Everyone talks about bias but nobody does anything about it

One of the problems with all those people who try to measure bias in the news media is that they usually only study what the publication or broadcast produces. Now come a study that looks at what the media did not produce.

A story in the current edition of Scientific American gives a sneak peak at a scientific study to be published in December. Tim Groeling, a political scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, looked at presidential polls by Fox news, ABC, CBS and NBC from 1997 to early 2008.  Scientific American article

He found CBS was 35 percent less likely to report a decline in approval for Bill Clinton and was 33 percent more likely to report a drop in approval for George W. Bush than an increase. In contrast Groeling found Fox was 67 percent less likely to report an increase in approval for Clinton than a decrease. Fox was 36 percent more likely tell of an increase for Bush than a decrease.

Combine that with the report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism on media bias in the coverage of Barack Obama vs. John McCain and the media gets two black eyes.  Pew report

The study found stories about Obama were about equally neutral, positive or negative, but stories about McCain were 57 percent negative compared to 14 percent positive and the rest neutral.

As I’ve always recommended, read and watch with a skeptical eye and you can get the facts while evaluating the tone and spin without being hoodwinked.

And while you are at this exercise in self-flagellation, pick up a copy of today's Review-Journal and read the lambasting the press gets from science fiction novelist Orson Scott Card. It is not on our Web site because we respect his copyright. But you can find it elsewhere online if you are too cheap to spring for the 75 cents.  Article by Orson Scott Card