Wednesday, June 9, 2004

More on Media Bias

The current issue of BusinessWeek magazine has an article entitled "The Liberal Media: It's No Myth" (it's only available online to subscribers, so no link). The article points to a study (SEE UPDATE) that took a look at the issue, breaking up their data into three parts. The results were interesting, to say the least. I won't rehash the data here, but a three paragraph excerpt (from pages 13-14 of the report) packs a huge punch:

We now compute the difference of a media outlet’s score from 39.0 to judge how centrist it is. Based on sentences as the level of observation (the results of which are listed in Table 8), the Drudge Report is the most centrist, Fox News’ Special Report is second, ABC World News Tonight is third, and CBS Evening is last.

Given that the conventional wisdom is that the Drudge Report and Fox News are conservative news outlets, this ordering might be surprising. Perhaps more surprising is the degree to which the “mainstream” press is liberal. The results of Table 8 show that the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, USA Today, and CBS Evening News are not only liberal, they are closer to the average Democrat in Congress (who has a score of 74.1) than they are to the median of the whole House (who has a score of 39.0).

Another interesting fact concerns the following claim: “Although the New York Times and other media are liberal, they are balanced by conservative media outlets such as Fox News. Consequently, if one spent an equal amount of time watching Fox News and reading the New York Times, he or she would receive a fairly balanced view of the news.” However, Table 8 shows that this is not quite true. Since the New York Times is twice as far from the center as Fox News’ Special Report, to gain a balanced perspective, one would need to spend twice as much time watching Special Report as he or she spends reading the New York Times. (Further as we shall see in Table 9, when one uses citations as the level of observation, one would need to spend an even greater amount of time watching Special Report to gain a balanced perspective.)


I thought it was interesting that such an article would appear in BusinessWeek, since it itself is somewhat left-of-center on many issues.(I agree with Jane Galt on this). In the same issue, they discuss the disproportionate reelection prospects of incumbent politicians in this article . Their solution: more governmental control. More campaign finance reform, more public financing of elections, more mandated air time for challengers. These are not centrist positions, they are liberal positions. At least they are open to opposing views.

UPDATE—I have removed the hyperlink to the article because a reader alerted me to the possible presence of a virus on the link. Here is a cached link to the study in HTML form, courtesy of Google. This is safe to open.

posted at 07:14 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Only in Seattle...

I spent the last few days in Seattle (I actually got a hotel room on First Hill and wandered around downtown, shopping and doing things only available in a big city). Twice I was accosted by activists who asked me if "I wanted to help Bush out of office." I should have asked what group they represented. To the first, I replied, "No. I plan to vote for him in November". Her big smile fell and she turned to the next person on the sidewalk. I saw the second one coming (the "Loyal Democrat" button on his shirt gave away what he was all about, so I started shaking my head as I got closer. I also told him that I was voting for Bush in November. I thought for a minute he was going to argue with me, but he let it go.

I don't recall ever seeing such organized hatred of Clinton during his term in office.

posted at 05:56 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 6, 2004

RIP, Ronald Reagan

I waited a day to post something on this, because everyone else had something to say about it yesterday.

I have been reading posts on this on many blogs, some conservative, some liberal. The conservatives, understandably, were sad to say goodbye. The liberal bloggers, with few exceptions, have maintained an admirable level of courtesy and respect, refusing to dance on the grave of someone that they intensely disliked politically (and personally, in some cases).

The same cannot be said of their commenters, however. I was shocked at the vitriol directed towards Reagan from some on the left. I am not talking about Democratic Underground or Counterspin Central, I am talking about Kevin Drum, Daily Kos and Atrios, supposedly "mainstream" liberal sites. The comments there are distressing, to say the least.

I would like to point out one liberal blogger whose post was a class act. While Oliver Willis is certainly no fan of Reagan, his thoughtful post on Reagan was admirable. Most of his commenters also maintained a sense of decency as well. I hope that when Carter and Clinton die, righty bloggers will show the same level of dignity. I have no respect for either man, but I certainly don't wish them dead, and I will not celebrate their passing.

UPDATE: Boi From Troy has an amazing catalogue of links to bloggers' reactions, from both large and small blogs.

posted at 08:21 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

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