The Instigator
Lt.Zubin
Con (against)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Pro (for)
Winning
50 Points

The mainstream media has a liberal bias

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 11 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/12/2009 Category: News
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,049 times Debate No: 8605
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (25)
Votes (11)

 

Lt.Zubin

Con

I have explained this debate topic before in an earlier debate which my opponent was not taking seriously. I will briefly explain it once more and allow my opponent to post his or her arguments first.

"Mainstream media" is defined for this debate as the news sources from which the majority of Americans get their news, including printed sources, Cable/TV News, Radio, and the Internet.

"Liberal bias" will be defined as a tendency to present news stories with the agenda of elevating policies or stances that are conventionally called liberal. This may be in the form of excluding or distorting information to serve this goal, as well as devoting time to certain issues or politicians unevenly.

Taking the Con stance, I will argue that the mainstream media does not have a liberal bias, or at least that any liberal biases it exhibits do not overcompensate for any conservative biases it exhibits. My opponent will presumably argue that liberal bias in the media does in fact outweigh conservative bias.
RoyLatham

Pro

It's easy to see media bias every day. The New York Times had fifty front page stories on Abu Ghraib, each one suggesting that links to higher ups would soon be revealed. They never were, despite the Times' fondest hopes and dreams. However, there are not many unbiased objective studies that form a basis for generalization. If you ask journalists, they are sure they are "centrist." That's subjective, depending upon where one thinks the center is.

An objective study requires an objective methodology that relates news coverage to positions on issues. UCLA released such a study at the end of 2005. http://newsroom.ucla.edu... they defined "liberal" in accordance with the Americans for Democratic Action scoring of issues. The ADA rates Congress people on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being "perfectly" liberal. The average ADA score, weighing districts by population, is 50.1 I will note that in 2005 congress was considerably to the left of center, so the comparison is to a left-of-center center. Nonetheless, the study is objective relative to the center of Congress.

"Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal. ... The fourth most centrist outlet was "Special Report With Brit Hume" on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC's "World News Tonight" and NBC's "Nightly News" to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found." ...

"The researchers took numerous steps to safeguard against bias — or the appearance of same — in the work, which took close to three years to complete. They went to great lengths to ensure that as many research assistants supported Democratic candidate Al Gore in the 2000 election as supported President George Bush. They also sought no outside funding, a rarity in scholarly research."

So 18 of 20 of the mainstream media news outlets had a liberal bias. Keep in mind that editorial pages are not included in the study, only news reporting. The New York Times editorial page is not pulling their score to the left, and the Wall Street Journal's editorials are not pulling them right. Bill Moyers is not counted on PBS, only Jim Lehrer.

Early in the 2008 Presidential campaign, the press had a wide field of candidates to cover. The quantity of coverage a candidate received might be attributed to the pure novelty of the candidate, but even so there were no incumbents running, so all the candidates had to stake out their positions on issues and their political philosophies. The tone of the coverage therefore expresses media bias, in terms of what the media found appealing or not. Positive and negative coverage as a percent of all studies as determined by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. The results were telling: (http://journalism.org...)

Barack Obama 47/16 (positive/negative percentages)
Rudy Giuliani 28/37
Hillary Clinton 27/38
John McCain 12/48

The favorability of coverage is tied to how liberal the candidate was perceived by the press. Giuliani is admittedly a little hard to classify, as he is a liberal on social issues and a conservative on defense. There is no doubt about Obama and McCain, however. The Schorenstein Center http://www.hks.harvard.edu... performing the study is affiliated with Harvard University, rarely accused of conservative bias.

Moving to the campaign, the Pew Research Center studied the tone of press coverage from September 8 to October 16, 2008. http://www.journalism.org... "For Obama during this period, just over a third of the stories were clearly positive in tone (36%), while a similar number (35%) were neutral or mixed. A smaller number (29%) were negative. ... For McCain, by comparison, nearly six in ten of the stories studied were decidedly negative in nature (57%), while fewer than two in ten (14%) were positive."

Regarding methodology:

"To examine tone, the Project takes a particularly cautious and conservative approach. Unlike some researchers, we examine not just whether assertions in stories are positive or negative, but also whether they are inherently neutral. ... the Project measures coverage by story, and for a story to be deemed as having a negative or positive tone, it must be clearly so, not a close call: for example, the negative assertions in a story must outweigh positive assertions by a margin of at least 1.5 to 1 for that story to be deemed negative."

