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post #61 of 88 (permalink) Old 06-23-2007, 09:35 PM
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And this one (previously mentioned but here's the original doc).

http://www.polisci.ucla.edu/faculty/...dia.Bias.8.htm

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and that’s what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #62 of 88 (permalink) Old 06-23-2007, 09:44 PM
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On your last point, I'll simply have to disagree. It's entirely possible the people you met never made such contributions. I don't expect those in the media to be automatons - any human will have an opinion. The donations aspect is germane though....
My point is that the GATE of ethics and propriety that the journalist must go through is at the OPINION threshold, not at a GIVING threshold. That journalist has to decide whether or not to be ethical in their profession even though they have opinions. That is the defining gate. Once that is defined, everything else falls in place. Example:

If the journalist votes for the first time after getting a job at a newspaper/tv station they have drawn an opinion and, most likely a party affiliation. Their ethical decision whether to continue as a Professional Journalist starts AT THAT MOMENT. How they decide to handle their profession and the articles/stories are all after that decision was made. Whether they provide a donation in addition to their vote is much after the fact.

A second journalist draws an opinion regarding immigration and begins to write/report articles with that opinion as part of a bias for the story. Whether or not the journalist contributes to a candidate is after the fact. The ethical decision of whether to be a Professional Journalist has already been made, contribution or not.

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post #63 of 88 (permalink) Old 06-23-2007, 09:45 PM
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Do you like your newsprint right-justified or left-justified?
My AFR column this month is on the economics of media bias. Full text over the fold.


Economics of Media Bias, Australian Financial Review, 17 May 2007

Two years ago, a team of economists from Yale University decided to answer a question that many a journalist has pondered in the pub: does the newspaper you read affect the way you vote? To test the theory, Alan Gerber, Dean Karlan and Daniel Bergan randomly chose one thousand households in the Washington DC area, and gave them a free subscription to either the left-leaning Washington Post or the conservative Washington Times. A few months later, they surveyed both groups – plus a control sample – to see how they voted. The finding? Those who received the Post were 8 percentage points more likely to vote for the Democratic Party. Getting the Times had no impact on how you voted.

In recent times, economists have expanded their research well beyond topics such as macroeconomics and labour markets that have traditionally constituted the bread-and-butter of the discipline. One of the subjects that the new economic imperialism has laid its tentacles upon has been media bias. What impact does the media you consume have on your political behaviour? And how and why do media outlets shape the news?

From a theoretical standpoint, one of the most important contributions has been a paper published last year by two young researchers at the University of Chicago, Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro. Contrary to the simple explanation that media bias is driven by the personal predilections of proprietors or journalists, they argue that media slant emerges mainly as a result of outlets trying to tailor their news reporting to consumers’ prior beliefs. For example, people who buy a progressive broadsheet will be more likely to think that it provides accurate news if the newspaper gives a positive spin to Labor’s policy ideas. Similarly, those who listen to a conservative talkshow host will be more likely to tune in the next morning if the host praises the Prime Minister.

In a separate study, Gentzkow and Shapiro set about testing their theory, focusing on media bias in local newspapers. To estimate each newspaper’s bias, they develop a unique index. Searching the 2005 Congressional Record, they identify the phrases most commonly used by Democratic and Republican politicians. Among the top phrases used by Democrats are “change the rules”, “budget deficit”, “American workers” and “veterans’ health care”. Among the top phrases used by Republicans are “death tax”, “personal accounts”, “private property” and “stem cell”. Some of these reflect a concerted effort by political strategists, such as the campaign by Republicans to re-label estate taxes as death taxes, and to refer to personal social security accounts instead of private accounts.

How much of this subtle difference in language was picked up by the media? The duo then look to see which newspapers opt for the Democrats’ favourite phrases, and which outlets tend to use Republican phrases. When writing about tax reform, will the economics correspondent use the Republican phrase “tax relief”, or the Democratic phrase “tax cuts for the wealthy”? Will the international reporter talk about the “global war on terror”, or the “war in Iraq”? Using these subtle differences, they place all local US newspapers on a left-right spectrum. According to this index, the Tri-Valley Herald (circulating in the San Francisco Bay area) is the most left-wing newspaper, while the Houston Chronicle is the most right-wing.

