June 07, 2003
NEW YORK TIMES ROUNDUP....Jim Henley has this to say about the New York Times:
Righties like Alan [Sullivan] are convinced that the media is reflexively liberal, lefties like Avedon Carol are as certain it serves its right wing masters. Me, I think the media just sucks, and has a statist, not necessarily liberal, tilt built into its very structure.
Of course it does, Jim. I've come to realize that the Times isn't
really a newspaper at all, it's the perfect political Rorschach test:
just ask someone to read a copy, note down what they mumble irritably
about, and then take the mirror image. That's their political leaning.
Of course, there's little doubt that Times reporters really do
trend pretty liberal socially, but I wonder if conservatives realize
how lucky they are that this is so? (Aside from giving them a good
punching bag, of course.) I figure that the mostly Southern, mostly
rural, mostly Christian mega-conservatives — the rightmost 15% or so of
the country — that are covered so poorly by the Times are actually a pretty scary bunch to most Americans. So while it's true that Times reporting
of this group might indeed be rare and condescending, that's actually
better than being frequent and enthusiastic. If they got the coverage
they deserved, Republicans probably wouldn't win another election for
the next 50 years.
Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds, offering the Times some otherwise interesting advice, says, laughably:
Where are the Ken Laynes, the Mark Steyns, etc. at the Times? The Times has
been an intellectual and political monoculture for a long time, and
that makes it hard for it to engage in the kind of critical evaluation
of its own coverage that's necessary if it wants to be a real national
paper, rather than a northeastern city paper with national aspirations.
Are its critics really so blinded that they are under the impression that the Times is
just some provincial broadsheet desperately trying to get some
recognition in the world? How about a little perspective here?
As for me, I hope the Times doesn't cave in to its right wing
critics. Over at RealClear Politics, for example, John McIntyre says
that the problem is that the Times has "drifted from the center-left to the hard-left,"
using a definition of "hard-left" that seemingly includes anyone who
thought we should give UN inspectors more time in Iraq. There are damn
few combative liberal voices left in the mainstream American press, and I
hope the Times holds onto what's left of the ones it has. If they cave in, who's left?
Posted by Kevin Drum at June 7, 2003 04:14 PM
Mr. McIntyre has lost all ability to think critically, it would
appear. If you read a little further down the page he accuses the Dems
of using military kids as political props in the tax credit fiasco, and
also accuses Gore of using military absentee votes in Florida of the
same thing. If memory serves, it was the Republicans using those
absentee votes as a huge issue in the recounts, not the Dems.
Is that the new requirement for membership in the Republican
hard-right? "Come right in; check your brains at the door. You won't be
needing them here."
Other than Krugman, it seems hard to find any consistant criticism of
Bush in the Times (from what I've seen, but I don't read it every day -
I prefer my city's paper, the Boston Globe...oddly enough, owned by the
Times Co), and there's Safire to balance that out, right?
The only consistant bias I can find in the mainstream media these days is towards ratings...
There seem to be an awful lot of Americans who don't understand how
far left "hard left" is. Has American politics really shifted that far
The NYT will be hard-left the minute it starts advocating the common
ownership of the means of production, and a socialist world revolution
to accomplish it.
"just ask someone to read a copy, note down what they mumble
irritably about, and then take the mirror image. That's their political
This has been confirmed experimentally.
Vallone, Ross and Lepper (1985) - "The hostile media phenomenon":
In the experiment they selected six news segments covering
the Beirut massacre in 1982, and showed them to 144 Stanford students
with varying initial views about the Middle East, some of them recruited
from the pro-Israeli and pro-Arab associations. After viewing the
videotape the students were asked to report their perceptions of the
fairness and objectivity of the news program they had viewed.
Each side saw the segments biased in favor of the other side. Some of
the items stress that the partisans actually saw different news
programs. Partisans reported that the program referred to the other
party in more favorable ways, and they believed that the programs would
lead undecided viewers to become more hostile to their side. But even
when holding constant their perceptions about the content, the
differences in perception of bias were still significant.
Hastorf and Cantril (1954) "They Saw a Game" is in a similar vein. (Got both studies from "The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making" by Scott Plous.)
Too many liberals fail to give credit to the NYT for trying to report
stories right. Yes, there are huge problems, but you will not find
another paper writing visionary multi-part front page stories on AIDS in
Africa just because it's important with the full knowledge that the
stories will be expensive to write and won't draw in additional readers.