To get to specifics, the biased coverage of candidates Sarah Palin versus that of Joe Biden is notable. "In a room full of television industry executives, no one seemed inclined to defend MSNBC on Monday for what some were calling its lopsidedly liberal coverage of the presidential election." Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, a self-described liberal and close friend of the Clinton's punctuated the belief by saying that she would prefer a lunch date with right-leaning Fox News host Sean Hannity over MSNBC host Keith Olbermann. According to the report, one aspect of the coverage that bothered Ms. Bloodworth-Thomason and others was the way MSNBC — and other media — has attacked Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and demeaned her supporters." http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com...

Biden is as noted for dumb statements as any candidate since Dan Quayle. For "When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened,'" Senator Obama's running mate told the "CBS Evening News." Except Republican Herbert Hoover was in office when the stock market crashed in October 1929. There also was no television at the time; TV wasn't introduced to the public until a decade later, at the 1939 World's Fair." http://www.nysun.com... Perhaps more importantly, Biden clearly fabricated his notion of how FDR explained the market crash in terms of root causes. The press consistently passed off Biden's incredible gaffes with an "there goes ol' Joe again" attitude, while Palin's gaffes were savaged. The press reveled in personal attacks on Palin and her family. We have had exactly one evangelical religious president: Jimmy Carter. Liberal Carter's religion was forgivable and remains so. Not Palin's.

Liberal bias is inevitable from liberal reporters. That reporters are liberal is admitted even by defenders of the press: "From studies of the elite national press to those focused on medium- and small-town newspapers, working journalists consistently register positive on the liberal litmus test and have since the 1930s when Leo Rosten first examined the character, background and practices of the Washington press corps." http://www.asne.org... Liberals argue that even though journalists are liberal, this is offset by their management being conservative. If that were true we ought to see it in the coverage, but we do not. The UCLA study found that even though the editorial position of the Wall Street Journal was heavily right wing, the news reporting was left of center. The only way for a management to enforce their view of the news is to hire like minded employees. Fox News hires right-of-center journalists; the New York times hires convinced Leftists. That works. Overall, left-leaning journalists greatly outnumber right-leaning. Liberals believe that diversity is required to avoid bias in every area of human endeavor except journalism, where they carve a unique exception for liberal group-think.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 1
Lt.Zubin

Con

Thank you for agreeing to debate me on this topic.

I agree that it is easy to see bias in the media every day. News outlets try to seem objective, yet biases always appear. However, these biases are running in both directions. For every example you find of a supposed liberal bias, there are plenty of counterexamples of conservative bias to be found. Just staying with the New York Times, it is true that when it comes to issues such as Abu Ghraib and torture, the Times took many liberal stances and highlighted these issues in their articles. However, there was perhaps no other paper that was so strongly sounding the trumpets of war in 2003. A paper that had a full out liberal bias might, one would expect, show some skepticism for the "facts" that the White House was using to justify the invasion. A really liberal paper might just be antiwar in general, and oppose a war waged so hastily and without enough thought given towards the consequences. The Times did none of these things.

Thank you for including this study, which I admire for its safeguards against subjectivity. However, upon careful observation of the article you cited for this study, there were several problems that stuck out at me.
First, although the study included many major outlets that are considered sources from which a large number of Americans derived their news, such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, there were some significant other sources missing from the study. For instance, the study observed many specific news shows, such as "Nightly News" and "World News Tonight", yet aside from "Special Report With Brit Hume", few were from the Fox News Channel. Now, you may think the exclusion of one network may not be that significant, but in this case, it might actually affect the results to a considerable degree. I have defined the mainstream media in this debate to be the "news sources from which the majority of Americans get their news". Of all news networks, the Fox News Channel has the most regular viewers (http://www.stateofthemedia.org...). Additionally, The O'Reilly Factor, notoriously conservative, has the most viewers per night than any other cable news channel. Moving to radio, while the study did include NPR's "Morning Edition", which has 13 million listeners a week, it left out the Rush Limbaugh Show, the only radio news program to have more weekly listeners than "Morning Edition". With about 20 million listeners a week, the Rush Limbaugh Show is roughly on par with all of NPR's shows combined.