Gentzkow and Shapiro then turn to explaining media slant. Consistent with their theory that media bias is mainly driven by customer tastes, they find that reader ideology explains significantly more of the variation in media bias than the identity of its owner. This finding holds up even when they take account of the possibility of reverse causality. Places with more churchgoers (a trait unlikely to be affected by newspaper bias) tend to have more right-wing newspapers. Conversely, cities with fewer churchgoers tend to have more left-wing newspapers.

So while Gerber, Karlan and Bergan have shown that left-wing newspapers make people more likely to vote for left-wing candidates; Gentzkow and Shapiro demonstrate that in areas with more left-wing people, newspapers are also likely to be more left-wing. These mutually reinforcing results raise the prospect of a vicious cycle, in which the media feeds and reinforces voters’ prejudices. How can we stop it?

Reassuringly to economists, the answer is a familiar one: more media competition. In the 2000 US election, places with a larger number of local television stations tended to give more equal airtime to the two presidential candidates. In the Middle East, countries with more competition between media outlets tend to provide more balanced reporting on politics. The more journalists are reporting on a topic, the less biased each can be.

In the Australian context, this finding has a straightforward implication: policymakers who want to reduce bias should focus on boosting the number of independently owned media outlets, rather than worrying too much about foreign ownership. All the news that’s fit to print doesn’t come from one source.

Dr Andrew Leigh is an economist in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and that’s what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #64 of 88 (permalink) Old 06-23-2007, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Botnst
Would you reference a scholarly article that addresses this study particularly or will you continue with the level of effort you previously exhibited concerning the study that marks the subject of this thread?

Of course the study is flawed to some degree. Any correlative study in the humanities is bound to be. Is it therefore your position that the media has no leftish bias?

B
I believe that there are left and right biased media. It would require a 3D Splatter Chart to accurately ID how much lands. After reading a couple of the discussions on the methodology I just don't see the importance of the study. I went through this on one of the advertising fora back in 2005 when it was first released.

I doubt there are many scholarly articles published that refute the study [that is seldom done] however in the fora, many media statistical analysts who work for Pew and Neilson and Gallop were involved in the discussions.

The bulk of the argument was that you cannot use for comparison an index such as ADA to score Congressional speeches [which tend to only use sources that support the speakers point of view] to articles/reports from the news media [which tend to utilize more broad based research and resources.

The conclusion being that there are some 13X more recourses that the ADA would characterize as left biased than there are right based resources. [Example UC Berkeley would be considered a left biased resource even though the context of the resource is not listed – and since UC Berkeley is a National Repository Library it is a widely used resource]

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post #65 of 88 (permalink) Old 06-23-2007, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Botnst
here's another, just for fun.

Media Bias Basics
Keep posting them, my wife is finishing up her PhD in Library and Information Science [to go with the MSLS from UC Berkeley] so I have been living this crap for the past two years. There is not an article or fora that I have not read, reviewed or proofed on the subject.

I know there is a bias but I also fully understand that whether a Journalist donates $50 to a campaign has nothing to do with it.

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post #66 of 88 (permalink) Old 06-23-2007, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mcbear
I know there is a bias but I also fully understand that whether a Journalist donates $50 to a campaign has nothing to do with it.
Yup, no more so than voting. I don't understand the outrage directed toward informed individuals participating in our democratic republic. Just a couple of days ago, voting was considered the duty of all patriotic Americans, and not voting (or otherwise supporting favored candidates) was considered shirking one's civic responsibility...

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #67 of 88 (permalink) Old 06-23-2007, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by QBNCGAR
I envy your work history...perhaps one day we can chat about how you ended up in that line of work.
Nothing to envy, after I retired from Air Force I started contracting out while still in the Reserves. I did systems design and finally hooked up with a Media and Entertainment group out of New York City in 95 which put me at most of the Media companies doing systems architecture. Most fun was MTV/VH1. Many of the meetings were held on the roof of the Viacom building so the "smoke" would dissipate. Since I didn’t partake I was able to run the boards as it were.