The pathetic thing about so much of the right-wing times-bashing is
how selective it is. Any truly detailed analysis of the times on a
sustained basis - i've engaged conservative friends in this very
exercise - demonstrates Kevin's (and apparently the research's) point.
Which is to say that the times is a pretty flawed enterprise. but
it's a better enterprise, in aggregate, than any of the others out
there, because news reporting is a very problematic profession at best.
The demonization of the times as the left-listing enterprise driven
by howell raines has never been rooted in fact. it is merely a device by
the right to lessen the influence of the times, a game that the right
plays exceptionally skillfully.
I have always thought that the liberal bias in the news is really
objectivity. Don't get me wrong I am not claiming all news reporting
achieves anything like objectivity. But the intent and stated purpose
of news is to be objective. A true conservative (small "c") can't
really be objective because, by definition, everything worth knowing is
already known. Broadmindedness and tolerance of things that are
different is impossible if you aren't open to anything new. But that is
what "news" is. It is trying to see both sides of the truth in a set
of circumstances without prejudice, even if it is completely againt your
personal beliefs. If a reader confuses that lack of bias with the
reporters personal beliefs and interprets it as approval it would look
very much like "liberal bias."
I think that the "liberal bias" claim is the most brilliant pieces of propaganda in the latter half of the 20th century.
Liberals favor the weak, the oppressed, especially those
systematically, unfairly so, and even cognitively favor those people and
their ideas. Conservatives spun themselves off as being systematically, unfairly oppressed, causing, in an unthinking knee-jerk reaction, liberalism to self-destruct.
Of course, when Rush Limbaugh calls you biased, that's a joke,
but it fit in so nicely that people took it seriously. And it was
infinitely appealing to conservatives -- now you've got a
self-flattering way to cognitively dispose of anything you don't like.
The confirmation bias is so obvious. But it put people on the defensive,
and they didn't push back.
Yeah, I've always thought the conservative attack on the Times was
being done at some semi-subtle lizard brain level, where the people
doing that realize that if they get the most prominent left wing
newspaper in the country to even be a little less left, then the center
of the country will shift a little further to the right.
I say bullshit to that.
It's what I like to call Mara Liason Disease. If you've got Mara and
Ghengis Kahn having a debate, well by-gum the moderate, Jim Leher
sponsored position will be somewhere in the middle.
"Ok, it's obvious both of you want to have a better world. So
Ghengis, you can agree that sacking and destruction will be limited to 5
days a week, and Mara, in the interests of fairness, you agree that all
prisoners will be impaled on spikes. Reasonable."
That's an actual, factual quote from Leher. That debate really wasn't pretty.
Stop! Leher! Now! Exclamation! Mark!
In all seriousness, that's the game that's being played. When
Instasullykaus swarm like bugs on Brit Hume, well, that'll be the day,
William Safire, Trostkyite.
Bill Keller, Marxist/Leninist.
Judith Miller, Weather Underground.
Nicholas Christof, committed atheist.
Paul Krugman, communist.
Maureen Dowd, Fidelista.
Bob Herbert, Black Panther.
Frank Rich, radical lesbian separtist.
Jeff Gerth se dice "Viva la Raza!"
Jayson Blair might have even been in Massachusetts at one point. You
know, if he came out against affirmative action, he'd have a job with
Human Events or World Net Daily in seconds.
The bizarre thing is that, generally, standards for journalistic
accuracy are quite low. The NYT had its share of problems, but what is
really jarring is that other newspapers are more liable to suffer from
innacurate reporting than the NYT and that we accept this as "the cost
of doing business."
Back about 10 years ago, all of the NY-metro area papers reported a
story involving a member of my family. What was astounding was that all
of the papers except the NYT got a number of facts wrong in the
stories. The only thing I can assume about the Times is that (a) they
had a good day that day, or (b) standards at the Times have gone down
far enough to match most other newspapers.
I think that the biggest failure here is the misunderstanding between
bias and belief; the NYT has always had a belief in socially
progressive causes and this is in a large part what has driven it to
become the paper it is. Belief is different however from bias and the
New York times has come under increasing pressure to acknowledge this.