Does the exclusion of these major, notoriously conservative news outlets throw the conclusions of this study? Perhaps. The point is that the study does not have a perfectly objective way of deciding what news outlets are to be observed in the study.

Another problem I encountered with the study is the method by which the scores of the news outlets were calculated.

"Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) tracks the percentage of times that each lawmaker votes on the liberal side of an issue. Based on these votes, the ADA assigns a numerical score to each lawmaker, where "100" is the most liberal and "0" is the most conservative. After adjustments to compensate for disproportionate representation that the Senate gives to low‑population states and the lack of representation for the District of Columbia, the average ADA score in Congress (50.1) was assumed to represent the political position of the average U.S. voter."

This part seems reasonable enough. The researchers were able to assign a score to specific lawmakers based on their voting records. The second component of the calculation, however, is what I find troubling:

"They tallied the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups, such as the left-leaning NAACP or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation.

Next, they did the same exercise with speeches of U.S. lawmakers. If a media outlet displayed a citation pattern similar to that of a lawmaker, then Groseclose and Milyo's method assigned both a similar ADA score."

It seems like a bit of a jump to me to assign similar scores to news outlets based on the citation patterns of their articles compared to the speeches of lawmakers. After all, a news outlet may refer to a source merely to criticize it. Fox News does this with the ACLU and ACORN all the time. Should Fox News be scored similarly to lawmakers who cite the ACLU and ACORN in a positive light?

With regards to your sources on the election, there is no doubt that Obama was covered in a very positive light when compared to McCain. However, I don't think this is good evidence of a liberal bias. A truly liberal media would have not given so much negative coverage to Hillary Clinton, whom many considered to be even more liberal than Obama. In addition, John Edwards, whom many thought to be the most liberal of the three major candidates for the Democratic nomination, was largely attacked by the press. During the debates, not only was he given significantly less speaking time than Obama or Clinton, but he was also oriented more towards the edge of the stage than Obama and Clinton, who were often dead center.

It is easily argued that above any other bias, news sources are mostly driven by the profit motive. As businesses, it is in their interests to appear prophetic and insightful. This spawn the media's tendency to want to "pick the winner". I think that the positive coverage of Obama is due mostly to his large popularity among the public. From early on in the election, it was clear that Obama had a distinct advantage, what with the previous president's unpopularity and Obama's promises of progress and change. Indicative of the fact that the press wanted to pick the winner is the observation, reported in the very Pew Research Center study that you cited, that Obama's favorable coverage varied directly with his popularity in the polls. When he became more popular, the media subsequently grew more positive on his campaign.

If the media were motivated by a liberal bias instead of a motivation to choose the winner, they would have performed differently during the 2000 election. A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts Project for Excellence in Journalism revealed the respective coverage of the two candidates during this election: Gore: Positive - 13%, Neutral - 31%, Negative - 56%; Bush: Positive - 24%, Neutral - 27%, Negative - 49%. Bush's claims of "Compassionate Conservatism" grew his popularity with the public greatly, and the media, sensing this, went on the attack on Gore. This is why they tore apart "lies" by Gore that he had "invented the internet", even though this was not what he had originally said, yet when Bush claimed that the majority of his tax cuts would go "to the bottom end of the spectrum", the press was quiet. I don't consider this coverage evidence of an overall conservative bias in the media. Instead, I think it shows that media outlets are businesses that want to increase their profit by appearing knowledgeable and prophetic.

It seems I am running out of space. I will try to address your other points in my next argument.
RoyLatham

Pro

In 1995, I published a short paper in the academic journal 'Science.' In that study, I reviewed how borehole temperature recorded a warming of about one degree Celsius in North America over the last 100 to 150 years. The week the article appeared, I was contacted by a reporter for National Public Radio. He offered to interview me. but only if I would state that the warming was due to human activity. When I refused to do so, he hung up on me." David Deming, in Senate testimony Dec 2006, quoted in Singer: "Unstoppable Global Warming" p 115

Con initiated the debate with definition of mainstream media specifying "news sources." That excludes entertainment, analysis, and opinion programming. Programs like those of Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are not, and do not claim to be news sources. They are commentary programs. The editorial pages of newspapers are not news sources. That's how the Wall Street Journal ended up classified as liberal, even though their editorial page is clearly conservative.

