Thursday, February 06, 2003


There has been a renewed interest in media bias, most recently by Jack Shafer in Slate. In his first essay on the topic, he discusses some of the history behind the accusations, and then goes on to look at today's players. One of them is "the conservative Media Research Center" which offers daily summaries of what they perceive as bias. We took a quick look at the one for yesterday: (emphasis added)
Powell Convinces NBC's Panel But Not ABC's Martha Raddatz

After Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council, on NBC former UN chief weapons inspector Richard Butler “absolutely” agreed that Powell made the case as did former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton, and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein conceded that Powell “laid out a very plausible, a very respectable case for” going to war. But, as usual, ABC was off to the left, to the left of a liberal like Feinstein.

... ABC's Martha Raddatz offered tips to the French: “A lot of this evidence they could try to refute. They could say perhaps these colonels, these Iraqi republican guards were freelancing, and who were these defectors? There's a lot here they can play with."
First of all, those who agreed with Powell - Butler, Hamilton, Feinstein - aren't reporters. Reporters aren't supposed to agree or disagree with policies, but report them. Raddatz wasn't "to the left of a liberal like Feinstein."

Furthermore, Raddatz wasn't offering "tips to the French", but describing what they might do.

In case you were wondering, the example above is typical. If the reporter isn't cheering Bush (or Republicans), he or she is deemed "liberal".

The Media Research Center, founded by L. Brent Bozell III, is nothing more than a purveyor of bullshit.

For some reason, Bozell is being taken seriously - most recently in an absurd, fact-free debate with Eric Alterman. In it, Bozell says:
"The Media Research Center has produced dozens of scientific studies, often examining tens of thousands of stories at a time, proving the liberal bias dominating the news media."
When discussing media bias, Bozell has no credibility.


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