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Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Are Progressive News Shows More Balanced and Unbiased than Conservative Ones?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/26/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,106 times Debate No: 46807
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (16)
Votes (1)




Round 1 is the opening argument, and round 2 is the rebuttal and closing . There is no rebuttals in the first round. The topic at hand is whether progressive news shows are more balanced an unbiased than conservative ones.

I have watched and listened to many shows in my life. The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, The Caiden Cowger Show, and The Rush Limbaugh Show are examples of what I've listened to on the conservative side. On the progressive side, I've listened to The Young Turks, The Rubin Report, and The David Pakman Show.

I feel conservatives are quick to make stupid comments on things like homosexuality, blacks, Barack Obama, and many, many other things. Rush Limbaugh is a racist in my opinion:

[To an African American female caller]: "Take that bone out of your nose and call me back."" (

Bill O'Reilly is plain dumb. He tries to bring in yes-men as guests and tries to pass them off as sources. I think just last week he brought on Karl Rove. He is also an a**hole. I watched him interrupt the President over 30 times and say just as much as him.

I have little opinion on Hannity, as I have not watched him much, but he can be very stupid from what I know. He seems quite biased as well.

"Here you are, you're a liberal, probably define peace as the absence of conflict. I define peace as the ability to defend yourself and blow your enemies into smithereens."

"[Liberal rhetoric] now is so over the top, it's so vicious, it's so mean, it's so cruel, and I don't hear this coming from conservatives about liberals."

Funny to hear that, considering FOX has banned Bill Maher from certain shows after he joked about Sarah Palin. Too bad they didn't get around to calling him "Pig Maher" like one executive wanted. ( . That isn't even mentioning that they have banned entire organizations from certain shows.

However, progressive shows don't talk about just "conservative idiots" as some think. If you watch some shows, you will learn that progressives have come to hate Barack Obama with reason: not because of better healthcare and he's black. They talk about the whole array of idiots out there: liberal, conservative, white, black, Christian, Muslim, atheist. It does not matter: all types of people are praised and condemned, unlike how conservatives talk shows do things. Conservatives rarely criticize conservatives. They also rarely praise liberals. Progressives however, don't care what political standing a person has, so long as they aren't stupid and making a ton of money off of it.

I am done for round 1. Remember: no rebuttals in the first round.


"Balanced and unbiased" are ambiguous when applied to modern day media/news shows available on television, radio, and internet.
However, when one reviews the data available comparing what are commonly referred to as conservative/Right and progressive/Liberal shows there are some glaring conclusions.
Bias and/or balance are not synonymous with "honest" or "true" when considering these concepts within "shows" but are akin to preference or "taste" - and this preference or taste is made manifest by the broadcast of "OPINION".
So, if one measures balance and bias as merely offering a preference or taste for one side of an issue over the opposing side of an issue then any show that is already being submitted as being Liberal or Conservative would meet that measure. However, there are two distinct ideas to be considered here (1) Balanced and (2) Unbiased. Balance would require equal time and exposure to mutually opposing positions for any topic. Unbiased would simply be providing no "preference" for any position on a topic and maintaining a rather "centrist" conveyance of the topic.

So, for the notion of how media outlets, and effectively the shows they produce and support, measure in terms of being "unbiased" or centrist one can rely upon several academic measures. Does evoking the memory of Melissa Harris-Perry wearing tampon earrings on MSNBC prove that MSNBC is ultimately bias and unbalanced? Perhaps, but the extent of that bias and unbalance must be measurable by other means...must be quantified by more than just perceptive anecdotes that eventually become an argument of tit-for-tat (i.e. quotes from Michael Savage, Don Imus, Keith Olbermann, Martin Bashir, Alec Baldwin).
These sentiments are important to evaluate from a "by the numbers" position but these conclusions are also echoed by the public's perception; take for example a Pew research poll [1] that found:
"Fully 50% of all Republicans say they detect Democratic bias. But only 16% of Democrats (and 8% of independents) saw a tilt toward the GOP."
Furthermore, this same study shows that "About two-thirds of Democrats (65%), Republicans (66%) and Independents (70%) say they like getting news that has no point of view, rather than news that reflects their own political outlook, although they might disagree as to which news reports are neutral" - this point being significant as any show being classified as either conservative or progressive must certainly be for a marginalized audience. Fair, Balanced, Unbiased can not be simply measured from a position of the severity of anecdotal insults but rather their occurrence, prevalence, and resulting perception to the public.