A remarkable number of people form political opinions based upon entertainment shows like Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, Colbert Report, David Letterman's show, and even South Park. http://www.philly.com... We could look at the media as a whole in another debate. We could count in incessant trashing of conservatives on Letterman and the like. We could count the endless pseudo-documentaries on PBS where Bill Meyers pushes socialism, and the endless one-sided pseudo-documentaries propagandizing global warming crisis. About the only significant bastions of conservative opinion are talk radio, Fox News, and editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. Compared to viewership of all the liberal media, conservatives are a distinct minority.

We should not expect opinion and entertainment programs to be unbiased. We should expect news sources to be unbiased. No one expects Rush Limbaugh to be unbiased, and Limbaugh makes no pretense about it. So everyone who listens to his program knows that he is selecting topics that suit his preferences and marshalling evidence to make his points. Similarly, anyone who believes Keith Olbermann is reporting news needs counseling. All of the opinion programming makes news sources important, because they are viewed with more credibility. This debate is about news sources.

The UCLA study was conducted by political scientists used an unbiased methodology. The even took care to make sure the research staff was equally weighted with liberals and conservatives. The results showed that 18 of 20 mainstream media news sources had a liberal bias.

The study methodology compared the citation used by the news sources with those of Congress people classified left/right by the ADA. Con says, "After all, a news outlet may refer to a source merely to criticize it." The study was performed in academia by trained political science analysts. It is not plausible that they would overlook whether a citation was used in agreement or not. Specifically, a "citation pattern" implies they took that into accord. In any case, it would be uncommon for a news program to make critical references. Moreover, if this mistake were made, the liberal half of the research staff would surely have protested that the study results were flawed.

It's even doubtful that there were a significant number of critical references. As Con suggest, critical references would be expected in commentary, but news deals almost entirely with affirmative statements. The same is true of Congress people. They are not in the business of criticizing the Heritage Foundation or the Cato Institute. They are going to be using citations to bolster their position or offering data that undermines an opponents position. It is also not plausible that political science academic would fail to correctly distinguish critical citations.

The UCLA is an academic study. Con is not well-grounded in attacking it with pure speculation that they might have made simple gross errors in methodology. If Con has evidence that they in fact made any such mistakes, he should present it.

Con claims it is easy to spot bias in news reporting, like the New York Times wildly biased coverage of Abu Ghraib, but that the excesses split among liberal and conservative bias. I see no evidence of that. The excesses are overwhelmingly liberal. Palin is portrayed as a nutcase fundamentalist, while born-again Jimmy Carter is and was wonderfully spiritual. About a third of evangelicals are liberals, but you would never guess that from press coverage. Palin is portrayed as stupid, while Biden is just being good ol' Joe. I challenge Con to cite examples of news bias, reported as hard news, comparable to the Times fifty front page news stories touting utterly bogus claims about Abu Ghraib. I can think of none.

Con sites the Times early credence to claims of Saddam having WMD programs as evidence of conservative bias, but it is not true that giving the claims credence showed a departure from type. Virtually everyone at the time believed the claims credible, including Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. Obama said he believed the claims of WMDs, but opposed the war in Iraq because the WMDs had not been used against the United States. Hans Blix said in his book believed the claims, but could not confirm them. Even Saddam's own generals believed the claims. We now know that Saddam was deliberately fostering the belief so as to scare the Iranians and Kurds, confident that the US would never intervene no matter what. That case of the Times reporting shows that news organizations can be fooled, not that they cut both ways in their bias.

I am not claiming that the mainstream media are uniformly radical leftists who would have been at home working at Pravda. They are liberal, with the liberal bias one would expect. If something is an obvious news story, they will report it. The Lewinsky scandal made everyone's newscasts. Right before the 2000 election, Fox News broke the story of Bush having a DUI conviction. Journalists will always jump at red meat dragged before them. Similarly, John Edwards received favorable press coverage until his scandalous affair came to light. But it was not the investigative reporters of the Times or the Washington Post who followed up on all the rumors to covered the scandal, it was the less-than-mainstream National Enquirer. The Times, however, published an unverified and ultimately proven false accusation of scandal against John McCain. The bias is in what is an interesting story, and how well it has to be established before it is reported.

