Identify, Expose and Correct Liberal Media Bias

Posted by M ws On Friday, August 3, 2012 0 comments
The following post is based on excerpts from "How to Identify, Expose and Correct Liberal Media Bias" by the MRC's Brent Baker as posted HERE.

Sometimes liberal bias reflects a conscious choice by the reporter or editor. Sometimes it stems from mere laziness; it can take a lot of work to produce balanced news stories on a consistent basis. And a reporter under deadline pressure may just not understand the conservative viewpoint well enough to explain it in his story. So if the conservative expert he called doesn't call back in time, that perspective won't make it into the story.

But none of these are valid excuses. A reporter's job is to present a balanced story. (Of course, the reporter who tries but fails because he's just so rushed and can't get a conservative to comment deserves more understanding from you than the reporter who never bothers to call a conservative and regularly writes or broadcasts biased stories.)

As you read, listen and watch news stories you probably already notice stories that you think are biased. To see if they really are biased, you need to determine if the story falls into at least one of several forms in which bias occurs:

Types of Bias: Descriptions and Examples of Each

  • Bias by commission
  • Bias by omission
  • Bias by story selection
  • Bias by placement
  • Bias by the selection of sources
  • Bias by spin
  • Bias by labeling
  • Bias by policy endorsement or condemnation
  • What Isn't Bias
  • Identifying and Documenting Bias in News Stories

Bias by Commission:

A pattern of passing along assumptions or errors that tend to support a left-wing or liberal view.

This is the most common form of bias. Within the space or time limit constraining them, reporters are supposed to provide roughly equal time to presenting the best arguments of both sides of an issue. If liberals say "A" and conservatives say "B" then the story should summarize both perspectives. For example, liberals cite government statistics to show that during the 1980s the rich got tax breaks while the middle class and poor paid more taxes. Conservatives, on the other hand, contend federal figures demonstrate that the rich paid more of federal tax receipts as everyone else paid less. Who's correct? A properly done story would recite the figures and analysis behind both views, so that a news consumer could make up his own mind about which perspective makes more sense.

If the reporter presents only one perspective or passes along only the "facts" espoused by liberals without any acknowledgment that conservatives disagree, then he has committed bias by commission.

Documenting bias by commission often requires research. Unfortunately, while reputable books and studies include citations or footnotes, the media (especially television reporters) often ask you simply to believe them. So when reporters cite a specific group or study, try to get a copy of the original report. Most of the time you'll recognize bias by commission because the reporter will have presented only the liberal slant on an issue you know has another side. If you're not sure, find an expert in the field, and ask him if a story's statistics ring true. The offices of conservative state legislators are excellent sources to consult on any issue facing state lawmakers. If they don't know, try a conservative group that specializes in the area in question, or a conservative-leaning professor at a local college.

Bias by Omission:

Ignoring facts that tend to disprove liberal or left-wing claims, or that support conservative beliefs.

To catch this kind of bias you'll have to be knowledgeable about the particular subject. If you know the various points of view on an issue, then you'll recognize when one side is left out. Bias by omission can occur either within a story, or over the long term as a particular news outlet reports one set of events, but not another.

To find instances of bias by omission, keep abreast of the conservative perspective on current issues. See if that perspective is included in stories on a particular event or policy. If it's not, you may have uncovered bias by omission.

Bias by Story Selection

A pattern of highlighting news stories that coincide with the agenda of the Left while ignoring stories that coincide with the agenda of the Right.

Bias by story selection often occurs when a media outlet decides to do a story on a study released by a liberal group, but ignores studies on the same or similar topics released by conservative groups.

Like bias by omission, to identify bias by story selection you'll need to know the conservative and liberal issue agenda -- the events of concern to the two sides of the political scene. See how much coverage conservative issues get compared to issues on the liberal agenda. If a liberal group puts out a study proving a liberal point, look at how much coverage it got compared to a conservative study issued a few days or weeks earlier. If charges of impropriety are leveled at two politicians of approximately equal power, one liberal and one conservative, compare the amount of coverage given to each.


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