This isn’t a new thing; in the past the NYT recognised the importance of
news and opinion separation. The dilemma has however only been brought
to the fore now because of competitive market forces; the NYT is far
better placed to provide accurate news than any right wing blogs. The
blogs however are in a competitive market that ensures far better
"I figure that the mostly Southern, mostly rural, mostly Christian
mega-conservatives — the rightmost 15% or so of the country — that are
covered so poorly by the Times are actually a pretty scary bunch to most
Who do you think are more scary to "most Americans" - the rightmost
15% or the leftmost 15%? I would put a lot of money on the leftmost
I seriously doubt that. You'd have to go to the leftmost 1.5%, maybe,
to find Americans who really want to nationalize the means of
production and call everyone 'comrade'. The far left in this country
goes about as far as being against animal testing and wanting to change
US foreign policy.
That's nothing like as frightening as the Rightmost 15%, who
basically want to bring back the Middle Ages, and are not afraid to
plant bombs to prove it.
Actually, I'd wager that the far left these days are mostly anti-globalization anarchist types.
Anyone who is more afraid of a few peacenicks than they are of
"Aryan" militias is probably too far gone to know whether the NYT is
Journalism in America is not in a very good state right now, but it's
always had a bit of a conservative bias. Most reporters are socially
liberal, but if you really went down the list of what issues are covered
in the newsmedia and how they are covered, you might begin to notice
that liberal positions generally get pretty shortshrift.
As I've noted before, even during the big healthcare debate of the
'90s, virtually no one was advocating single-payer (unless you count Tom
Tomorrow) - universal healthcare was treated as pretty far-left
pie-in-the-sky. Yet more than two-thirds of Americans were saying they
would have been happy to pay more in taxes to get something like an
NHS-style system. It's quite clear that mainstream America was far to
the left of the newsmedia (never mind the politicians).
The only reason the "partial-birth" scam has any traction is that the
media makes very little effort to explain that the claims made about
late-term abortion are just plain false. "Even the liberal New York Times"
reported that the Computer Decency Act would suppress pornography, and I
can't say I saw much in that paper expaining that (a) it would do much
more than that and (b) there is no known danger from seeing pornography
in the first place. It's a rare day that one sees anything about
effective prison rehabilitation programs (except for the assumption that
there's no such thing as rehabilitation - a conservative canard that
flies in the face of thousands of years of human history).
50 years ago the media was liberal enough that it at least discussed
some of these things. And, not unpredictably, Americans tended to
support the loosening of restraints on pornography and to oppose the
death penalty. The media has clearly moved to the right, and on many
issues brought the public with them. However, even today, most people
still support universal healthcare; the newspapers still show no signs
of taking this seriously.
I'd say the NYT is better than most papers, and probably less
illiberal, too, but that makes them neither liberal nor unbiased. In
the main, they tend to reflect the biases of people who are socially
liberal but who know a lot less than they ought to, having received too
many of their prejudices from right-wing media.
Conservatives are so much better at "working the refs" than liberals.
We are terrified of offending someone, of being taken on by the
Wurlitzer. Conservatives fear nothing.
I was going to object, guys, to some of the nonsense peddled above,
especially Kevin's view that all except the morally superior minority,
those exactly like himself, are "scary". He refers to 15%, but do we
think he really means anything under, say, 90%?
From time to time, I tell lefties that what they say is not only
false--which generally goes without saying, but that everybody knows
it's false, which ought to provide a little practical advice. As in
shut up. Stop digging.
But they never do.
Keep it up, guys.
Apparently Richard has the power to read Kevin's mind and tell him
what he *really* means. After all, its so easy to say something
substantiative, its so very challenging to properly attack someone ad
hominem and accuse them of having the wrong psychological motivations...
This is exactly what makes me, sometimes, want to never touch another political website.
I'd like to correct a misimpression. Henley wasn't even talking about
the NYT in that quote. He was answering my response to one of his rants
on Iraq. Henley's rant in turn was based on stories from MSNBC and the
You can find my initial remarks here.
Caution: it's a long piece, and the relevant parts are some way down.
My riposte to the passage quoted by CalPundit can be found in a
subsequent post, here.
See, it is this complete disconnect with reality that I don't understand. Kevin on the far left 10%?
"He refers to 15%, but do we think he really means anything under, say, 90%?"
That's a question only "we" can answer.
