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."What these guys did was to take the Americans For Democratic Action (ADA) numerical rankings for members of Congress (100 being most liberal and 0 being most conservative with 50 being a perfect "centrist") and apply the ADA numerical rankings to media reports. The media was measured using the ADA scale by how many times the media favorably mentioned a particular politician - his speeches, for instance - and applying the same ADA number to the media. The UCLA study included the media's treatment of the think tanks, from the liberal NAACP to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
"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‑author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.
To avoid any charges of bias, the team's leaders assured that the research assistants were evenly divided between Bush and Gore supporters and the research project accepted no outside funding. They reviewed the last 10 years of media archives to compile their numbers. The results were not to surprising, except to the researchers.
"A media person would have never done this study," said Groseclose, a UCLA political science professor, whose research and teaching focuses on the U.S. Congress. "It takes a Congress scholar even to think of using ADA scores as a measure. And I don't think many media scholars would have considered comparing news stories to congressional speeches."Of the 20 top media outlets studied, 18 scored left-of-center. They found, among other things, that the most liberal biased media outlet was The Wall Street Journal, followed by CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
Only Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.Some surprises:
The fourth most centrist outlet was "Special Report With Brit Hume" on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet.The study pointedly left out editorial and OP/ED pages. The study's directors said that they were more concerned with bias in news reporting than with declared editorial bloviating.
The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. "One thing people should keep in mind is that our data for the Drudge Report was based almost entirely on the articles that the Drudge Report lists on other Web sites," said Groseclose. "Very little was based on the stories that Matt Drudge himself wrote. The fact that the Drudge Report appears left of center is merely a reflection of the overall bias of the media."
Yet another finding that contradicted conventional wisdom relates to National Public Radio, often cited by conservatives as an egregious example of a liberal news outlet. But according to the UCLA-University of Missouri study, it ranked eighth most liberal of the 20 that the study examined.
"By our estimate, NPR hardly differs from the average mainstream news outlet," Groseclose said. "Its score is approximately equal to those of Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report and its score is slightly more conservative than The Washington Post's. If anything, government‑funded outlets in our sample have a slightly lower average ADA score (61), than the private outlets in our sample (62.8)."
"Past researchers have been able to say whether an outlet is conservative or liberal, but no one has ever compared media outlets to lawmakers," Groseclose said. "Our work gives a precise characterization of the bias and relates it to known commodity - politicians."Aha! I knew it all the time. Matt Drudge is a closeted liberal leftie commie pinko fag fifth-columnistic Trojan Horse.
TAGS: media bias, liberal media, UCLA, Matt Drudge