I also did a couple of government jobs that used BBBBIIIIIIGGGGGGGG databases and very annoying algorithms. [Back to that comment where I had to do what my client wanted, not my biases].

Now I do two gigs a year and the rest of the time run my Mercedes Restoration and Performance shop.

McBear,
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post #68 of 88 (permalink) Old 06-23-2007, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mcbear
Nothing to envy, after I retired from Air Force I started contracting out while still in the Reserves. I did systems design and finally hooked up with a Media and Entertainment group out of New York City in 95 which put me at most of the Media companies doing systems architecture. Most fun was MTV/VH1. Many of the meetings were held on the roof of the Viacom building so the "smoke" would dissipate. Since I didn’t partake I was able to run the boards as it were.

I also did a couple of government jobs that used BBBBIIIIIIGGGGGGGG databases and very annoying algorithms. [Back to that comment where I had to do what my client wanted, not my biases].

Now I do two gigs a year and the rest of the time run my Mercedes Restoration and Performance shop.
Thank God you never tried opium because I was slated as the next CEO for National Can until I masturbated in the executive lounge......loudly......I mean, everyone does it........Right? Ok, I broke a window but c;mon?

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post #69 of 88 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 07:32 AM
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Yup, no more so than voting. I don't understand the outrage directed toward informed individuals participating in our democratic republic. Just a couple of days ago, voting was considered the duty of all patriotic Americans, and not voting (or otherwise supporting favored candidates) was considered shirking one's civic responsibility...
The important difference between a member of the press and any other profession is that we entrust the press with providing information that will protect the citizens from government excesses and incompetence. This is predicated on the assumption that the press is going to present a fair and balanced report based on fact and reasonable interpolation.

If the press is biased, especially if unwitting and unintentional, then the story will provide citizens with distorted information. This is why we should have gotten all pissed-off when it was revealed that the US military was influencing the nascent Iraqi press. We should all recognize that what the Iraqis needed was (and is) not a happy face but the truth.

In this country the press has been demonstrated in numerous recent, independent studies to have a leftward bias. It is more than reasonable to argue the degree and importance of that bias. It is important that the studies themselves be critically reviewed. I trust that the press itself and the academic community will do so. Certainly blogs and fora have every reason to do so as well.

Folks on this forum (and many others) get all pissed-off at FoxNews for a perceived rightward bias. Fair enough. In each of the studies that I have read which mentioned specific news outlets, FoxNews has indeed, been rightward in the news spectrum. Two studies that I have read indicated FoxNews general programming was rightward of more general measures -- Congress' voting records and national voting trends.

If FoxNews is accepted as being generally rightward, does the critical mind not wonder what news media is leftward of FoxNews? Or would one suppose thatt all other news media is EXACTLY on the center and only FoxNews alone is an occupier of some strange Lake Woebegon universe in which everybody is normal and above average except FoxNews?

If the news media alienates to some degree about 50% of the population (polls actually put trust in media barely above Congress), would it not behoove the media to examine their assumptions of themselves and their fairness? Perhaps if they reflected on the notion that they have a personal bias that is indicated by their voting preference they could adjust their windage a bit to more consistently hit the target rather than consistently pulling leftward on each shot (except FoxNews, of course. They should hire Bill Press).

B

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and that’s what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #70 of 88 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Botnst

If FoxNews is accepted as being generally rightward, does the critical mind not wonder what news media is leftward of FoxNews? Or would one suppose that all other news media is EXACTLY on the center and only FoxNews alone is an occupier of some strange Lake Woebegon universe in which everybody is normal and above average except FoxNews?

B
My critical mind decided to take on this honorable task and after much arduous and painstaking research, came up with this shameful example of leftward bias. It's probably the only "widely" distributed direct analog to the level of Faux agenda advancement.
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