Yeah, if we only accepted Richard Aubrey's counseling we'd be doing
fine, even though it would still go without saying that everything we
say is false.
To me the scariest people on the right -- except for the neo-Nazis
and the anti-abortion terrorists, of course -- are the Armageddon
Christians who support Israel so that the end of the world will come
quicker. Not that I'm really worried that the seven-headed dragon will
rise from the sea, but in my opinion people who think that way shouldn't
be part of the foreign policy debate. (Does this make me an
A point I have to keep making is that right-wingers have killed a lot
of people in the last twenty years, and the "eco-terrorists" and
anti-globalists have killed exactly NONE. No matter how much you see
them on TV, how weird they look, and no matter how much you hate them,
they aren't killing people. (You can name Kaczynski if you want, but he
was on the record as hating feminists and radicals -- an
environmentalist Rush Limbaugh.)
My guess is that Aubrey does live in the TV reality, which is indeed full of frightening leftists.
The links I provided above seem not to work. Here are the URLs:
Sorry about the confusion. I'm new to MT (as you can tell from those archive #s), and I haven't used comment boards very much.
There's a good post at popandpolitics.com about the NY Times.
Richard Aubrey subtext puncturing:
I was going to make a substantive argument to refute Kevin's
statement, but then I realized that I couldn't. So I'll string together
a few nonsensical rants about "leftists," equate Mr. Drum's squishy
moderate Democratic politics with Lenin and Trotsky, and call it a day.
Kevin might be squishy, or he might be something else, but he surely does want us to know how morally superior he is.
And the moral superiority quotient rises as the in-group gets smaller,
hence the broadcast accusations of awfullness directed in about 359
Regarding newsmedia bias and partisanship
If polls of the biggest media sources, such as the big three TV
networks, newsweekly magazines, and NYT/WP/LAT showed that over 80% of
the reporters and editors vote democratic and lean left on hot button
social issues such as abortion and gun control...
...why do I get the feeling you folks here bouncing around in a
left-wing echo chamber would call such a phenomenom evidence of the
newsmedia being 'centrist'?
I suppose the basic 50/50 split of power reflected in election results in America is due to right wing rigging of the vote, eh?
After twenty years of gagging on the media monopoly which preened
with false claims of fairness and objectivity, what a liberating relief
it was for me to hear voices of opposition spring up in talk radio, the
internet, and cable television.
Now that the right and Republicans have an outlet to the national
audience, it doesn't matter that the left still has a grip on the
largest audience media powers, just the fact that the monopoly has
broken is enough to carry the day. Free at last! Thank God!
Remember, Richard, Gore got more votes than Bush. So we don't hate everybody. Kevin is probably more moderate than Bush, too.
Sorry if Kevin's moral superiority bothers you, you poor little
victim. You might clean up your act instead of whining, though.
Brad, get involved in reality. Was the fraudulent coverage of the
Clinton impeachment left-wing? What about the free ride that the
cokehead AWOL candidate got while Gore was being chopped to pieces for
Abortion and gun control are centrist issues, Brad. Many Republicans take what you think of is the "left" position here.
Talk radio and TV talk shows aren't liberal, moderate, fair,
balanced, or accurate. If you find relief in that, God bless your sorry
Thanks for living the sterotype and confirming every claim I made about the left wing mindset.
Brad, it's like fishbarrel shooting.
brad, i can't for the life of me understand why right-wingers think
it's so all fired definitive to cite statistics about how newspaper
First, as memory serves, the stat is fairly bogus. It represents a very small sample.
Second, what kind of reductionist thinking is it that assumes, even if the statistic is true, that results in "liberal bias?"
If the people who grew up to become newspaper reporters and editors wanted to be activists - well, they'd have become activists.
If they wanted to be politicians or work for politicians - that's where they'd have directed their career path.
they became reporters and editors because they were interested in the
news, and do their best, every day, in a highly demanding, charged, and
difficult profession, to get the story.
they do lots of things wrong and foolishly and misguidedly, no question.
but if you want to prove that what they do is display "liberal bias,"
then you, like, actually have to show "liberal bias," not make silly
extrapolations from incomplete data sets.
Truly showing "liberal bias" means that you can't just behave like
the Bush administration on iraq and cherrypick your favorite anecdotes.
