Sunday, August 3, 2008

"Liberal Bias" in the Media

Liberal bias is a hot topic amongst conservatives (and a fact, of course), but a new study calls that assumption into question.

Haters of the mainstream media reheated a bit of conventional wisdom last week.

Barack Obama, they said, was getting a free ride from those insufferable liberals.

Such pronouncements, sorry to say, tend to be wrong since they describe a monolithic media that no longer exists. Information today cascades from countless outlets and channels, from the Huffington Post to to CBS News and beyond.

But now there's additional evidence that casts doubt on the bias claims aimed -- with particular venom -- at three broadcast networks.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.

You read it right: tougher on the Democrat.

The whole thing is very interesting, even if there are some flaws with the methodology. Crying about liberal bias, real or not, is not conducive to problem solving anyway. People need to learn to be more discerning of information no matter its source. The fact is that a truly non-biased perspective is impossible. We are human beings, not robots. We are always going to have baggage from the mere fact that we exist, we think, we have emotions. Media outlets should work to minimize overt bias, but it will always be there.

Of course, those that cry about liberal bias in the mainstream news media never seem to complain that talk radio is overwhelmingly conservative. I wonder why that is?

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