From the Right

Observing my upside down America

Media Bias

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The Media Research Center provides insight on the political leanings of the media in the United States.

In 1981, S. Robert Lichter, then with George Washington University, and Stanley Rothman of Smith College, released a groundbreaking survey of 240 journalists at the most influential national media outlets — including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS — on their political attitudes and voting patterns. Results of this study of the “media elite” were included in the October/November 1981 issue of Public Opinion, published by the American Enterprise Institute, in the article “Media and Business Elites.” The data demonstrated that journalists and broadcasters hold liberal positions on a wide range of social and political issues. This study, which was more elaborately presented in Lichter and Rothman’s subsequent book, The Media Elite, became the most widely quoted media study of the 1980s and remains a landmark today.

KEY FINDINGS:

  • 81 percent of the journalists interviewed voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election between 1964 and 1976.
  • In the Democratic landslide of 1964, 94 percent of the press surveyed voted for President Lyndon Johnson (D) over Senator Barry Goldwater (R).
  • In 1968, 86 percent of the press surveyed voted for Democrat Senator Hubert Humphrey.
  • In 1972, when 62 percent of the electorate chose President Richard Nixon, 81 percent of the media elite voted for liberal Democratic Senator George McGovern.
  • In 1976, the Democratic nominee, Jimmy Carter, captured the allegiance of 81 percent of the reporters surveyed while a mere 19 percent cast their ballots for President Gerald Ford.
  • Over the 16-year period, the Republican candidate always received less than 20 percent of the media elite’s vote.
  • Lichter and Rothman’s survey of journalists discovered that “Fifty-four percent placed themselves to the left of center, compared to only 19 percent who chose the right side of the spectrum.”
  • “Fifty-six percent said the people they worked with were mostly on the left, and only 8 percent on the right — a margin of seven-to-one.”

By September 2009, nearly two-thirds _ 63 percent _ of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press believe that news stories are often inaccurate. That’s a flip from when Pew first asked that question in 1985, when 34 percent of respondents believed stories were frequently inaccurate.

Pew also found that 74 percent of respondents believe stories tend to favor one side of an issue over another, up from 66 percent two years ago.

Those trends tend to go hand in hand, said Andrew Kohut, the Pew center’s director.

“If people believe that news reports are often biased, they will say they’re inaccurate,” he said.

The findings indicate U.S. newspapers and broadcasters could be alienating the audiences they are struggling to keep as they try to survive financial turmoil. Pew Research’s questionnaire didn’t attempt to gauge how shrinking newspapers and other cutbacks at news organizations are affecting people’s perceptions, though the reductions probably haven’t helped, said Michael Dimock, an associate director for the center.

The financial problems mainly stem from a steep decline in the ad sales that generate most of the media’s revenue. Newspapers’ print editions have been losing readers to the Internet, and broadcasters’ audiences are fragmenting in an age of cable TV and satellite radio.

The budget squeeze “means facts don’t get checked as carefully as they should,” according to Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times.

The slippage in attitudes toward the press primarily comes from Democrats. Republicans have long been critical of the news media, and now Democrats are joining them. Most Democrats (59 percent) say that news reports are often inaccurate, compared with 43 percent two years ago, Pew said.

Nearly three-quarters of Republicans surveyed (72 percent) view Fox News Channel positively, with 43 percent of Democrats feeling that way, Pew said. CNN had the opposite results: 75 percent of Democrats view the network favorably, while 44 percent of Republicans do. MSNBC, which has become more overtly liberal in primetime over the past year, has 60 percent approval from Democrats, with only 34 percent from Republicans.

Seventy-eight percent of Republicans said the press was politically biased, compared with 50 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents, Pew said. In 1985, less than half of Republicans, Democrats and independent believed the press was politically biased.

A majority of people who say they get most of their news from Fox News Channel say that the media is too critical of America (59 percent) and immoral (51 percent), Pew said.

Pew surveyed 1,506 adults by landline telephones and cell phones from July 22 to 26. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Obama, Democrats got 88 percent of 2008 contributions by TV network execs, writers, reporters

Senior executives, on-air personalities, producers, reporters, editors, writers and other self-identifying employees of ABC, CBS and NBC contributed more than $1 million to Democratic candidates and campaign committees in 2008, according to an analysis by The Examiner of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Democratic total of $1,020,816 was given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880.

By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744.

Read more here at the Washington Examiner

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Written by Ben

October 5, 2008 at 9:03 am

2 Responses

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  1. I imagine a lot of this is why Ron Paul gets ignored by the media …

    I really enjoy your views and blog – I hope you will continue to write. Thanks for taking the time to do so.

    An American Subject

    August 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm

  2. […] This page contains a summary of the research conducted by the Media Research Center and also provides a link to their web-site. […]


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