conservative/liberal bias

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Conservative/Liberal Bias. Topics:. Does political bias truly exist? If so, how pronounced is it? What are the consequences of political bias? Is it OK for a reporter to editorialize and give their own opinions/draw conclusions? What should be done to combat political bias (if anything)?. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Topics:Does political bias truly exist? If so, how pronounced is it?What are the consequences of political bias?Is it OK for a reporter to editorialize and give their own opinions/draw conclusions?What should be done to combat political bias (if anything)?

  • Types of Bias:Skewing news: purposefully altering a news story (e.g. taking quotes out of context, failure to report events inconsistent with ones ideology)Playing favorites: giving harsher coverage to one political ideology, or granting an inordinate amount of coverage to one political ideologyIllusion of fairness: claiming that news is objective, or that guests have no biases, when in fact they are advocating (e.g. a Democratic strategist is only billed as a CNN Political Correspondent, with no mention of their political ties, or when Fox News claims it is fair and balanced)Fabrication/false reporting: spreading false information, either by lax fact-checking or plain lyingBipartisanship: only focusing on Democratic and Republican points of view while ignoring other political ideologies (Libertarian, Socialist, Green, etc.)

  • Does Bias Truly Exist?Yes, according to a 2005 UCLA study. Most national news organizations lean to the left (liberal), very few lean to the right (conservative).

    Most liberal news outlets:Most conservative news outlets:Most centrist news outlets:

  • Does Bias Truly Exist?There are very few reporters that identify themselves as conservatives.However, all news outlets are much, much closer to the center than either extreme. Watchdog groups like Media Matters and Free Press tend to fan the flames.Reporters political preferences (Pew State of the Media 2008): Percent who support nuclear development (from a 1980 study in the book The Media Elite)





    Nat'l Reporters

    Local Reporters


    Nat'l ReportersLocal Reporters




    Category 44.5

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    Support Nuclear Development?


    Support Nuclear Development?Series 2Series 3

    Nuclear Scientists692.42

    Energy Scientists704.42

    Energy Engineers801.83


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  • Examples of Political Bias: 2008 Presidential Campaign

    Post-Debate Focus Groups: February, the New York Times ran a front-page, above the fold story about an alleged affair between John McCain and a lobbyist. Also, in 2007, the Times gave a hefty discount to for them to place a full-page ad against Gen. David PetraeusDuring the Democratic primaries, some media analysts thought that MSNBC was biased against Hillary Clinton. Their evidence included Chris Matthews saying he got a tingle up his leg when Obama spoke, and David Shuster saying that Chelsea Clinton had been pimped out by the Clinton campiagn.

  • 2008 Presidential CampaignAnchors, analysts, and pundits all in oneFox calls Michelle Obama baby mamaTerrorist jab?Barack Obama received 38% more coverage than McCain in 2008 campaign

  • Consequences of Political BiasCan affect voters preferences. The Quarterly Journal of Economics says the introduction of Fox News in several towns across the nation increased Republican votes between 3% and 28%.News is increasingly packed with opinion and analysis rather than hard, substantive news.Reporters have become the subjects of reporting (i.e. Bill OReilly, Keith Olbermann).The line between reporting and editorializing is dwindling. How can the public make a fair, informed decision?

  • The Many Lives of Andrea Mitchell Anchoring on MSNBCGiving opinion on Morning Joe Providing analysis on Meet the PressReporting for NBC Nightly News Arguing with Chris Matthews on Hardball Conflict of interest?

  • Cable News Believability by Political Preference








    DemocratsRepublicansSeries 3



    Fox News22323

    Category 44.52.85

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  • Do We Always Need Objectivity?As journalistsweve gotten overly obsessed with parityto the point that it got ridiculous in a way. So when you have Candidate A saying the sky is blue, and Candidate B saying its a cloudy day, I look outside and I see, well, its a cloudy day. I should be able to tell my viewers, Candidate A is wrong, Candidate B is right. And not have to say, Well, you decide. Then it would be like Im an idiot. And Id be treating the audience like idiots.

    All too often, a story free of any taint of personal opinion is a story with all the juice sucked out. A big piece of why so much news copy today is boring as hell is this objectivity god. Keeping opinion out of the story too often means being a fancy stenographer.-- Campbell Brown, host of CNNs Election Center, in a NY Times Interview

    --Geneva Overholser, chair of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, from Groping For Ethics in Journalism.

  • Wait Edward R. Murrow Wasnt Objective?Walter Cronkite speaks outagainst the Vietnam WarBill OReilly approves the surge of troops in IraqEdward R. Murrow denounces Sen. Joe McCarthyKeith Olbermann denounces President BushColonial-era newspaper publishers made no secret of their political preferences

  • Solutions?Re-institute the fairness doctrine requiring broadcast stations to give equal time to opposing viewpoints?Force news organizations to disclose their political preferences?Require that opinion and commentary be specially-labeled?Stress media literacy education in schools?

  • ConclusionSPJ says journalists should, Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others, and, Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

    If biased news is so horrible, then why do Americans keep consuming it?


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