T Nation

'Media Bias' Discussion


[i]Yes, it's fun to make fun of FoxNews as being "The Republican Network", but in reality, the major news networks and news journals have for so tilted 'left', that any semblance of giving the other side of the aisle fair reporting makes it stand out as 'leaning right'.

The past election cycle was certainly a most illustrative point in media bias towards the left. This article discusses one of several admissions from the journalism 'industry' that the bias is real.[/i]

[b]Thread rules:

Discussion limited to:
- Comments on the article posted below (please read full article).
- Answer and discussion of question posed below
- Opinions (defense against/support for) on perception of media bias (please provide evidence)

Keep the answers civil. Go troll or rant vitriol somewhere else. Troll patrol please take note.
[i]-- Thanks.[/i]


"In the 2008 election, we took sides, straight and simple, particularly with regard to the vice presidential race. I don't know that we played a decisive role in that campaign, and I'm not saying the better side lost. What I am saying is that we simply didn't hold Joe Biden to the same standard as Sarah Palin, and for me, the real loser in this sordid tale is my chosen profession."

From Carl Cannon, senior White House reporter for PoliticsDaily.com

His comments on the Vice-Presidential debate are particularly pointed about Biden's inability to get any facts straight.

Full story: http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/07/08/sarah-barracuda-palin-and-the-piranhas-of-the-press/

So, I ask: Where do you get your news/info from?

Please be specific. "A variety of sources" is not acceptable for this thread.


A variety of sources.

Consider that all info piped to you is already angled. That's why i don;t bother with following politics.


Very good thread to start, Professor SteelyD. It's like I'm back in the lecture hall!

Firstly, where do I get my news from? Well, I read the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Washington Times. I also read the Marine Corps Gazette and some other military periodicals to keep up to date with whats actually going on in with the fleet and our hard-chargers on the ground.

I am happy someone wrote an article shedding some light on the extents to which the media in general can be sometimes very un-journalistic in its approach to news, more often seeking a good/bad guy than actually reporting the facts and leaving the reader to decide. The point that television and internet news media sources have muddied the waters so to speak, blurring the line between opinions and facts , is very well laid out and I agree with the article in this respect. The lengths to which celebrities' opinions are valued as meaningful in the media is shocking to me, and quite frankly I care more what my mailman thinks about foreign policy than Matt Damon.

With the rise of 24-hour news outlets, broadcasters have so much time to nitpick and critique every minute detail, sometimes blowing things out of proportion or flatly taking facts out of context can definitely be seen in the past election cycle. Overplaying Palin's perceived lack of intelligence while simultaneously neglecting to call Biden out on statements that were plainly false is a prime example.

I don't even watch the news on tv anymore. It yellow journalism for the most part, and programs seek to boost ratings with sensationalism, as apposed to facts, regardless of their political alignment. I feel the old adage ,"Believe nothing you hear and half of what you see" rings true today.


I think the article is pretty sound. Most reporters are liberal, as are most people in the culture/language-related professions. And I do think it's a pity that (especially on the web) opinion overshadows news; psychologically, people seem to prefer to cheer or boo than to learn. The Economist is one of the few publications that still focuses on "hard" news stories, thoroughly researched, often about parts of the world that it's easy for an American to ignore. And when they do have an opinion piece, it's very rare that I don't agree with them.

For news, my main source is the New York Times. It's still the standard, it's still beautifully written, I like the culture sections (the one area where I'd say the Wall Street Journal is objectively worse; apart from that, I'd say they're comparable except that the Times is free.)

Blogs: Marginal Revolution and Megan McArdle for economic news. Slate for fun. Occasionally Le Figaro to keep up my French. Will Wilkinson. Sometimes Reason. I used to read a lot more economics/finance stuff back when I was planning to be an economist; now I no longer find out about Fed funds rate cuts the night before they're implemented, and that's OK by me.

Stuff I can't stand: TV news, The Nation, National Review. Shrillness, snark, and manufactured urgency really get on my nerves.


