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The Right-Wing Media

February 14th, 2006

Yet another nail in the coffin of the long-time myth about the “liberal” media. That term first came into use when a conservative survey showed that about 60% of television journalists voted Democratic, even though it did not do anything to identify those journalists’ reporting as being slanted in any way. It also did not mention that fully two-thirds of all editors and publishers are conservative, and that editors and publishers, not journalists, control the political leaning of news stories and of the news outlet in general. But the myth was established, and was pounded home by the pundits, who as time went on came to have more and more of a voice in the media–and who have always been, by a vast majority, right wing, not to mention far more vitriolic and outspoken in their conservative bias.

A recent study has given more credence to this, identifying the “ideologically identifiable guests on the Sunday shows,” these shows being considered political bellwethers. The study (methodology here) shows that conservatives have outnumbered liberals on the shows since the Clinton years, and now make up nearly 60% of the speakers on the shows. A more detailed look at the data (pdf file) shows that even where left-wing guests were more prominent in the second Clinton term, that ration switched to a much greater prominence of right-wing guests in Bush’s term, often three times as wide a gap in favor of conservatives. And just before the war in Iraq, almost all guests are among those who approved of the war–those who voiced opposition were not asked to be on the show. While the source is biased, the data is right out there and the methodology is sound–and at the very least, this study is no less biased than the study that launched the entire “liberal media” myth in the first place.

It isn’t hard to see the right-wing bias in the media. Whereas the old right-wing claim of liberal bias was always based on an abstract and never on actual observable evidence, the right-wing bias that permeates the media now is clear both statistically and observationally. Quick test: see how many right-wing pundits you can name. Write them down on a piece of paper. Then in a new column, write down all the left-wing pundits you can think of. Unless you consciously avoid watching or thinking about right-wing commentators, the right-wing list will be much longer then the left-wing list.

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