Media, Politics

Oh, Yeah, *That* Liberal Media

While this is no surprise to those of us who have been paying attention, but a UCLA study has found that the media is indeed biased to the left. Using the Americans for Democratic Action scale (a scale developed by a liberal interest group), a UCLA political scientist used patterns of ideological labeling to determine whether or not a media outlet disproportionately labeled conservative groups over liberal ones. (I did a similar, but nowhere near exhaustive test of this three and a half years ago.)

The results are unsurprising:

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.

Those results are interesting – I don’t watch any of those shows (in fact, other than watching Brit Hume while exercising, I don’t watch any political TV shows), but those wouldn’t be one’s I’d necessarily associate with being moderate. The Drudge Report came out to be left-of-center, which isn’t at all surprising given that Matt Drudge is an attack dog, not an ideologue – he doesn’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, his only consideration is airing as much dirty laundry as possible. NPR, quite surprisingly, came out as only the eighth most liberal media outlet – something that must have staffers at NPR scrambling.

All in all, this dovetails nicely with other studies that have shown the same thing. However, it would be interesting to further quantify these results. It would be interesting to expand this research to use key phrases rather than ideological labels. If a media outlet is using the same key phrases as a Democratic politician, that could be interpreted as a sign of media bias. However, this UCLA study does show that the ideological leanings of reporters (who are 90%+ Democrat) almost certainly does have an effect on reporting – which is hardly surprising, but now there’s more substantive proof to back up what conservatives have known for quite some time.

4 thoughts on “Oh, Yeah, *That* Liberal Media

  1. “While this is no surprise to those of us who have been paying attention, but a UCLA study has found that the media is indeed biased to the left.”

    You know there are way too many unproductive conservative ideologues in this country when so many exhaustive studies of this nature continue to be conducted. Seems like liberal activists must have bigger fish to fry since similar studies don’t seem to be conducted regarding the Boards of Directors of Fortune 500 companies being “biased to the right.”

    “which is hardly surprising, but now there’s more substantive proof to back up what conservatives have known for quite some time.”

    Then encourage fewer of your people towards a business career track and more of them towards a journalism career track. If all the energy spent whining about the “liberal media” was put to productive use, the Republicans could really be an overwhelming political force.

  2. Hmm… I’m not that shocked. I’d certainly consider the WSJ’s news pages to be considerably more moderate than their opinion pages, but I’d be hard pressed to see any extreme left bias.

    And my position is vindicated- Aaron Brown is the most balanced newscaster on television. Too bad CNN just fired him… why couldn’t they have given Larry King the axe instead? 🙁

  3. I think it is important that we do the next study on what impact the liberal bias of our media has had on this country and the world at large. I believe that it is in the nature of liberals to presume guilt until all the facts have come to light. I also believe that many, many people, (possibly the majority) believe without question nearly everything they hear from the media.

    If those last two ideas are true, a logical conclusion would be that since the media controls the minds of the people, and since the people elect our government representatives, the media has a great influence over who gets elected. Another conclusion would be that the media has had a great impact on how Americans as well as the people of other countries feel about our government. My sense is that the general feeling being conveyed by the media is one of distrust and perhaps even hatred.

    FYI..
    If you do a Google News search on the UCLA findings, you will see that of the major news outlets, only CBS news covered the report. I’m afraid that most of the world may never know of this UCLA study.

  4. Actually, I think the next study should be about how the conservative majority in the FCC took action two years ago not to dilute the influence of the existing media barons, but to help them consolidate their market share and snuff out would-be competitors. That’s right, folks….Michael Powell and other GOP commissioners at the FCC hate the “liberal media” so much that they assured more economic and political clout for those Communist bastards at General Electric and AOL/Time Warner.

    With this in mind, any conservative who continues to whine about the “liberal media” is either a clueless and unimaginable idiot or an opportunistic hypocrite. Which are you, Jay? And Bruce F?

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