This is kind of an old stat, but I read the other day that a higher percentage of Media voted for Bill Clinton than registered democrats.


I get my information predominantly from Reuters or the AP. Sometimes BBC, especially if it's international news.

However, I read articles online from every paper I can. I read shit from the Washington Post, the LA Times (which I really like for some reason), occasionally the NY Times, the Newark Star-Ledger, once in a while the Record, and... well, whatever else pops up when I hit the "news" button on google. I read TIME magazine every week, and I dig Newsweek even though I don't get it. I also watch Bill Maher religiously (ironically) but I don't consider this "news" so much as I just watch him because I agree with him and think he's funny.

Once in a while I'll read the Huffington Post, but the articles aren't long enough for me and rarely contain facts.... I could write for the Huffington Post. Occasionally I hit the National Review or the Christian Science Monitor (who has some interesting articles).

I don't watch CNN, FOX, or any of the other stations. I also don't watch the local news because it's a waste of time.


Wall Street Journal - the only one I get in hard copy

USA Today when on the road and in hotels.

Politics section of MyYahoo - various sources but mostly AP

Email lists that I can think of off the top of my head = MRC, Politico, Timeswatch, CNS, some other local one, some libertarian party one, some NRA one.

Some sort of voter watch that sends me the all the bills being voted on before hand and how my reprsentative voted - I think it's through yahoo as well.

I do watch Fox or the various sunday talk shows occasionally. The wife usually shuts them off when I start cursing at the tv.

CSPAN when I am bored and feel like punishing myself.

The small town paper when sitting at the doctor or dentist or mechanic or resturante.


The article was good, and very interesting. The fact that papers like Times and magazines like Newsweek got facts wrong is appalling, yes. I won't disagree with that.

However, using people like Chris Matthews, Tina Fey, and Bill Maher as proof of the butchering is kind of ridiculous. I have no respect for TV news, as I've stated, and I wouldn't expect unbiased news from a comedy skit show or Maher (as much as I love him, the guy's blatant about who he supports.)

If this writer is right about all of Biden's gaffes, then yes, the papers should have seized on it. But Palin has a personality that attracts attention. I'm not surprised things focused on her (although I was surprised at all the shit about her family, which was wrong on many levels, and which I didn't read because I truly don't care what 12 guage and Backhoe are doing.) She's kind of like the TO of politics- everyone notices whenever she does anything.

The interviews though, I don't agree with. The Charlie Gibson interview and especially the Couric one showed someone who was wholly unprepared to be on teh national stage. She got butchered for those quandries, and rightfully so. She didn't get killed because she was a beauty queen, or even for that goofy ass accent- she got killed for being semi-illiterate and bumbling - just as she showed the other day in her resignation. One interview like that with Obama would have demolished him, (and rightfully so).

And the writer downplays the ridiculousness of the rumors that circulated and were purveyed about Obama- he's a Muslim, he's a terrorist, his father was a terrorist, He hangs out with terrorists, he wasn't born in America, he's the Bible's definition of the antichrist.... they go on and on and on.

Had Obama made the same incredible mistakes as Palin, he would have been butchered just as badly.


I think the writer was complaining that the rumors about Palin were repeated on MSM outlets. The ones about Obama (or Edwards) were not. Unfounded allegations from the Daily Kos and the Huffington Post were reported as 'NEWS' by the MSM. "There's an allegation swirling that Sarah Palin was born a hermaphrodite!" for example. Sure, someone made that allegation, but it should not have been repeated in a credible news-source.


But Palin wasn't running for president. She was running for an office 'not worth a bucket of warm spit'. My question is why did the media blow the importance of the Vice President out of proportion during the election? Politicians, in both parties, don't know anything more than what they are briefed on by experts.

Politicians are concerned with politics, staffers figure out policy.


Barack Obama is a very healthy 40 something year old man. Joe Biden as VP.

John McCain is a 72-year-old man with a history of skin cancer and... well, he'd be the oldest president ever elected had he been. Pig as VP.