It means you have to spend the time to read the thousands and thousands
of words that even one newspaper publishes every week and subject them,
in toto, to honest analysis.
if and when you do - and i've done this, to challenge conservative
friends caught up with the "liberal bias" delusion - you'll discover
that what kevin said in the original posting (and what taktile cited
actual research about) is true: there's plenty wrong with newspaper
coverage, but it's wrong in all directions.
people who insist that it's only "liberal" bias (as opposed, just to
cite a few, to "conventional story" bias, "don't criticize your peers"
bias, "protect your sources" bias, "on the one hand, on the other" bias,
and, of course, "conservative" bias which is constantly present in the
mere selection of stories every day) are telling us about themselves,
not about the meida.
Howard, you have a good point.
It would be rock-solid if you could substitute "conservative" for every "liberal" and still believe your conclusion.
I doubt you could do it.
Anyway, the point is not activist reporters, it's the liberal mindset
unable to discern that what it thinks is ordinary might not be.
The mindset which willingly attaches loaded adjectives to conservatives
but not liberals. The mindset involved in coverage choice.
Some years ago, I talked to an editor at the Detroit Free Press. I said
the problem was that journalism had a lot of aging flower children who
thought of journalism as a tool for The Struggle.
His response was surprising. "Not any more".
Ellen Goodman made the same point about that time, but said the activist
had gone elsewhere, writing books and so forth. No longer reporting.
The best journalism can say is that they aren't any longer doing just
what they're accused of doing, although some will admit they did do it.
The next step is to be just a little suspicious that the aging flower
children and their compatriots left a different newsroom behind them
when they went to greener pastures.
I doubt anything I could post here in the time and space limitations of CalPundit's comments section could convince you. But...
The single strongest and simplest evidence of media bias I could show
is the wildly unfair coverage that the big threes, ABC/CBS/NBC,
NYT/WP/LAT, Time/Newsweek/USNews have given the gun issue.
My personal experience has demonstrated to me how even a blatant hoax
printed on the front page would not be retracted when I confronted a
newspaper with the truth. When such deception falls right in line with
the editorial page stance, of course the the paper was biased and agenda
driven. And this is just one sample, albeit the worst, of many
examples I have witnessed of bias.
Hell even TIme magazine has come right out and admitted they give biased agenda driven coverage to the gun issue.
Even Alterman who wrote the book 'What liberal media?', grudgingly
admits the news profession is biased regarding social issues.
(the hoax story was the so-called 'Black-Rhino' ammo, which was a
handgun bullet with the magical ability to not only penetrate body
armor, but also expand explosively once inside the target)
I don't think you're going to make much headway with the Black Rhino story, Brad.
Although liberals don't like journalists to actually lie, they make exceptions for good causes.
So either the journos tell the truth, or if they don't, that's okay, and
since it's okay, it's the same as telling the truth, which means they
always tell the truth.
Unless they say something which is true that doesn't help the liberals.
It is interesting how much effort went into getting the NYT to retract
the story about the Arctic Ocean melting in the summer for the first
time in fifty million years, or the completely bogus Alaska temperature
As the guru of global warming, Steven Schneider, said, when it comes to
imparting information, he has to choose between accuracy and impact and
so he goes with impact.
Think he's alone?
Brad and Richard, I'll let you guys be the last ones standing. I
don't see that you've made any points, though. You're just repeating
cliches that were refuted some time ago.
I don't know dick about black Rhino. so maybe you're right about that
one. It doesn't even seem to be a big issue to the other trolls,
because they never bring it up.
Brad/Richard - you both seem saner than the typical Times-bashers,
but unfortunately, you're still both playing by Bush rules -
cherrypicking the stories you love best.
Let me pretend for a moment (and that's what it is) that I accept
your examples, although richard, that's not how I remember the arctic
story (i remember andy doing conniptions and backflips to prove that in
some areas of the arctic, temperatures weren't as bad as the times
claimed) and brad, i honestly don't know the "black rhino" story.
but let's accept them.
My challenge to you is that if you want to prove "liberal bias,"
you've got to do the sustained analysis of the total newspaper, not tell
me about a couple of stories.
i'll see your two stories without even having to think about it: the
times still has never apologized and/or retracted the inept reportage of
jeff gerth on whitewhater, and has never apologized and/or retracted
its part in the slime-Al-Gore-by-telling-false-stories program.
