Saturday, May 16, 2009

Media Bias Among National Reporters

There are all kinds of places where bias can be noticed in the various sources of media we may follow today. There are the very independent and granular sources such as Twitter or blogs, where one expects to find a bias. But the broader (i.e more national) the source, the more we would hope the bias would not be distracting. Every human being will have a built-in bias about issues with which they have any familiarity, but we expect (or used to) that larger, mainstream sources will employ journalist who keep their opinions to themselves when reporting the news. And one might even hope (or dream) that the hiring of professionals would try to include people with a diversity of views so some balance is assured overall.

If I sounded sarcastic in the above paragraph, I hope you will forgive me. But it is becoming harder to believe that there is a great deal of effort to achieve real balance. I some of my other posts I have suggested ways one could personally watch for and test for bias. In this post I will just document/compile information that has been available for a while.

The graphs below show the political affiliation of the press corps who report on national elections. I combined data from the Washington, D.C. Press Corps and from journalists with large, national media sources. I could not readily obtain data for the election year 2000, but the trends below suggest it would not be remarkably different.

It is most interesting to compare the democrat/republican balance in the media vs. the balance of the voters.

Click the images to see larger versions that are easier to read.

More details can be found here: Media Bias Basics

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