Coverage of the recent "tea party" demonstrations against liberal policies showed substantial bias. There were about 100,000 participants, but press coverage focused on the "small" turnout of a thousand people in rainy Washington DC, not a very conservative place. Coverage featured one or two mildly racist signs. By contrast, when anti-war rallies turn out a thousand people, they are covered as significant, and blatantly anti-American signs and speakers are ignored. http://www.newsmax.com...

Who believes that Hillary Clinton was to the left of Barack Obama? Ann Coulter favored Clinton over McCain, believing Sen. Clinton was to the right of McCain on foreign policy. http://www.advocate.com... I rest my case.

I pointed out that journalists are overwhelming liberal in their personal views, that the UCLA study proves that media management does not temper that bias, and that liberals believe that diversity is critical to avoiding bias in every area of endeavor except journalism. Con did not rebut.
Debate Round No. 2
Lt.Zubin

Con

With regards to your example from David Deming's testimony, there is no question that NPR has some noticeable leftist leanings, as do many news sources. You can find many examples of left wing bias if you look at certain sources.

However, I have a problem with you dismissing right-wing programs off as opinion programs and thus not relevant to this debate. I have defined the mainstream media to be "the news sources from which the majority of Americans get their news, including printed sources, Cable/TV News, Radio, and the Internet". A news source does not necessarily mean a self-proclaimed impartial reporting program, it is an outlet that addresses news stories and from which people extract information. I would accept the Daily Show with John Stewart as a news source in that it occasionally reports news-related information to its viewers, in addition to the opinions it presents. Even South Park, in the rare case where information about news, in contrast to quick and abstract references to politics in jokes, temporarily acts as a source of news. The O'Reilly Factor, which is a talk show, is also described as "the most-watched cable NEWS show in the USA" (capitalization mine). The Fox News Channel, which has both commentary news programs as well as programs that conform to your definition of "news source", is the most watched cable news channel in America. The Rush Limbaugh Show is also the radio program with the most listeners in America. A substantial portion of Americans get not only their opinions but also information from these sources. Perhaps in an ideal world, it would be otherwise, but in America now, we cannot expect our news sources to be unbiased. It is just that these biases run in a plethora of varieties, from the outbursts of Bill O'Reilly to the angry speeches of Keith Olbermann.

One more point about news sources: While you reject many "opinionated" sources such as The O'Reilly Factor and The Rush Limbaugh Show, you claim that there was a multitude of attacks on Sarah Palin in the media. In fact, the vast majority of these attacks come from sources you would reject as opinionated and thus not "news sources", such as blogs and Saturday Night Live.

You also make some claims that indicate selectivity on the part of your examination of media bias. For instance, you keep pointing to Jimmy Carter's portrayal in the media as wonderfully spiritual, yet fail to mention Ronald Reagan's positive coverage, who was also referred to as greatly spiritual. Also, as I demonstrated before, Bush received much more positive media coverage during the 2000 election. He was portrayed as someone who had found God and changed his life, as well as being sympathetic to the wishes of the populace, while Gore was portrayed as an out-of-touch elitist. This was not confined to fox news, as some of my examples are, but was a widespread phenomenon.

You cite coverage of the tea parties as an example of liberal bias in the media, but, again, it goes both ways. Fox news practically sponsored these events, over-exaggerating their occurrence and portraying them in a positive light (http://mediamatters.org...).

"John Edwards received favorable press coverage until his scandalous affair came to light".
Not only was Edwards, who displayed many anti-business sympathies, generally ignored during the debates despite his initial popularity in the poles, but when Edwards seemed to be beating Clinton after the Iowa primaries, the media pounced on his expensive haircut, seeking to render him as out of touch with the common people (http://www.paulloeb.org...).

"I pointed out that journalists are overwhelming liberal in their personal views, that the UCLA study proves that media management does not temper that bias, and that liberals believe that diversity is critical to avoiding bias in every area of endeavor except journalism. Con did not rebut."

As you might have read in my last post, I was running out of characters and was planning on rebutting some of your more pressing points later. The claim that journalists are overwhelmingly liberal is deeply flawed. "Conservative media watchdogs like the Media Research Center ( http://www.mediaresearch.org... ) place much emphasis on collecting survey evidence about the political views of the media. The definition of ‘liberal' being contentious and in itself highly politicised in the U.S., such collections of journalists' views appear selective and often seem to focus deliberately on issues like abortion and affirmative action" (http://www.allacademic.com...). Journalists are indeed quite liberal with regards to social issues because they live mostly in cites and thus, as Al Franken humorously puts it: "realize they know a gay person or two, and are, therefore, less frightened of them". In the same way, they are actually more economically conservative than the average voter simply because they reside in a higher income realm than the average voter.

