Alpine Summit

Monday, December 19, 2005

Look What Some Academic Found Out

A professor at UCLA has shown that the media is liberally biased. What a surprise.

While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.

"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

"Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left," said co‚ÄĎauthor Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.

The results appear in the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, which will become available in mid-December.

I don't think any academic study will settle this ongoing debate unequivocally because it is a subjective thing. You can't objectively quantify a subjective thing with objective methods. Having said that, I believe it's easy for any objective person to see the bias in the media by guaging the tone, commentary, and adjectives used in a journalistic piece and compare it to the current political climate.

People should realize they aren't computers. They are thinking, contemplating, self-aware creatures able to distinguish between any two concepts (liberal/conservative, science/philosophy, etc.) Any perceptive person is able to see the media is biased liberally in the same way they are able to say murder is wrong or hate is bad. Science will never prove those things without a doubt, but people will know those simple truths all the same.