Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Myth Of The Myth Of Liberal Media Bias

Steve Benen writing in Washington Monthly has an article up;
"So much for the 'liberal' media" in which he shows via a Pew Research analysis that first Rick Perry, and now Herman Cain have had a substantially favorable press.

He then goes on to contrast that , with the aid of a color coded graph, with the "substantially more negative" coverage that President Obama  received during the time frame measured. This leaves Benen to conclude that there is in fact no leftists bias in the media "liberal" media indeed" he concludes rather pompously.

Leaving aside the fact that of all candidates listed it is actually Newt Gingrich who has had the worst, or most negative, press coverage the fact, if the Pew analysis is correct of course, that the president has had negative coverage over the period does not preclude their being an inherent liberal bias in the media.

What the negative coverage has revealed is that, as with the Carter administration, the liberal media has finally  decided that they do have some standards, and are reporting now what was blatantly obvious to millions three years ago. That the administration is out of its depth, has no answers to the economic crisis, is so painfully obvious that to report it any other way would be to destroy any last vestige of credibility the media has.

To surmise that because the media has come to its senses it has somehow lost its liberal bias, and that it won't tear the Republican nominee to shreds if it gets the slightest chance, is to be totally disingenuous.

The history  of the "Journolist" conspiracy during the raising of candidate Obama to Greek column status is a shameful part of the history of the media but it is nonetheless a bias defining episode which has not gone away.

For an historians analysis of the media's liberal bias the seminal book on the subject 'The Partisan Press' by Professor Dr. Si Sheppard is illuminating;

"Survey data leaves no doubt that a gap has opened between the press and the American people. A groundbreaking 1981 study of 240 journalists at national news outlets, conducted by S. Robert Lichter and Stanley Rothman, found that 81 percent said they voted for Democratic candidates for president  in every election between 1964 and 1976. Even below the elite level, the division persisted. A 1985 Los Angeles Times study of 2,700 journalists at 621 newspapers found this sample to the left of the public on issues relating to abortion, gun control, prayer in schools and defense spending. In 1999, the American Society of Newspaper Editors surveyed 1,037 reporters at 61 newspapers of all sizes. It found that 53 percent said they were liberal or Democrat or leaned that way,compared to only 15 percent who called themselves Republican or conservative or tilted that way.

The trend was not as evident at smaller papers, but still existed. An Indiana University school of Journalism survey in 2002 found that although  the number of Democrats (37 percent) was at its lowest ebb since 1971, Democrats still topped Republicans by about a 2-1 margin in news rooms. The public in turn is entirely cognizant  of the political correctness that suffuses most news sources."

What liberal bias? That liberal bias.

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