And that doesn't prove anything either, other than two can play at the cherrypicking game.
you do raise two potentially more significant issues. The first is
Eric Alterman. let's dispose of that quickly. i personally disagree with
him on that point, but i'll tell you what: i'll concede that point if
you'll concede everything else that alterman wrote.
the second is the ever-elusive, always popular "it's a matter of
mindset." I appreciate that human beings assign, write, and edit the
news, as well as make choices about where to place a story, how long the
story should be, whether a photo should run with it, what kind of
follow-up, and that therefore, being only human, they will make choices
that, ultimately, are based upon their impression of what the best
choice is, not upon some empirical standard.
it's a long way from there to saying that every choice reflects a
"liberal" bias. I am a person of the left, and believe me, i have every
bit as long a list of complaints about those choices and the mindset of
those who make them as you do, simply from a differing perspective.
that's why kevin's original post is correct.
P.S. the detroit free press story, richard, i'm afraid is
meaningless, and the "unfair adjectives" story has been debunked, so we
won't waste any more time on them, ok?
As for 'cherrypicking', I already told you about the limitations of this
forum. Bad form for you to cherrypick my post, while accusing me of
cherrypicking this issue.
I've heard that Alterman seemed so far out that he even made Jon
Stewart roll his eyes. If you truly believe that even Alterman doesn't
go far enough for you, I'm confident no amount of evidence from me will
convince you of anything. So this is my last post to you on this
I will credit you with some more civility than is typical from the
left end of the web. What does it say though that I know about Alterman
and his book, but the 'Black Rhino' hoax is a mystery to you. If you
care to look, google 'Black Rhino ammo', it's easy to find.
Howard, you keep missing the point. First, the Detroit story is
interesting because an editor said we self-censor, we do it deliberately
and here's why. The "why" is part of the issue.
The mindset question is also forked. You said "every", which I never
said. We don't need "every". But there is a number which is
considerably more than "sufficient".
I don't know if Google is any good for this, but conservatives have used
Lexis-Nexis for years to find out the ratio of "far left" and "far
right" in newspapers referring to liberals and conservatives, and a good
many other combinations of adjectives and usually find anywhere from
three to one to ten to one more "far" characterizations, and the same
with other diagnostic adjectival constructions. From which one can
conclude that the writer is so far left on the spectrum that there are
three to ten times as many positions to his right as to his left and you
can't get any further left this side of Mao and look "far" to the
writer, while anything right of, say, Kevin seems astronomically distant
to the right. As I say, the conservatives seem to be able to find this
in the general news (exclude talk radio, it's not the issue) and
liberals have not, to my knowledge, done the same. Perhaps they haven't
thought of it or perhaps they tried and the results weren't good.
As to mindset, sure. I'd like to hear you look at a bunch of reporters
and editors who are ex-grunts, Young Republicans, Southern Baptists, and
claim it makes little difference. Sure.
The NYT screwed the pooch regarding the far north twice. Once is the
hysteria about the newly-melted Arctic Ocean ice cap in the summer,
which they retracted entire. The other was making up numbers for
Alaska, which they retracted, under pressure, to replace them with a
cherry-picked period not representative of the actual measurements.
There may be some other reason than a conscious desire to advance an
agenda by adding some data that are "helpful" although false, or there
may be a propensity to believe without checking when the data are
"helpful". What do you think it is?
I would caution people about thinking that a paper said something when
it's really Jay Leno exaggerating what the paper said. I refer here to
the Love Canal and the internet stuff people said about Gore.
Richard Aubrey says "there are a number" of "liberals" who will say
anything so long as it supports their cause, but do we think he really
means anything under, say, 99.99999 of all people who disagree with him
The Times feels a bit soulless to me, and it has some deeply
significant blind spots (US foreign policy errors, for one). That is why
I'll say that the UK Independent is the world's best English-language
newspaper these days, even if the NYT has greater newsgathering
capacities, as I'm sure it does.
Brad, no, really, Jon Stewart "rolled" his eyes, you've heard? well, that settles everything, doesn't it?
or maybe it doesn't, and maybe second-hand anecdotal evidence doesn't
do a thing to prove your case, limitations of the forum or not.
richard, i don't have time to dig into it right now (maybe later
today?), but the "far left/far right" story has long been debunked.