Now, who's more likely to die in office?

That's why.


tbh, anyone could have ran on the Democrat ticket and won. Party three-petes are rare.


My news sources:

NY Times and Wall St. Journal for international news, as they are still the most well connected papers in the States when it comes to foreign correspondents.

NY Times, Wall St. Journal, The Economist (when I can get my hands on one anyways :frowning: ) , Investor's Business Daily, Bloomberg occasionally, the OLD National Review---I can't read the current one anymore, that thing died a while ago. So it is not longer on my readers list--but it did used to be there when it wasn't so shrill. Used to watch the Lehrer show, don't do that much any more but it was regular for a while.

Various internet blogs and news sites--I honestly couldn't tell you because they fluctuate too much.

The Economist deserves special mention, because although I don't get to read it nearly as often as I would like, it is really a fantastic news source. Probably my favorite, for precisely the reason that Alisa mentioned---it sticks to well researched hard news.

I read AP and Reuters, and I get some international news from the BBC, and from Daniel Hannan's blog. Hannan's blog is a good jumping off point for a variety of Brit and EU issues IMHO. Then I just follow various links until I am satisfied.

IF i watch Tv News, which is almost never because I can't stand it, I will flip between the two extremes. I'll put CNN on one channel and Fox on the other and then just flip back and forth--somewhere between the two you figure out what's really going on, if you can translate the gobbledygook. If not you just get upset and throw the remote at the tv, or change the channel to Sportscenter.

I will say this--I do like the one hour of Fox's "regular" news--Bret Baier's hour seems to be pretty straightforward and cut/dry news reporting. Opinion stuff is too rampant on ALL of the tv news networks, so boo to that.


While I agree with you that TV news sucks donkey balls, it is still a very LARGE source to be reckoned with. Many millions of people get a large chunk, even a majority of their news, from the TV. It has an indelible impact on current events whether we would like it to or not (and I would not). Fey and Maher I agree with you on, but I think the larger point is that it WASN'T just them. It was almost everyone on TV news networks.


They could have had one had they wanted it bad enough like they did with Palin.


I understand that. But you know what you're getting by watching Fauxnews, and you know what you're getting by watching CNN- they are not fair and balanced.

The people that rely on these networks for news are getting a version of what happens... and that's why its so dangerous. I truly despise TV "media."


There are not many true politicians in the world that could have dropped the ball like Pig did that night. Obama included. There's ways to control a conversation, or where it's going, and it ain't by saying shit like she did and giving more fodder for the cannons.


Id say the majority of people who work in the media are left-leaning. Just like the majority of university professors are left-leaning. People complain about liberal bias in Hollywood movies, guess what, Hollywood is mostly run by 'liberals'. There are of course many exceptions in the media, Fox News being an obvious one.

It is impossible for any person to be completely impartial, we are emotional beings. Journalists are no exception. This doesn't mean you cannot find valuable journalism regardless of the possible bias the people who make it might have. In America we are a country where the loudest and most extreme voices are the ones that seem to paint pictures for us. I for example really can't stand Sean Hannity and find myself laughing at Rush Limbaugh's ridiculousness. Perhaps this is how a 'conservative' person might see someone like Olbermann. Unfortunately, both sides aren't necessarily wrong. Most issues in the world are much too complex to see in simple 'right vs. wrong' scenarios, and thoughtful discussion is completely lost in the voids of yelling, snarling extremism. This is what pisses me off about most News shows.


She didn't do well, there's no doubt, but Obama was and is vulnerable on a whole bunch of fronts that are just not pursued because they like him.


It is hard to nail a politician to the wall that you like. I don't like doing it in the papers and I assume they're no different at the highest levels. It's far easy to go after someone you hate... and I'm sure the fact that they're at the top level going after people like Pig is that much more invigorating.

The job is not as easy as some folks would make it seem to be.

Again though, the worst Obama interview will look nothing like the best of Palin's. They are on different levels as far as... well, being a "politician" go, be that for good or bad.