But journalists don't decide what gets reported, they only write the stories. The management reserves the right to pull stories off and edit them, especially when they clash with a business interest (one famous example: http://www.primitivism.com...).

If the mainstream media has any large-scale, widespread bias, it is one towards making a profit. This is because the media is owned by large corporations that will not present stories against their interests because it would annoy the stockholders. That is why they want to pick winners in elections, and so on.

The outlets that you refer to as elements of the real mainstream media, namely, NBC, ABC, and so on, display some liberal tendencies, such as leaning to the left on social issues and issues like global warming. But the powerful and popular right-wing media, which I have argued to be part of the mainstream media through my definition, have a strong bias towards conservative issues that, if it does not overpower the liberal leanings of the other outlets, at least cancels them out.

The resolution is negated.
RoyLatham

Pro

In the previous rounds of the debate, academic studies showed that mainstream media news sources had a heavy liberal bias, with the UCLA study showing 18 or 20 to be left of center. Con argues that the conventional definition of "news source" used by UCLA should be broadened to include opinion programs, so that conservative talk radio and Fox News commentary can be included. In this round I will show that if that definition is adopted, the bias is still overwhelmingly liberal. For example, the viewership of the liberal-biased network evening news is by itself more than all of Fox News and conservative talk radio combined, and when everything is totaled there is more than three times as much liberal bias.

Here are the numbers:

The evening news programs on the three major networks have a combined total viewership of 20.3 million http://www.mediabistro.com... The three network's morning shows, which are produced by their news departments, total 12.3 million viewers. http://www.mediabistro.com...

Total circulation of the top 100 big-city newspapers is roughly 20 million http://en.wikipedia.org... From the UCLA study, we can reasonably estimate that about 90% have a liberal bias. Looking at the list of newspapers, only the New York Post (circulation 500K) stands out as obviously conservative. The Wall Street Journal, we know from the UCLA study, has liberal news reporting despite conservative editorial policies. So 18 million circulation is in the liberal bias column.

In prime time, Fox News has an average of about 2.3 million viewers. CNN and MSNBC total about 2 million http://www.stateofthemedia.org... The article does not give the number for their Headline News directly, but from the proportions watching specific shows that are given, a reasonable estimate is about 0.6 million.

Talk radio audiences are computed on a weekly basis, so Limbaugh's estimated audience of 14.25 million translates to 2.9 million daily. Hannity has about 2.7 million, Savage 1.7 million, and Ingraham 1.1 million. http://www.washingtonpost.com... Limbaugh sometimes claims 20 million, but that's only in peak weeks, not the averages. Talker's Magazine's list of hosts
http://talkers.com... shows that liberal talk radio programs equal conservative programs after the 15th position in audience size. For positions five through 15 audience size varies from about 1 million to about 0.7 million. Two programs have little political content. Figuring 0.85 million for ten programs, the total excess for all of conservative talk radio is 2.9 + 2.7 + 1.7 + 1.1 + 8.5 = 16 million.

The Daily Show has about 2 million nightly viewers and the Colbert Report 1.5 million. http://www.nofactzone.net... Letterman, featuring ridicule of conservative on virtually every program, has about 2 million viewers. Public Television has a mix of programming, outside of their official news programming, that is predominantly liberal. the total is probably around 2 million, based on scattered info on the PBS web site. The major networks are now featuring specials devoted to adulation of the Obama Administration, and there are a wide assortment of left-leaning entertainment programs like Saturday Night Live and South Park.

So for liberal media, the total viewership is about 20.3 + 12.3 + 18 + 2.6 + 2 + 1.5 + 2 + 2 = 60.1 million, plus uncounted additional numbers from network news specials, and entertainment like SNL and South Park. For Conservative media, the totals are 2 + 2.3 + 16 = 20.3 million. The liberal bias, based upon Con's expansive definition of "news sources" is about 3:1 over conservatives, not even counting all the liberal media entertainment bias.

