a way the MSM has never been for the left. Of course, to justify that extreme stance and still claim being "news" outlets, they have to set out on an extensive campaign to paint the MSM as "far left" and themselves as "balancing the scales." And that campaign has worked: most of the right has taken up this call and repeats the talking points of these two (and other) far-right outlets.
    Breitbart and Fox News aren't far right. They're extremely biased in their reporting (no more so, though, than MSNBC, and possibly less at this point), but that doesn't make them far right. People really need to stop tossing out that term to describe things that it isn't, and this applies to "far left" as well. It mostly seems to just serve as a way to try to discredit a source. Having a bias, even a strong one, towards the right or the left doesn't make you far right or far left, it's actually going that far on the political spectrum that does.

    I would agree there is no "explicit agenda" in the mainstream media but we need to remember that the mainstream media is a lot of different sources. For there to be an explicit agenda, there would need to be some kind of shadow organization controlling all of it--and I'm not paranoid enough to believe that. However, many of the individual sources in the mainstream media have agendas, or at least biases, and that affects it all as a whole. And in some ways, even if a source's bias isn't as big, it's worse than something like Breitbart because at least Breitbart is so blatant with their bias it's obvious it's a conservative talking point site, whereas some of the liberally biased sources demonstrate their bias by doing more subtle things like ignoring news stories inconvenient to the liberal narrative (a bias achieved through lack of reporting is harder to detect than a bias achieved by the reporting itself being biased).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    This is the third time I've mentioned this study. Is there a reason you keep ignoring it?
    That appears to be a preprint from 2003. It's not ready for review, and simply can't be published in this form. In the references, you'll see a trick I use myself for listing sources (in my case, theorems) that I've not yet critically examined.

    A large number of economic studies give theoretical reasons that bolster the view that the media does not have a systematic bias. (See xx, xx, xx and xx).

    Again, this is from 2003. Is there a reason why you are highlighting this paper, repeatedly it seems, despite the fourteen years that have not yet sufficed to make it ready for review?

    Until this has been corrected, the authors cannot be said to be interacting with the existing literature. And until this paper has been published, there will be no opportunity for meaningful academic response.

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lao tzu View Post
    That appears to be a preprint from 2003. It's not ready for review, and simply can't be published in this form. In the references, you'll see a trick I use myself for listing sources (in my case, theorems) that I've not yet critically examined.

    A large number of economic studies give theoretical reasons that bolster the view that the media does not have a systematic bias. (See xx, xx, xx and xx).

    Again, this is from 2003. Is there a reason why you are highlighting this paper, repeatedly it seems, despite the fourteen years that have not yet sufficed to make it ready for review?

    Until this has been corrected, the authors cannot be said to be interacting with the existing literature. And until this paper has been published, there will be no opportunity for meaningful academic response.
    It was published in 2005, https://www.jstor.org/stable/2509877...n_tab_contents

    I've highlighted the paper repeatedly because every time I've brought it up, carpe has ignored it, and then complained that he hasn't seen a "definitive study" on the subject.

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    I don't mind a media source having a bias. As long as they're open about it.
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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    Not just on the right. A Gallup Poll this past Spring found that 62% of Americans think the media favors one party over the other with 64% of those who think so saying the MSM favors the left. That would suggest that a sizable number of moderates recognize the bias. Even among Democrats who think that the MSM slants toward one party over the other slightly more think it favors their side (43%) than Republicans (40%). When even partisans on your own side recognize that their is a liberal bias that speaks volumes.
    OK - so a poll is basically a large sample of what people "think." It does not provide data about what the media is actually doing. But even if it did, I've already acknowledged that the main stream media is slightly left of center, which aligns with these numbers. So it doesn't sound like we're saying anything different.

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