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Debate Over Media Bias Takes Hold- Evens libs admit lib bias in the news...
[QUOTE][B]Debate Over Media Bias Takes Hold- Joe Murray[/B]
Four decades ago, the mainstream news media held a special place in the hearts of Americans. Edward R. Murrow dominated the evening news, and news anchors could win the title of "most trusted man in America." People turned to the "CBS Evening News" on a daily basis to learn about the stories that impacted their lives and their families. They knew the day was over when Murrow uttered the words, "Good night, and good luck." Things, however, rarely stay the same.
A Pew Research poll taken a few years back demonstrates how Americans no longer view the mainstream media as a source of objective truth. Rather, 67 percent agreed that "in dealing with political and social issues, news organizations tend to favor one side." That was a 14 percentage point increase from 1985.
Those believing the media "deals fairly will all sides" of an issue fell from 34 percent to 27 percent. And even more telling, 54 percent of Americans believe the news media obstructs progress and frustrates the solution process.
The Center for Media and Public Affairs partnered with the Lou Harris Foundation to conduct a poll of 3,000 people and found that "majorities of all major groups in the population, including 70 percent of self-described liberals, now see a 'fair amount' or 'great deal' of bias in the news. In general, perceptions of bias rise along with levels of education and political participation. "Even self-described liberals agree: 41 percent see the media as liberal, compared to only 22 percent who find the news to be conservative." And according to one media watchdog, nowhere is this perceived media bias more realistic than within the pages of the New York Times. "The Times has always practiced a polite form of moderate liberalism," said Clay Waters, director of Times Watch, a project of the Media Research Council "dedicated to documenting and exposing the liberal political agenda of the New York Times."
Waters argues that the Times is notorious for pushing "agenda pieces from the editorial pages to the front page" and specifically referred to the 2002 flap in Augusta, Georgia. The Augusta National Golf Club, a private entity, had refused to admit women, and the Times subtly advocated for sports celebrities, such as Tiger Woods, to boycott the club.
Waters is not surprised by the recent trend of liberalism in the news media because "in the blog era, newspapers are getting defensive and have to appeal to their core base: liberals." The media analyst notes that bloggers have become influential in the marketplace of ideas and blast iconic newspapers like the Times when the paper deviates, ever so slightly, from the liberal orthodoxy. Such an environment, coupled with the increasing competitive nature of print media, forces media giants to move left. But while many contend that the era of the objective newspaper is gone, Waters disagrees. "Objectivity is a good goal. A liberal reporter is perfectly capable of writing a balanced story and it is not too much to ask that journalists strive for balance," commented Waters. Part of the problem, though, is that most journalists don't view themselves as liberal. "I attend some of these conferences in New York City where the audiences are permitted to ask questions and the questions are so far to the left that I think those journalists participating leave with the idea that they are moderate," explained Waters.
"The New York Times has a seal of approval. ... The paper is the most influential in the nation and a front page story on the Times becomes leading news," stated Waters. Thus, if one paper has the ability to set the pace for news coverage, bias is a serious issue.
But bias does not stop at print media, and Waters is concerned about the treatment many issues receive by the general media. One of those issues is global warming. On July 7, NBC will devote a record 75 hours to former Vice President Al Gore's "Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis." The program will also consist of educational material.
"This isn't just a big wet kiss to Al Gore and his left-wing agenda; it's a shameless acknowledgment of NBC's bias," stated Brent Bozell, president of MRC. "They might as well re-name it Gorestock 2007. ... NBC is a self-proclaimed liberal cheerleader."
How does one combat such a bias? "Encourage conservatives to become journalists," said Waters.
[QUOTE]Washington DC FM talk radio station 106.7 WJFK yesterday announced it was dropping Bill O’Reilly’s nationally syndicated show, and replacing it with a sports-talk program. The Washington Post reports today that O’Reilly’s cancellation is a “case in point” of how poorly conservative radio programs have fared in DC:
With the exception of Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk-radio hosts have struggled for years to find a wide audience on the local dial. While Limbaugh’s afternoon program remains popular on WMAL (630 AM), not many other conservatives’ programs have.
Yet despite their underwhelming performance, numerous right-wing radio hosts have been given repeated opportunities to succeed in DC. “Such radio stars of the right as Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage at times have literally had no ratings in Washington, as measured by Arbitron.”
In its diagnosis of conservative talk’s failures in the DC region, the Post points to a host of factors including the weak signals of some stations, weak programming, and the unique culture of the area that is resistant to political talk radio. One factor that went unmentioned, however, is the impact media consolidation has had on the local market.
In the Center for American Progress’s recent report on the “structural imbalance of political talk radio,” it noted that Washington DC had 65 percent conservative content and only 35 percent progressive. In this region, the market is dominated by only five owners:
Ownership # of stations Station ID
Bonneville International 5 WFED, WGYS, WTOP, WTWP-AM, WTWP-FM
CBS Radio 1 WJFK
ABC, Inc. 1 WMAL
Radio One, Inc. (Urban Talk) 1 WOL
Clear Channel 2 WTNT, WWRC
This pattern of ownership homogeneity is reflected in radio markets throughout the nation. CAP’s report calls for increasing the ownership diversity in the talk radio market, allowing more local participation in determining the content communities want to listen to.[/QUOTE]