Monday, November 1, 2010

Media Bias: Corporate Donations Far Out of Balance

Below is a story about how donations by employees of network television gave money to Democrats over other parties to the tune of an 88% share. That only amounts to a little over a million dollars in total individual contributions, but the degree of imbalance is striking. The imbalance is notable enough that I have even created a special tag for many posts on this blog called Media Bias (click that link to see the list).

The country is in approximate balance between Democrats and Republicans. If all else were equal, this would be similar for reporters and employees of the major networks. Why is it different. That's a question I won't try to answer here, but it's a good question.

Another good question is whether this imbalance is represented in the reporting. Some of the posts link above demonstrate that it is. Would people in the major networks deliberately sway the coverage of candidates or issues? There are many posts here that show an imbalance, but it is hard to prove that it is intentional. But whether intentional or not, it should not exist to any noticeable extent.

Various levels of government and private entities have instituted affirmative action programs to make sure that various minorities are represented within their "walls." If you are hiring a college professor, would it not seem logical to ensure that students have a diversity of opinion available? Hiring a black instructor when the percentage of blacks is less than the population could be supported with that type of logic. And certainly someone who grew up black might have developed different opinions and may have had different experiences because of skin color.

How about reporters? Would not conservative reporters have a different perspective compared to liberal reporters? If the country is balanced, should not both points of view be affecting coverage to the extent that one's personal opinions might affect one's coverage? (Actually, Gallup reports that more people say they are conservative that liberal in the United States, so why is it that liberals have stronger representation, assuming "conservative" and Republican are linked somewhat and that "liberal" and Democrat are somewhat linked?)

Coverage of the main subject of this blog, the First Amendment's religion clauses, would presumably be affected by a left or right bias in the media. I have pointed out in many posts that the media often gets it wrong, in my opinion. If the media shows a bias, then so some extent that becomes the public's understanding of the issue.

If you wanted to increase the readership of a newspaper, wouldn't you want to have Republicans and Democrats equally and fairly represented? That would seem to be the best way to reach the largest number of readers. A policy of outright hiring to that goal could probably be legally challenged on the basis of First Amendment free speech rights (viewpoint discrimination), but it would create a more interesting newspaper than is typical today.

Read more about the issue here:

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