MediaWatch: March 1989

Vol. Three No. 3

Study Bites: Labeling

MediaWatch also checked two other smaller groups and found similar results.

  • The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a think tank considerably to the left of Brookings, was labeled only 17 times in 62 mentions (27.4%). In 31 stories, New York Times reporters attached a label to IPS five times; "liberal" accounted for four of them and "of liberal orientation" the fifth. In 23 stories, the Washington Post labeled IPS on merely five occasions.

Reporters felt compelled to issue a "conservative" label every time they mentioned the Center for Judicial Studies, another group that received attention during the Bork hearings. The Post went 4 for 4, U.S. News 2 for 2, The New York Times 4 for 4, and the Los Angeles Times 1 for 1.

  • An interesting measure for think tank influence is the number of editorials and book reviews they get published in the major newspapers. Brookings has a wide lead in published editorials with 72, followed by IPS with 22 and Heritage with 16.

The Washington Post published articles with Brookings bylines 17 times, compared to 9 for IPS and 2 for Heritage. Of the 17 Brookings articles, the Post relied on 14 different authors. The New York Times also printed 17 Brookings produced articles from 14 authors, in addition to 6 from Heritage and 2 from IPS.

The Los Angeles Times relied on Brookings for 38 editorials and book reviews, IPS was second with 11 followed by eight for Heritage.