Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Left Turn" by Tim Groseclose

USNews & World Report has a book review of a tome that won't be reviewed by Liberal Death Star NYT. Tim Groseclose is a UCLA professor---hope he's got tenure---so is this a solitary bleat from the barren pastures of academicide?
The liberal bias of the mainstream media tilts so far left that any outlets not in that political lane, like the Drudge Report and Fox News Channel, look far more conservative than they really are, according to a UCLA professor's new book out next month.

In a crushing body blow to the pushers of the so-called "Fox Effect," which claims the conservative media is dragging the left into the center, UCLA political science professor Tim Groseclose in Left Turn claims that "all" mainstream news outlets have a liberal bias in their reporting that makes even moderate organizations appear out of the mainstream and decidedly right-wing to news consumers who are influenced by the slant. [Read Fox's Huckabee slams MSNBC's Matthews, Scarborough over bias.]

"Fox News is clearly more conservative than ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and National Public Radio. Some will conclude that 'therefore, this means that Fox News has a conservative bias,'" he writes in an advance copy provided to Washington Whispers. "Instead, maybe it is centrist, and possibly even left-leaning, while all the others are far left. It's like concluding that six-three is short just because it is short compared to professional basketball players."

What's more, he says, "this point illustrates a common misconception about the Drudge Report. According to my analysis, the Drudge Report is approximately the most fair, balanced, and centrist news outlet in the United States. Yet, the overwhelming majority of media commentators claim that it has a conservative bias. The problem, I believe, is that such commentators mistake relative bias for absolute bias. Yes, the Drudge Report is more conservative than the average U.S. news outlet. But it is a logical mistake to use that to infer that it is based on an absolute scale."

And in further analysis sure to enrage critics of conservative media, Groseclose determines that Drudge, on a conservative to liberal scale of 0-100, with 50 being centrist, actually leans a bit left of center with a score of 60.4. The reason: Drudge mostly links to the sites of the mainstream media, with just a few written by Matt Drudge himself. "Since these links come from a broad mix of media outlets, and since the news in general is left-leaning, it should not be surprising that the slant quotient of the Drudge Report leans left," he writes. [Read Poll: Fox, O'Reilly most trusted news sources.]

The author developed a calculation to figure out the "political quotient" to find the bias of media outlets and the average slant of an organization.

Groseclose opens his book quoting a well-known poll in which Washington correspondents declared that they vote Democratic 93 percent to 7 percent, while the nation is split about 50-50. As a result, he says, most reporters write with a liberal filter. "Using objective, social-scientific methods, the filtering prevents us from seeing the world as it actually is. Instead, we see only a distorted version of it. It is as if we see the world through a glass—a glass that magnifies the facts that liberals want us to see and shrinks the facts that conservatives want us to see." [Check out political cartoons about the Democratic Party.]

He adds: "That bias makes us more liberal, which makes us less able to detect the bias, which allows the media to get away with more bias, which makes us even more liberal."

Some key points:

"Every mainstream national news outlet in the United States has a liberal bias."

"Supposedly conservative news outlets are not far right. For instance, the conservative bias of [Fox's] Special Report is significantly less than the liberal bias of CBS Evening News."

"Media bias aids Democratic candidates by about 8 to 10 percentage points in a typical election. I find, for instance, that if media bias didn't exist, John McCain would have defeated Barack Obama 56 percent to 42 percent, instead of losing 53-46." [See editorial cartoons about Barack Obama.]

Perhaps the most useful part of his book is the slant ratings of the media. The numbers are based on a conservative-to-liberal 0-100 rating, with 50 being centrist:

New York Times-73.7.
CBS Evening News-73.7.
NPR Morning Edition-66.3.
U.S. News & World Report-65.8.
Drudge Report-60.4.
ABC Good Morning America-56.1.
Washington Times-35.4.

Groseclose is not breaking new ground with this book. Back in 2005, a UCLA?UofMissouri Journalism School study of over TWENTY YEARS of media slanting of the news as measured by the Americans for Democratic Action index: the libtard bible of ideological purity among Congresscritters:
"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‑author 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.

Groseclose and Milyo based their research on a standard gauge of a lawmaker's support for liberal causes. Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) tracks the percentage of times that each lawmaker votes on the liberal side of an issue. Based on these votes, the ADA assigns a numerical score to each lawmaker, where "100" is the most liberal and "0" is the most conservative. After adjustments to compensate for disproportionate representation that the Senate gives to low‑population states and the lack of representation for the District of Columbia, the average ADA score in Congress (50.1) was assumed to represent the political position of the average U.S. voter.

Groseclose and Milyo then directed 21 research assistants — most of them college students — to scour U.S. media coverage of the past 10 years. They tallied the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups, such as the left-leaning NAACP or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation.

Next, they did the same exercise with speeches of U.S. lawmakers. If a media outlet displayed a citation pattern similar to that of a lawmaker, then Groseclose and Milyo's method assigned both a similar ADA score.

"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 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Only Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

The most centrist outlet proved to be the "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer." CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown" and ABC's "Good Morning America" were a close second and third.

Tim Groseclose will be on The O'Reilly Factor and other conservative outlets, for sure. I wonder whether retarded Tweety-bird Matthews might beg for him to be on the pussy program Hardball, which plays with actual baseballs only when conservatives.

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