Harvard Study Shows Media Bias Consensus

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OStateMan

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Even Harvard Finds The Media Biased
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, November 01, 2007 4:30 PM PT

Journalism: The debate is over. A consensus has been reached. On global warming? No, on how Democrats are favored on television, radio and in the newspapers.


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Just like so many reports before it, a joint survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy — hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy — found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans.

Democrats are not only favored in the tone of the coverage. They get more coverage period. This is particularly evident on morning news shows, which "produced almost twice as many stories (51% to 27%) focused on Democratic candidates than on Republicans."

The most flagrant bias, however, was found in newspapers. In reviewing front-page coverage in 11 newspapers, the study found the tone positive in nearly six times as many stories about Democrats as it was negative.

:eek:(THIS CERTAINLY CAN'T INCLUDE SPORTS COVERAGE, TOO, COULD IT?!):rolleyes:

Breaking it down by candidates, the survey found that Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were the favorites. "Obama's front page coverage was 70% positive and 9% negative, and Clinton's was similarly 61% positive and 13% negative."

In stories about Republicans, on the other hand, the tone was positive in only a quarter of the stories; in four in 10 it was negative.

The study also discovered that newspaper stories "tended to be focused more on political matters and less on issues and ideas than the media overall. In all, 71% of newspaper stories concentrated on the 'game,' compared with 63% overall."

Television has a similar problem. Only 10% of TV stories were focused on issues, and here, too, Democrats get the better of it.

Reviewing 154 stories on evening network newscasts over the course of 109 weeknights, the survey found that Democrats were presented in a positive light more than twice as often as they were portrayed as negative. Positive tones for Republicans were detected in less than a fifth of stories while a negative tone was twice as common.

The gap between Democrats and Republicans narrows on cable TV, but it's there nonetheless. Stories about Democrats were positive in more than a third of the cases, while Republicans were portrayed favorably in fewer than 29%. Republican led in unfriendly stories 30.4% to 25.5%.

CNN was the most hostile toward Republicans, MSNBC, surprisingly, the most positive. MSNBC was also the most favorable toward Democrats (47.2%), Fox (36.8%) the most critical.

The anti-GOP attitude also lives on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition." There, Democrats were approvingly covered more than a third as often as Republicans. Negative coverage of Democrats was a negligible 5.9%. It seemed to be reserved for Republicans, who were subject to one-fifth of the program's disparaging reports.

Even talk radio, generally considered a bastion of conservatism, has been relatively rough on the GOP. On conservative shows, Obama got more favorable treatment (27.8%) than Rudy Giuliani (25%). Sen. John McCain got a 50% favorability rating while Mitt Romney led the three GOP candidates with 66.7%.

The PEG-Shorenstein effort is only the latest to conclude that the mainstream media tilt left. Others include Stanley Rothman and Robert Lichter's groundbreaking 1986 book "The Media Elite"; "A Measure of Media Bias," a 2005 paper written by professors from UCLA and the University of Missouri; and Bernard Goldberg's two books, "Bias" and "Arrogance." All underscore the media's leftward leanings.

The media, of course, insist they are careful to keep personal opinions out of their coverage. But the facts tell another story — one that can't be edited or spiked.

http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=278808786575124
 

NYC Poke

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OStateMan

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I'd like to see some of this guy's work, but I can probably venture a guess as to his political leanings which were probably NOT always fair to the opposition.

If he wants to use his power to mislead and incite, then I think it's only fair that his opponent be able to fight back.

If the reporters taxes are in line, then he has nothing to worry about.

Same with his reporting. If he's fair and he reports the FACTS -- ALL OF THEM (something few reporters use these days) so that the readers can make their own informed decisions, then I doubt his returns would have raised much of a eyebrow.

Seems like reporters want to use their power in many of the same ways those people they criticize do.

Reporters and politicians are both egotistical, manipulative, and similar.
The pot calling the kettle black.
 

NYC Poke

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I'd like to see some of this guy's work, but I can probably venture a guess as to his political leanings which were probably NOT always fair to the opposition.

If he wants to use his power to mislead and incite, then I think it's only fair that his opponent be able to fight back.

If the reporters taxes are in line, then he has nothing to worry about.

