MediaWatch: October 1997

Vol. Eleven No. 10

Even Liberals See Liberal Bias

Only Media Still in Denial

Journalists are about the only group still refusing to acknowledge liberal media bias. A recent poll found that even liberals see a liberal over a conservative bias. The Center for Media and Public Affairs retained the Louis Harris Organization to conduct a poll of 3,000 people about attitudes toward the press. Amongst the findings reported in the May/June edition of the center’s newsletter:

n "Majorities of all major groups in the population, including 70 percent of self-described liberals, now see a ‘fair amount’ or ‘great deal’ of bias in the news. Only among high school dropouts does the perception of bias drop below 60 percent; among college graduates it rises above 80 percent. In general, perceptions of bias rise along with levels of education and political participation."

n "Those who see a liberal tilt outnumber those who detect a conservative bias by more than a two to one margin. Forty three percent describe the news media’s perspective on politics as liberal, compared to 33 percent who see it as a middle of the road, and 19 percent who find it to be conservative."

n "Even self-described liberals agree: 41 percent see the media as liberal, compared to only 22 percent who find the news to be conservative. Among self-designated conservatives, of course, the spread is even greater: 57 percent say the media are liberal and 19 percent see them as conservative."

The newsletter explained how these results disprove what reporters contend: "These findings challenge the argument of some journalists that bias is purely in the eye of the beholder" since "moderates and liberals alike see liberal bias in the media twice as often as they see conservative bias."