Among the problems with that story is that if conservative x is quoted
as saying "they always call us far right," then amazingly enough, this
shows up as a count for "far right."
but as i'm sure you will acknowledge, this doesn't suggest bias at all, it suggest whining self-pity.
or perhaps you recall that ann coulter tried this very trick in her
book. among the "far right" references that she came up with, it turned
out, was a knick scoring a 3-pointer from the "far right" corner. (she
also cheated on her count and pulled a number of the other dishonesties
that are the hallmark of her book.)
in fact, serious studies (that is, studies that exclude silly cases
like the two i just cited) find that the media are quite equal in their
use of terms like "far left" and "far right."
as i say, i don't have time now, but i'll try and find them and post
them here later, if only in the hopes that you'll abandon this line of
argument and try to find some better ones to prove bias.
now, your next step in the mindset question is a mighty dangerous
one. next thing you know, richard, you'll be supporting the university
of michigan on its admission policies. after all, by your analysis,
social and economic backgrounds are definitive and cannot possibly be
overcome. is this really what you mean?
the detroit story is still meaningless. yes, i agree, people make
decisions. gosh, that's a terrible, horrible, thing isn't it? a
meaningful story would be a carefully done, controlled study of managing
editors across the country. as an anecdote, your tale is of as much
value as brad's having heard that jon stewart rolled his eyes at eric
as for your parting comment, i can't figure it out. if you'd like to
know what the media really said, massively dishonestly, about gore, feel
free to visit the daily howler site and sarch through the archives.
it's covered quite definitively and quite accurately.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
However, the probability theory tells us that what is most likely to happen is what is most likely to happen.
If I enounter something, it is the most likely thing to have happened, not likely to be an unlikely thing.
So if I hear something from an editor, I am statistically correct in presuming it's common, not uncommon.
Now, of course, it could be one of those one-per-million cases. But that's not likely.
However, if it seems supported by other issues, perhaps it's one of those more likely items.
As to U-Mich and their admissions policies, I don't see where overcoming
mindsets is the issue. I think it's designed to confirm mindsets
(blacks can't make it without help, that sort of thing).
If folks with a liberal mindset can overcome in order to be fair
journalists, so can those with a conservative mindset, a conclusion few
liberals would join.
"Of course it does, Jim. I've come to realize that the Times isn't
really a newspaper at all, it's the perfect political Rorschach test:
just ask someone to read a copy, note down what they mumble irritably
about, and then take the mirror image. That's their political leaning."
Interesting. I've always said the same thing about The New Republic.
The Right thinks that TNR is the Left's answer to The National Review.
The Left thinks that TNR is just The National Review with a better arts
section. Somewhat indicative of what's happened to our politcal culture
in the last few decades - that people on both sides of the aisle now
find it difficult to accept the possibility of an opinion journal that's
"conservative" on most foreign policy issues, "moderate" on most
bread-and-butter domestic policy issues, and "liberal" on most cultural
The New York Times -- the Sunday Magazine has drifted definitively to
the right, perhaps because of the need to keep those Ralph Lauren ads. I
realize "anecdote is not data," but the NYTM has run many articles in
the last few years favoring Bushite foreign policy (neo-colonialism).
Most recently it featured a major aticle by Niall Ferguson (neocon
British historian who thinks US ought to revive the British Empire). The
NYT recently adopted the odious Washington Post habit of covering
leftist causes in the Style section -- an article about leftist pamphlet
publishing appeared in the NYT 6/8 Styles section.
As for Tne New Republic, on social issues they are not leftist.
Liberal but not left. Summary rejection and ridicule of academic leftist
phenomena such as queer theory (Judith Butler et al.).
If anything the Los Angeles Times is now more leftist than the New York Times.
Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg pretty effectively shot down some of the liberal bias claims here:
thank you, stanton - that was the very set of references that I
referred to earlier in my exchanges with richard and brad. (given that
it's now several days later, i think we'll give the remainder of our
back-and-forth a rest.)
The NY Times is NOT biased at all! The people that run the paper and
the writers that do the stories are NOT leftists but Independents who
just report the News as it is. Therefore, there can be no "bias."
Right wingers are just jealous the paper is so successful and reaches a
world wide audience and gives them all the news that's fit to print.
You have a pretty nice blog. English is not my native language but it
was please to read your site. From Russia with love :)Sincerely yours..
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