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December 22, 2005


With the recent disclosure of the significant delay in reporting the administration's "legally dubious wiretap scheme" on top of continued warnings on the quality of news fed to the American public with a wry smile,



the bias would seem irrelevant in the larger view.

In September 2004, Christiane Amanpour appeared on "Real Time - with Bill Maher" and pointed out that the stories of journalists in the field in Iraq were getting their stories, "bashed" - and that this was common. The inferrence followed a statement that the foriegn reports in mainstream U.S. media were not complete and were reduced to insignificant [edited] before getting on air. She pointed out that journalists had been reporting for over a year that the insurgency in Iraq was a serious indigenous uprising and that the U.S. authorities had been discounting this in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Ms. Amanpour received a bit of a scolding from her overlords shortly thereafter. Was this scolding a left scolding or a right scolding?

A review of the Bill Moyers debacle and follow up might be more of interest as well.

As regards bias - all news can be picked for bits of bias depending upon myriad factors. The more important concern is the limititations, due in part to bias, of the news that the average good citizen receives and that the good citizen does not make the effort to scan various alternative sources [including foreign] on any issue of which he/she might feel strongly in order to become better informed.

To discuss bias in mainstream U.S. media amid the seeming marginal censorship of that media seems to be like discussing the harmful effects of a cold with a terminal cancer patient.

In a May, 2005 survey, the Pew Research Center finds that 39% of the American public identifies itself as Conservative, 37% as Independent & 19% as Liberal. These numbers come from the detailed demographic tables at the end of the write-up. The link is below.


If these numbers are correct, or even close to being correct, then there are roughly twice as many conservatives as liberals in the country and, presumably, in the Congress.

Another way of saying this is that roughly 80% of the population is not distinctly liberal.

In Table III of their study, Groseclose and Milyo say that their ADA scale is calibrated so that "50.06 is our estimate of the average American voter". Since the population is split right down the middle in the elections, this means that 50.06 is roughly equivalent to 50% of the American voting population.

The 50.06 figure roughly divides 50% of the people to the left and 50% to the right. Given that only around 20% of the population is liberal, there will be a number of conservatives and conservative-leaning people on the "left" side of the population.

The Groseclose and Milyo survey conflates this left group with liberal. It is clearly not liberal.

It is no wonder that they found the press has a liberal bias, since they count many people who are either conservative, or conservative-leaning, as liberals.

To drive the point home another way, the Pew survey records that many Democratic representatives self-identify as conservative. So many Democrats, in their own words, do not consider themselves to be liberal.

It seems to me that unless Groseclose and Milyo recalibrate their results to accomodate this lopsided conservative demographic in the population, they have redefined liberal to include elements of the population that are centrist and conservative. No wonder everything looks liberal to them.


Do you actually watch the news? Geez its not even a question anymore.

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