Monday, July 28, 2008

The case against liberal media bias

Never ones to let the facts get in the way of an opinion, Bill O'Reilly and Bernard Goldberg worked themselves into a lather last week with accusations of liberal bias in the press coverage of the presidential campaigns.

"The folks," O'Reilly crowed, "understand what's happening."

For once, they were right. But for all the wrong reasons.

According to a recent study from The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, broadcast networks ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Barack Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.

The center found that the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on the three networks were neutral. But when the network personalities offered opinions on the candidates, 72 percent of the statements were negative for Obama. By contrast, network statements about McCain were 57 percent negative.

"This information should blow away this silly assumption that more coverage is always better coverage," said the center's director, Robert Lichter, a one-time FOX News contributor, to the LA Times.

There's plenty to digest in the center's report and the story from The Times but, certainly, people should take the time to understand that there's no such thing as a monolithic liberal-controlled press.

There's any number of media outlets available for people to consume their news, from blogs to the National Review to the New York Times to The Huffington Post to The Drudge Report to Hell, even the St. Petersburg Times (they, in particular, have my endorsement but certainly not O'Reilly's).

The claims of liberal bias have almost always been ridiculous and based more on opinion rather than fact. But now, armed with the facts, I'm sure this latest report won't do much to sway O'Reilly or Goldberg or a goofball like Glenn Beck.

As Fox News and the like have shown over the years, there's not much to be gained by telling the truth.


John P. Araujo said...

Whenever the issue of "liberal media bias is brought up, each side brings their stats on why the other side is wrong. Each side then gets defensive and isn't really listening to the to the other, and usually nothing is settled. So what ends up is that the general public does not know who to believe. How can this "liberal media bias" question be settled once and for all?

blackink said...

You know J.P., I think it should be permanently barred from political discourse along with "flip flop" and "Sister Souljah moment."

Those terms have no place in serious discussions about important issues. Don't you think?