"There is a liberal bias. It’s demonstrable. You look at some statistics. About 85 percent of the reporters who cover the White House vote Democratic, they have for a long time. There is a, particularly at the networks, at the lower levels, among the editors and the so-called infrastructure, there is a liberal bias. There is a liberal bias at Newsweek, the magazine I work for — most of the people who work at Newsweek live on the upper West Side in New York and they have a liberal bias....[ABC White House reporter] Brit Hume’s bosses are liberal and they’re always quietly denouncing him as being a right-wing nut.”
— Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, May 12, 1996.
Does media bias exist, and if so does the mainstream media tend to be more liberal or conservative? The short answer is yes, for the most part mainstream media bias does exist and it tends to favor liberal ideas.
There is some debate over whether or not that is true, some would argue that there is even a conservative media bias among mainstream media outlets. Here we will look at some of the opposing viewpoints and hopefully give you a better understanding of the ongoing debate.
Part of the difficulty in trying to determine whether media bias is "conservative" or "liberal" is the fact that they are both subjective words. While for example, I have heard many people consider John McCain to be liberal, others, especially where I live in NYC, consider anything to the right of Howard Dean as rightwing and extremist.
One of the most common arguments I hear from proponents of the conservative media theory, is that most of the major media outlets are owned by the "Corporations". Corporations therefore control the news and the information the public receives.
This statement is very misleading. While many major media outlets may be owned by large corporations, corporations do not write the news, journalists do. The descisions what to include in a story and more importantly how to convey it to the public is all made by journalists.
Journalists tend to be very liberal. A poll by the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press found in 2004 that five times more journalists described themselves as “liberal” as said they were “conservative.”
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in 2001 found that More than six times as many media professionals called themselves Democrats (27%), than said they were Republicans (just 4%).
What liberal media?
Another argument the conservative media theorist love to bring up is that the media is dominated by right wing conservatives such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.
Again this argument is misleading. While both Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh are extremely popular figures, they are political commentators who clearly state that they represent the conservative viewpoint. That's there job, unlike Dan Rather or Walter Cronkite who's journalism is supposed to be neutral and objective. When you hear the news from Limbaugh you know you are listening to a conservative.
Like Hannity or Limbaugh, As much as I dislike Al Franken, at least he is what he says he is, a liberal. You know when you are listening to him that he is a liberal and you are listening for the purpose of hearing the liberal viewpoint, not mainstream media.
Which brings me to my next point, Air America.
I have never heard of such an effort by conservatives to dominate public opinion as I have liberals with Air America. Air America was not created for commercial reasons, it was created to do one thing, and that is to influence the way you think.
Many critics of Fox News suggest that there is a conservative bias on Fox, and like to point to that as proof of a conservative media bias. Liberals are very quick to label Fox as conservative. It is true that Fox includes conservative points of view, but liberals are always considered in their programming, and coverage is given to both.
I understand that it is highly unusual for the conservative viewpoint to get fair and balanced treatment in an industry dominated by liberals, so I suppose relative to other news media Fox is conservative.
Bias by Bernard Goldberg
In 1996, veteran CBS News reporter and producer Bernie Goldberg committed the unpardonable sin of publicly mentioning the issue of liberal bias in the media. For that he became persona non grata at CBS. Goldberg tells how friends and colleagues turned on him, from junior CBS reporters all the way to Dan Rather. But much more than that, he exposes a bias so uniform and overwhelming that it permeates every news story we hear and read- and so entrenched and deep rooted that the networks themselves don't even recognize it.