A ranking from a study [2] that measures how far a media outlet/show is from the "center", or from being unbiased: the most centrist being Newshour with Jim Leher, Newsnight with Aaron Brown, and Good Morning America - hardly any of these being considered outright conservative or progressive shows and rightfully so.
But when one compares the New York Times (NYT) to Fox News' Special Report (FNSR) we see a dramatic difference wherein the NYT is 3 time farther from being "centrist" than FNSR; an obvious indication that this particular liberal/progressive media is less than bias than a conservative one.
Yet another Pew study[3] has found that MSNBC may be the most "opinionated" news outlet today...but are those opinions "balanced" and "unbiased"? Well, when one considers that opinion is differing from just simple factual reporting then the only conclusion is that MSNBC promotes a "preference", or a "taste", for the facts being presented.

Consider this quote from Bill Clinton - "Boy, it (MSNBC) has really become our version of Fox"
Also consider this with regards to the 2008 election coverage:
"A study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that MSNBC's coverage of Mitt Romney during the final week of the 2012 presidential campaign (68% negative with no positive stories in the sample), was far more negative than the overall press, and even more negative than it had been during October 1 to 28, when 5% was positive and 57% was negative.[84] On the other hand, their coverage of Barack Obama improved in the final week before the presidential election. From October 1 to 28, 33% of stories were positive and 13% negative. During the campaign's final week, 51% of MSNBC's stories were positive while there were no negative stories at all about Obama in the sample."[4]

"Ultimately journalism has changed....Partisanship is very much a part of journalism now."
" CBS Corporation Chairman and CEO Les Moonves as quoted in a June 7, 2012 Los Angeles Times story by Robin Abcarian and Kathleen Hennessey."[5]
- "I think that the media is as divided on this issue [of gay marriage] as the Obama family " which is to say not at all. And so he"s never going to get negative coverage for this....When you have almost the entire media establishment on your side on an issue in a presidential campaign, it"s very hard to lose politically."
" Mark Halperin on MSNBC"s Morning Joe, May 10, 2012"[5]

Pew Research Center study found that 85 percent of MSNBC's programming is dedicated to "opinion," versus 15 percent that is dedicated to "news." Fox News dedicated just 55 percent of its programming to "opinion" and 45 percent to "news." (CNN dedicates 46 percent to "opinion" and 54 percent to "news.") During the 2012 election, the ratio of unfavorable to favorable treatment in stories on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on MSNBC "was roughly 23-to-1; the negative-to-positive ratio on Fox News was 8-to-1.[6]

As for the idea of "Balance":
"Kelefa Sanneh, who for 8 years was a critic at the New York Times, profiled MSNBC and found that "Conservatives are far less visible on MSNBC than liberals are on Fox News""[7]
"Pew Study: MSNBC is a Left-Wing Opinion-Mill, Fox News Far More Balanced in Reportage"[8]

Debate Round No. 1


"Balance would require equal time and exposure to mutually opposing positions for any topic." This thought is useless, as I said that progressive shows are simply MORE balanced, not in an absolute sense.

"Unbiased would simply be providing no 'preference' for any position on a topic and maintaining a rather 'centrist' conveyance of the topic." I never said "progressives have no preference and they are centrist on everything." Again, I said they are more unbiased than conservatives.

You mentioned MSNBC a lot in your opening argument. However, I do not consider them "progressive news." They are "liberal news." The two shall be considered different. And you also mentioned a Democrat news bias. Again, the mention of Democrat is not synonymous with progressive. Progressives can be Democrat, but in today's world, most are independent.

I mentioned online news shows for my argument, you might want to check those, not MSNBC, who by the way, true progressives despise. And if progressives are usually independent, some of them even former Republicans (see: Cenk Uygur), how can they be partisan?

Your whole MSNBC argument is not and will not be considered by me, because they are not who I watch, as stated in my opening, and they are not necessarily progressive.

But I do have something else to say: even if FOX reports things more, how many of them are to bash Obama (i.e. Benghazi, fake IRS scandal [1-4], Obamacare)? Did I mention they talked about Benghazi and the IRS "scandal" way more than Chris Christie's political retribution schemes, while the "Bridgegate" was being reported most, even connecting the "Bridgegate" and Benghazi addresses and apologies? [5]



You may have intended Progressive to mean any number of concepts, however, in the absence of providing any limiting parameters - the most common, usual, and typical definition is appropriate - otherwise the debate is one between your imagination and reality. Your opening argument failed to mention that the meanings of words and concepts would be limited to those which suited you regardless of their actual or accepted meanings.
Your anecdotal evidence of what Progressives like or do not like is unsupported and is tantamount to hearsay.

