<\body> Stories in America: Another Flawed "Media is Liberal" Report

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Another Flawed "Media is Liberal" Report

Media Matters keeps track of lies, deception and spin so you don't have to:
News outlets including CNN cited a study of several major media outlets by a UCLA political scientist and a University of Missouri-Columbia economist purporting to "show a strong liberal bias." But the study employed a measure of "bias" so problematic that its findings are next to useless, and the authors -- both former fellows at conservative think tanks cited in the study to illustrate liberal bias -- seem unaware of the substantial scholarly work that exists on the topic.

In recent days, news outlets including CNN cited a study of several major media outlets, "A Measure of Media Bias" (pdf) by political scientist Timothy J. Groseclose of UCLA and economist Jeffrey D. Milyo of the University of Missouri-Columbia, purporting to demonstrate that America's news content has "a strong liberal bias." But the UCLA-led study employed a measure of "bias" so problematic that its findings are next to useless. In addition, the authors -- apparently new to media content analysis -- seem unaware of the substantial scholarly work that exists on the topic, yet they do cite a number of right-wing sources to provide support for their claims.

Given the study's conclusions (that the media is replete with liberal bias) and the study's failure to acknowledge its authors' conservative pedigree, it is not surprising that a number of conservative news outlets picked up the story, as did a few mainstream outlets. Conservative MSNBC host Tucker Carlson interviewed Milyo about the study on the December 19 edition of MSNBC's The Situation with Tucker Carlson. The study was also cited by anchor Jack Cafferty during the December 20 edition of CNN's The Situation Room; on the December 19 editions of Fox News' Fox & Friends and Special Report with Brit Hume; in a December 19 article in The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tennessee; and in a December 20 Investor's Business Daily editorial by Edward R. Stephanopoulos. CBS News' Public Eye weblog also featured a post about the study.

None of the outlets that reported on the study mentioned that the authors have previously received funding from the three premier conservative think tanks in the United States: the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI), The Heritage Foundation, and the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.


At 12/21/2005 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Dow Jones says it's bogus, too:


At 12/22/2005 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off -- In response to the UCLA study being biased, so far you've sent me a link to a book authored by some guy from The Nation -- and now, you've posted a link to a website that can't resist adding the adjective "rabid" in front of the words "right-winger." (To describe the Wall Street Journal, no less.)

And thanks anyway, but even though the temptation to let Media Matters "keep track of lies, deception and spin, so I don't have to" is overwhelming...I think I'll continue to keep my options open.

As for the merit of article itself, it seems at first glance to be an ad hominem hit piece on the UCLA study. Although the site is clearly moonbat land, the article does raise a few points which require a response from the authors.

Best for now is to take a few days and let things sort themselves out. We know all about liberal bias in MSM, and we know all about those who deny it. Some folks still think the earth is flat.

One of the things I found interesting about the study was the stated surprise at the findings. If you can't find liberal bias in MSM, you either can't find the end of your nose, or you refuse to look. Also, because the study came out of UCLA, and because of the "surprise findings," I assumed the authors were likely typical university liberals.

You also might want to check out the studies done by Pew Research Center for People and the Press. (That is, if you're still open to anyone besides Media Matters catching "all the spin you need to know")


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