Stop the presses!
A report from UCLA has the amazing news: "Media Bias Is
Real"! Who would have thought it? A press release from the
university summarizes the painstaking research of Tim Groseclose, a
political scientist at UCLA, and Jeffrey Milyo, an economist from the
University of Missouri. These two scholars, aided by twenty-one research
assistants, spent ten years combing through U.S. media coverage. Their
findings, due out momentarily in the Quarterly Journal of Economics,
reveal the extraordinary scoop: there is "a systematic liberal
bias" in U.S. media! "I suspected that many media outlets
would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to
vote more Democrat than Republican," Mr. Groseclose said. "But
I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."
Compared to members of Congress, Mr. Milyo added, major media outlets
are "quite moderate, ... but even so, there is a quantifiable and
significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left."
Extraordinary! We never would have guessed.
There were a few surprises in Messrs. Groseclose and Milyo's
findings. For example, out of twenty "major media outlets"
they studied, the news pages--as distinct from the editorial columns--of
The Wall Street Journal ranked number one as the most liberal, beating
out even CBS'S Evening News (remember Dan Rather?) and The New York Times, which took second and third place respectively in this dubious
sweepstakes. It is unclear how Messrs. Grosedose and Milyo managed to
distinguish between the news and the opinion columns of The New York
Times. It's become a specialized talent. We can't do it, nor
do we know anyone who can, though perhaps with twenty-one research
assistants we could make a creditable try. In any event, although the
results of this study were hardly earthshaking, we are glad to see them
published under the aegis of a university--hitherto an institution
unremarkable for acknowledging liberal bias. Perhaps Messrs. Groseclose
and Milyo will now turn their attention to the university itself, u.s.
media revealed a liberal bias by a factor of eighteen to twenty; what do
you suppose the numbers would be if the subject were the university?