Same with his reporting. If he's fair and he reports the FACTS -- ALL OF THEM (something few reporters use these days) so that the readers can make their own informed decisions, then I doubt his returns would have raised much of a eyebrow.

Seems like reporters want to use their power in many of the same ways those people they criticize do.

Reporters and politicians are both egotistical, manipulative, and similar.
The pot calling the kettle black.
I didn't ask his name, so I wouldn't be able to tell you.

One thing I'm curious about on these studies is how you classify "positive" and "negative." For the most part, the Democrts campaign have been going pretty well. If you report that, is that a "positive"? Conversely, thing haven't been going as well for the Republicans' campaigns (other than Ron Paul). There's been a lot of turmoil. If you report that, is that considered a "negative"?
 

Epperley28

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Exactly! Bush had screwed up at nearly every turn, does reporting those facts make for "negative" reporting on the Bush administration?

Besides, now that Fox News is here, that kind of balances it all out, doesn't it?

Now if we can just get them to do a report on the bias of the DOK towards Oklahoma State!:D
 

RoVerto Solo

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I met a political reporter from the NYT. He told me the he's been audited by the IRS every single year since Bush got elected. That might affect my reporting.
My first response to that is that he has lied to you.

No one gets audited year after year on the same issues especially if there are no changes in the taxes assessed each year.
 

NYC Poke

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My first response to that is that he has lied to you.

No one gets audited year after year on the same issues especially if there are no changes in the taxes assessed each year.
Unless you work for the NYT? His comments were unsolicited. Could've been bs. Wouldn't be the first I've that heard here. I didn't follow up because it wasn't the sort of place where you ask peoples' names. Take it for what it's worth.
 

RoVerto Solo

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Unless you work for the NYT? His comments were unsolicited. Could've been bs. Wouldn't be the first I've that heard here. I didn't follow up because it wasn't the sort of place where you ask peoples' names. Take it for what it's worth.
It's not worth much. Believe me. He is basically stating that he has been audited 5 times or more in 7 years. He has to be a major under reporter of income or an over reporter of expenses, for the IRS to legally justify that many audits of him in that short a period of time.
 

Cimarron

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I met a political reporter from the NYT. He told me the he's been audited by the IRS every single year since Bush got elected. That might affect my reporting.
I would have to see the proof of that.
 

Cimarron

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Exactly! Bush had screwed up at nearly every turn, does reporting those facts make for "negative" reporting on the Bush administration?

Besides, now that Fox News is here, that kind of balances it all out, doesn't it?

Now if we can just get them to do a report on the bias of the DOK towards Oklahoma State!:D
You have missed represented the information in the report as it did include Fox News and everything wasn't balanced out.

You also have done exactly what the report says the media does. You have stated that Bush screwed up at nearly every turn and that they are facts, when in reality that they are a fact is likely only your opinion. There is a counter argument to what you are likely calling a fact.
 

GodsPeace

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Nothing new to read or see here. Just nice to have an actual study to show it it statistically.

Bias toward liberals has existed for the better part of 50years. It didn't start with the Bush presidency.
 

NYC Poke

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It's probably because most media is owned by those liberal multi-national corporations.

If the media really is biased toward "liberals," why doesn't Kucinich get more coverage?
 

NYC Poke

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Because he is a nutjob that even they cannot sell.

I disagree with him on many issues (he's too liberal for me), but when I have heard him in fora other that the debates, he comes across as pretty sensible to me.

The thing about "media bias"* is, if you go to the lefty sites, they complain about the media at least as much as the conservatives do. A few years ago I read "What Liberal Media" by Eric Alterman (who is a lefty, but an intellectually honest one). He applied the "positive" vs. "negative" analysis to the 2000 election and the media coverage was overwhelmingly in favor of Bush over Gore.

The Bush Administration hasn't had a lot of policy successes. The jury's still out on the effect of the tax cuts, his major legislative success, and it came early in his administration. If you support Bush, it is easy to read coverage of his lack of successes as "negative" coverage. On the other hand, the administration has committed a lot of irresponsible gaffes that the lefties feel have gone under-reported and accuse the MSM of valuing their White House access over fair reporting.



