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March 16, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Again, What Liberal Media?

This one’s for you media studies majors, so tear yourself away from all this lolcat business for two seconds.

Something that happens a lot in US media coverage (and you get Fox News here; you know it’s a circus) is the continued alleged bias of what’s called the ‘liberal media’. Now, I won’t beat a dead horse here and tell you that this is nothing more than a ploy designed by our corporate-run media apparatus to keep Americans divided and comfortably uninformed, but I do want you to appreciate the strength of this liberal media stigma and its affects on our news reporting.

Two associate professors from Indiana University’s Department of Telecommunications have been studying this liberal bias phenomenon using visual analysis and statistical data from three broadcast news networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC. Their new book, Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections (OUP), reports their finding. Their findings: network TV election coverage favors Republicans, and has in every presidential election since 1992.

“We don’t think this is journalists conspiring to favour Republicans. We think they’re just so beat up and tired of being accused of a liberal bias that they unknowingly give Republicans the benefit in coverage,” said one of the authors, Maria Elizabeth Grabe, who is also a research associate in political science at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. “It’s self-censorship that journalists might be imposing on themselves.”

There is no liberal media in America. There may be liberals in the media, but even they are forced to use Republican talking points to prove they’re not liberal. Democrats have to use the Republican playbook to prove themselves. They call it the Goldilocks Effect. In short, it makes the conservative speaker look the more credible, and it’s happening more often.

It’s why conservatives can get on the TV and say bat-crap crazy things like “There’s no such thing as global warming. There’s no such thing as evolution. Obama wasn’t born in the USA,” and they’re taken seriously. Then they put on somebody from the other side and say, “Well, you’ve heard both sides. We’ve done our job. Now you make your decision.” The job of a journalist is not to balance the news, it’s to discern what’s true and report the truth to the people. They think they’ve done their job if they look balanced… even if they’re lying.

It’s how we got to where we are today.


About the Author ()

Andrew Mendes is an American studying International Relations and Public Policy at Victoria. He enjoys following politics and reading lots of news.

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