Did You Hear the One About Fox News Being Less Biased than the “Liberal” Media?
The Volokh Conspiracy is hosting a discussion of a new book on media bias entitled Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts The American Mind. Here is a snippet from the summary on the Amazon page:
Dr. Tim Groseclose, a professor of political science and economics at UCLA, has spent years constructing precise, quantitative measures of the slant of media outlets. He does this by measuring the political content of news, as a way to measure the PQ, or “political quotient” of voters and politicians.
Among his conclusions are: (i) all mainstream media outlets have a liberal bias; and (ii) while some supposedly conservative outlets — such the Washington Times or Fox News’ Special Report — do lean right, their conservative bias is less than the liberal bias of most mainstream outlets.
If you can stop laughing long enough at the central thesis of the book, you might want to note that there is already a burgeoning critical literature on its flawed methodology, which somehow manages to lead to the conclusion that the RAND Corporation is more liberal than the ACLU, the NRA is barely right-of-center, and the ACLU is on the conservative side of the ledger. (Were that it so!) It also claims that, but for liberal media bias, McCain would have defeated Obama 56% to 42% in the last election.
In any case, you can find the Volokh Conspiracy’s intro post here. And here is a roundup of links to sources that debunk the book and/or its underlying academic studies:
- A forthcoming article by Carnegie-Mellon’s John Gasper.
- An analysis by Brendan Nyhan, a professor of government at Dartmouth.
- An analysis by Geoff Nunberg, a linguistics professor at Berkeley.
- Critical thoughts by Columbia’s Andrew Gelman.
- An analysis by Media Matters.
Not surprisingly, the authors of the book have received funding from the usual conservative suspects, such as AEI, The Heritage Foundation, and the Hoover Institute.