Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Media Bias or A Universal Media Mindset

In previous posts I have pointed out a marked slant to the left or right in search results on various sites on the Web. A search for "left-wing" vs. "right-wing" on CNN will return a very different balance of results compared to the Washington Times, for example. The premise was that using the description "left-wing" might imply that someone was looking at the world from the conservative side, and using "right-wing" might mean you are looking from the liberal side. Those posts are:

In doing further tests I ran across an interesting anomaly. This time I was comparing "conservative base" vs. "liberal base." We heard a lot of talk during the last election campaign about a candidate satisfying his base with certain statements and this seemed like an interesting test. What I found was different in nature from my previous tests. For this new one, both liberal and conservative sources had many more "hits" for "conservative base."

So why is this one different? My only theory so far is that the media is somewhat self-driven. In the case of Rush Limbaugh, for example, who is a very conservative radio host, even his results are extremely weighted to the term "conservative base." Other sources that have shown themselves as liberal weight the same way. Because the majority of news sources are liberal, as shown in previous posts, there seems to be an almost accusatory tone in the phrase "conservative base," as though this is some dark entity that must have its unreasonable desires satisfied by the Republican candidate.

But surely there is a liberal base as well, to which the Democratic candidate must answer. Both parties have people on the extreme end of their spectrum. And both parties have people who are more moderate. Didn't candidate Obama have to satisfy the liberal base? Is there even a liberal base? Of course there is. But the media in general seem to have focused on one side and almost ignored the other side. Why didn't we hear how candidate Obama's statement about "x" was to satisfy his liberal base? Why did we mostly hear how candidate McCain has to say this or that to satisfy his conservative base? I think to some extent the media creates its own truth. What do you think?

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