Thursday, March 17, 2005

Media Bias

Ari Fleischer has just come out with a book on his time as the Bush White House Press Secretary. Brent Bozell, who's dedicated his life towards fighting Media Bias, reviews the book for Townhall. Unsurprisingly, he sees it as further proof of Media Bias. And he has a word for those of us who deny Media Bias. "Delusional oddballs."

Apparently the press, especially Helen Thomas, asked a lot of really tough questions of Mr. Fleischer. And that proves it! Or would, if Helen Thomas were somehow representative of the White House Press Corps.

Bozell also takes on a recent review of the book by Salon Magazine, choosing to single out one paragraph as proof that there is so a liberal bias.

Short version. Fleischer claims that the media never uses the term "Social Liberal." Eric Boehlert says that there are 725 stories that use the term between 2001 and 2003 (the term that Fleischer was in the press room). Bozell calls this "lazy, sloppy criticism," as he believes you should have whittled that down to exclude letters to the editor, or small town newspapers, or editorials. He then reviews 2004 to show that the mainstream media outlets did not use the term (except NPR and CBS which used the term once each). Not having Nexis Lexis I can't verify this myself.

On the other hand Bozell doesn't challenge others of Boehlerts critiques, such as this one.
For instance, riding a favorite conservative hobby horse, he complains that while reporters routinely label Republicans as "conservatives," they shy away from tagging Democrats as "liberals." "Why have they largely stopped using the word 'liberal'?" Fleischer wonders.

Stop using? Just within the last year, according to Nexis, the New York Times has published 325 articles that contained three or more references to "liberal," followed by the Washington Post (with 283 articles), Los Angeles Times (266), Associated Press (227), Chicago Tribune (165), and USA Today (71).
But of course the real point is that the press is liberally biased because it's liberally biased. Spending a lot of time explaining that is kind of beside the point. The claim that the Media is liberally biased isn't designed to get you to study the news more carefully. It's designed to get you to reject stories that conflict with a conservative point of view. It encourages not more thought, but less.

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