*I put that in quotes not because I don't think biases exist. I just think the motives behind them are not easily ascribed. It's more like the I-don't-want-to-look-stupid-so-I-won't-buck-conventional-wisdom bias, or the I'm-on-deadline-and-I-need-to-crank-out-something-real-quick bias.

Maybe some SNP or O'Colly reporters (or Jenni?) would care to weigh in.
 

NYC Poke

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My favorite article on media bias:

  • Media Criticized For Biased Hometown Sports Reporting
    Media Criticized For Biased Hometown Sports Reporting
    November 19, 2003 | Issue 39•45

    ALBANY, NY—Members of the national media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting released a 255-page report Monday criticizing the American media for severely biased local sports coverage.


    Enlarge Image
    The Boston Globe's 2002 Super Bowl coverage barely mentions the opposing team.
    "In our extensive study of the nation's sports sections and broadcasts, we documented countless examples of shamelessly one-sided reporting, obvious speculation, and bald editorializing masquerading as journalism," FAIR spokesman Scott Wilborough said. "Coverage was heavily, sometimes brazenly, weighted toward the teams from a media source's own area. To look at the data, you would almost think that sports journalists aren't held to the same standards as other reporters."

    FAIR surveyed the sports reporting of more than 400 newspapers, as well as nearly 200 television and radio stations across the country.Wilborough said that, in an average article about a sports event, 87 percent of column space was devoted to coverage of the local team.

    "Photos almost always featured the home team, usually in a moment of victory," Wilborough said. "When the players and coaches of the opposing team were discussed, it was usually in the context of how they were 'destroyed' or 'stomped.'"

    In addition to granting local teams and athletes disproportionate amounts of column space and airtime, city dailies and newscasts often exaggerated local teams' wins and downplayed their losses.

    Wilborough held up two newspapers: a copy of the Detroit Evening News with the headline "Sanders to Join the Immortals" and a copy of the Philadelphia Inquirer with the headline "McNabb's Brilliant Last Minute Heroics Destroy Green Bay."

    "It's frankly baffling how widespread the bias is," Wilborough said. "Journalists seem to lose their composure altogether when reporting on their local sports teams."

    The FAIR report, which characterized the bias as "irresponsible and pervasive," stated that "the blatant slanting of local sports coverage goes against the ethics of balanced journalism and contributes to a public perception that the local team in a particular area is the absolute best. This does a disservice to the very audience that the media claim to serve."

    "The fact is, only one team in any given sport will earn the distinction of being the best," Wilborough said. "Nevertheless, local news outlets go on asserting that an area team is number one, often against all logic. When a local team is performing poorly, journalists will often slant coverage to imply that the failure is circumstantial or temporary. They even go so far as to make totally indefensible claims such as 'We'll get 'em next year.'"

    According to the report, the bias can be found everywhere from New York and Chicago to smaller media markets like Green Bay, WI and South Bend, IN.

    "The bias is everywhere, but the New York and Boston media's coverage of this year's American League playoffs is a classic example," FAIR investigator Clark Hudson said. "And it all starts, as bad journalism so often does, with editorializing through biased word choice."

    Hudson said that in both the New York Post and The Boston Globe, home-team batters were referred to as "sluggers," pitchers as "hurlers," and managers as "field generals."

    "Hell, if I were the Boston Red Sox, I'd sue the New York Post for slander," Hudson said.

    Several reporters agreed that a problem exists, but disagreed about both its nature and its severity.

    "In my opinion, the most insidious aspect of unbalanced sports coverage is the bandwagon effect," sports journalist Lori Nickel said. "For example, Chicago news outlets support [coach] Dick Jauron blindly as long as the Bears are winning. But only one team can win the championship every year, so eventually, WGN and the Sun-Times start screaming for the firing of the entire coaching staff. How is that fair?"

    "I wholeheartedly agree that standards in the business are slipping," said ESPN's Jeremy Schaap, son of late sports-writing legend Dick Schaap. "I'd like to see a return to the respect and even-handedness not seen since the days of that great man and exemplary American, Howard Cosell."

    Wilborough said the problem may be larger than many realize.

    "Let's face it, sports news is the only news most people read," Wilborough said. "That's reason enough to clean it up. Otherwise, the media may start seeing bias and sensationalism as a formula for success. I don't think anyone wants to live in a country where that happens."

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/30050