On other issues raised in the debate:

1. O'Reilly's claim is that he has the highest rated show on the cable news channels, not that his show is a news program. The most read page in a newspaper might be the comics, that doesn't make the comics news.

2. The notions that Fox sponsored or "over-exaggerated" stories on the tea parties are false. Fox News took no part in funding or organizing the programs. Anti-war protests have 10% of the participation had more coverage on network news. Con cites mediamatters.com, an ultraleft media "watchdog." Media Matters has a fit that Fox has conservative commentary, but they never object to, say, the relentless hatred expressed nightly by Olbermann and Maddow. The one comment by a Fox News anchor that was cited was an accurate characterization of the protests.

3. Con provided no objective support for his negative contention that if Limbaugh et al where counted and compared to the liberal media broadly construed, that there would be a balance. His unsupported assertion is not true.

4. I argued that liberals claim that diversity is required for balance in every area area of intellectual endeavor other than news, and thus we should expect bias to result from journalists being overwhelming liberal. Con made no rebuttal.

5. Only the far left viewed the 2000 election as about liberal versus conservative issues. Bush ran as a "compassionate conservative" and followed through by expanding entitlements at a rate greater than had Clinton. There were few foreign policy issues as both Parties were content with the post-Cold-War peace dividend. Terrorism had not emerged as an issue, and Bush was arguably centrist based on his past record. Gore was penalized by the Clinton scandals (no doubt unfairly) and by his transcending boredom (no doubt fairly). Even so, the 56% negative stories for Gore barely edged the 49% for Bush. Liberal journalists did not much like either candidate.

6. Reagan was not an evangelical, rarely attended church, and mentioned religion less than Clinton. It is not true as he was viewed as "spiritual." Born-again Carter is the apt comparison to Palin.

7. Perhaps as Con claims, more trashing of Palin came from entertainment shows that news broadcasts. Nonetheless the press coverage was grossly biased, ignoring Biden's gaffes and playing up Palin's. If entertainment is counted, the liberal bias is still three to one.

8. It's far more telling that rumors of John Edward's scandal were ignored by the mainstream media than that his expensive haircuts were featured. In contrast, The Times published false rumors of a McCain scandal.

No matter whether the UCLA definition of mainstream media news is used, or Con's broad definition of news sources, the liberal bias is overwhelming.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 3
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
mon, Nonsense. At the level at which journalism is generally practiced, it requires little skill. It's easy to be unbiased if one wants to. Conservatives tend go into business rather than journalism.
Posted by mongoosecake 6 years ago
mongoosecake
This was a bad topic to argue con on. Most journalists are liberal because conservatives aren't usually competent enough to take up the profession. Journalism is a lot harder than it looks.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Shttokah, So you agree there is media bias, but claim that no one ought to complain about it? Are you willing to defend that position in a debate?
Posted by Shtookah 6 years ago
Shtookah
yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh right..... "Liberal media bias" eeeeeaassssy teabaggers nobodys treading on you
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Mighty, You might want to point to Barry Goldwater as being one of the first advocates for gays in the military.

I don't have a problem with advocacy in media. That's the purpose of free speech. The problem is pushing an agent while pretending it is impartial news.
Posted by mightymisfit 7 years ago
mightymisfit
as a homo, i feel glad i can turn on tv and rely on my left-wing controled media for support...its true for the most part...but we need to reach the midwest, there are more minds we need to capture
Posted by Conor 7 years ago
Conor
Pro did a good job, but he was, after all, brutally massacred.
Posted by Lt.Zubin 7 years ago
Lt.Zubin
I admit, extremely well-played.
Posted by JBlake 7 years ago
JBlake
Argument and sources to Pro. Conduct and spelling/grammar tie.
Posted by fresnoinvasion 7 years ago
fresnoinvasion
Clear win for pro. All 7 of my votes go to him.
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Lt.Zubin 7 years ago
Lt.Zubin
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Vote Placed by magpie 7 years ago
magpie
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Vote Placed by mongoose 7 years ago
mongoose
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
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Vote Placed by charles15 7 years ago
charles15
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Vote Placed by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
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Vote Placed by Conor 7 years ago
Conor
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Vote Placed by InquireTruth 7 years ago
InquireTruth
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Vote Placed by JBlake 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by ilovgoogle 7 years ago
ilovgoogle
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