Monday, September 26, 2011

Media Bias on Parade, Then Quantified and Analyzed

At Opinion Journal's Notable Quotable: Dilbert creator Scott Adams writing at dilbert.com, Aug. 30:
Is it my imagination, or has the liberal wing of the media's attacks on conservatives turned into a bunch of cheap gotchas involving nitpicked analogies and quotes taken out of context? Perhaps it has always been this way and I never noticed until this year. Or maybe I'm spending too much time reading The Huffington Post. Maybe you can help me sort this out.

Before I continue, I should note that my own views don't map closely to either the liberal or conservative camps. So I don't have a poodle in the fight. I'm just observing a trend.

Consider Rick Perry. He called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme." As analogies go, that's a good one. I believe I have used it myself. It's a colorful way of saying the math doesn't work well when the population of retired people greatly increases and the number of workers funding Social Security does not. Literally no one on Earth disagrees with the central point of Perry's analogy. But I keep seeing Perry's Ponzi scheme quote reported as if it were some sort of idiot misunderstanding or conspiracy theory or foreshadowing of evil. . . .

Consider Mitt Romney's quote in the context of taxes that corporations are people too. That quote was reported as if Romney is so out of touch with ordinary humans that he doesn't know the difference between an artificial legal structure and a living person. Only a robot could say such a thing! But of course his point is one that 100% of real humans agree with: Corporate profits flow into the pockets of employees and shareholders. I remember a time when a gaffe meant you were wrong. But apparently being 100% right isn't a defense if you're also a conservative.
Pretty good. But it's hard to believe that as keen an observer as Adams is, has never noticed the political bias of the mainstream media.

In a new book Left Turn, UCLA Prof. Tim Groseclose demonstrates how prevalent the liberal bias of the media is and how it tilts voting patterns left. Some 93 percent of the the Washington press corps voting for Obama. What's that tell you? Well, if ask a liberal they'll say it's because they're better-educated, wiser and more compassionate than the average citizen.

Despite the fact that readers and viewers distrust the media, it still has a strong effect on voters. According to Groseclose's analysis, it increased the national vote for Obama some 8 percentage points. How he arrives at that figure is quite interesting. Check it out.

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