The term Progressive is quite synonymous with Liberal as used in the news media...for example
Progressive talk radio is a format devoted to expressing liberal or progressive viewpoints of issues, as opposed to conservative talk radio.[1]
Additionally we hear from MSNBC president Griffin
"Griffin also emphasizes that all his hosts have different points of view that fall under the "wide berth" of progressivism, but the time given to opposing views is extremely limited."[2]
Notwithstanding the specific examples about MSNBC the PEW research cited unequivocally negates your premise and your inability to rebut that data direct confirms this notion.

Quoting insults from Bill O'Reilly or other supposedly conservative media hosts does not quantify the amount of balance one news program has over another. You have merely stated your opinion and provided no tangible or objective data that would support your claim that any one host does anything more or less than any other host - regardless of their affiliation.

The crux of your argument being "if you watch" is simply no argument at all but yet another unsupported claim by you, which really degenerates the whole notion of you providing an argument into you simply providing your opinion - being at best supported by speculation.

Debate Round No. 2
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by subgenius 3 years ago
Write, 2 of my 10 citations were from wiki...but rather than, whereas all of your sources were of commonly known left, liberal, and progressive origins. The voter even admits that they were unfamiliar with the unbias resources i provided b and they were more comfortable with your obvious anecdotal rant and bias sources. So, currently the vote on this debate is an inaccurate assessment of the actual debate.
Posted by 1harderthanyouthink 3 years ago
@subgenius No, he marked you down for Wikipedia, which I don't necessarily agree with, but Wikipedia is generally viewed as unreliable.
Posted by subgenius 3 years ago
a great example of the myopic view from your original post. The voter considered your "sources" more reliable - you used salon, newsone, mediamatters, etc...all known liberal sources....tantamount to as if i had only cited Fox news - yet I used Pew research and other non-partisan and non-media sources that actually conducted studies on this very subject and found that your position was incorrect. This is a simple fact and on that point you lost. However, the voter - when reviewing their profile - admits to being bias to your rhetoric and emotional pleadings - thus their vote reflected as much. No surprise - as i mentioned already.
Posted by 1harderthanyouthink 3 years ago
@subgenius No, it wasn't absolutely determined by the voter's opinion: he isn't progressive, and notes a difference. That's why he marked your arguments off.
Posted by subgenius 3 years ago
who said i was complaining, i was just noticing the measure by which the voter determined their vote (according to their comments)....and noticed that it was a predictable vote and obviously had little regard for the actual facts of the issue and more regard for anecdote and logical fallacy (ironically reaffirming the voter's chosen political position).
Posted by 1harderthanyouthink 3 years ago
@subgenius Stop complaining. Would you want me to complain if a rich white conservative that gets his news from FOX News voted for you?
Posted by subgenius 3 years ago
how shocking! the white college liberal who gets his news from comedy central voted for Pro.
Posted by 1harderthanyouthink 3 years ago
I don't really know TOO much about Pakman, he seems ok though, although I only watched a few of his videos. I need to get to Secular talk, too.
Posted by progressivedem22 3 years ago
Yeah, I was talking about Shure, not Cenk, on the NSA.

Cenk calls himself progressive, but then he'll claim that he's still fairly centrist on economics, or center-left. For instance, he advocated higher interest rates, balancing the budget now now now, he's supported intervention in Libya, defended the notion of a strike in Syria for quite some time until he finally opposed it, etc. Then there's the fact that he blamed the recession partially on the Bush tax cuts, which doesn't make him a conservative necessarily, but it's simply pretty dumb. Yes, they were stupid, but they didn't cause a recession.

And Pakman is a whole other story. He can be quite an ObamaBot. Now, Secular Talk is a whole other thing. My new favorite show, actually.
Posted by 1harderthanyouthink 3 years ago
I don't know why that posted twice.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by AdamKG 3 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
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Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: It is obvious that Fox News is probably the least credible national news outlet in existence, even more so than MSNBC. Con used Wikipedia among a few other sources I do not recognize that may or may not be credible. Pro had the more convincing argument clearly being more informed than con. Con didn't seem to fully understand the concept. Con stated "You may have intended Progressive to mean any number of concepts, however, in the absence of providing any limiting parameters - the most common, usual, and typical definition is appropriate - otherwise the debate is one between your imagination and reality. Your opening argument failed to mention that the meanings of words and concepts would be limited to those which suited you regardless of their actual or accepted meanings.? Progressives and Liberals are clearly defined as different political ideologies. For example, I am a Liberal, but I am not a progressive by any means.