The Instigator
BeatTheDevil89
Pro (for)
Winning
38 Points
The Contender
ILoveCheese
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

The media isn't liberal

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/18/2008 Category: News
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,273 times Debate No: 4438
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (12)

 

BeatTheDevil89

Pro

Media will be all forms of print (newspapers, magazines, etc), TV news, radio, and the internet.

You all should know the definitions of liberal and conservative.

Anyway along with the opening:

I would argue that the media isn't liberal. In this I contend that their is a wide range of philosophies of reporters and news stations but the media IS NOT overhelmingly liberal. Conservatives have just said "the liberal media" so many times without any evidence that it has become a fact.

A great quote that I have come to love from the 1962 movie "The man who shot liberty valance."

A man was credited for shooting this notorious outlaw, Liberty Valance, but he never really shot him. This brought the man fame and many years later (in the movie) he was telling his biographer the true story, and admits he didn't shoot the outlaw, the biographer rips up his notes and walks out saying,

"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend"

We are printing the legend.

As i said before, the media is not liberal, are there liberal outlets, of course. But are there only liberal ones? What about moderate outlets, or conservative outlets? Are they non-existant? They must be, the liberal media isn't bashing itself for being liberal. The only radio station that gets any kind of real listenership is "Air America" which cannot compete with Rush, Hannity, O'reily, Imus, and the scores of religious stations. TV news has a slightly more even playing ground. On the conservative side you have Fox, MSNBC on the liberal, and CNN somewhere in the middle. There are so many news papers and magazines that it isn't possible not to find a "non-liberal" source. Sometimes it isn't the media outlet either, to quote Geoffrey Lean "There just isn't enough ideology in the average reporter to fill a thimble." So depending on the story, it could be bad reporting, the way the reader takes it, or the fact that it even shows the liberal viewpoint to contrast can get conservatives screaming about the "liberal media". To quote Paul Simon from the Boxer "Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." The media isn't liberal, thats just a legend that's been printed as fact.
ILoveCheese

Con

Um, i'de love to debate this but I really don't have time now. I thought there would be more time to post... Are they all 3 hours between posts?
Debate Round No. 1
BeatTheDevil89

Pro

Um...it's three days not three hours.

First a correction, the quote I used about journalists and ideology was really by David Broder, sorry.

Anyway – to extend on my point about "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

Did George Washington ever chop down that cherry tree?
Did Paul Revere ride almost 200 miles to warn about the red coats?
Did Columbus sail to America to try and prove the world was flat?

The answer to all of these questions is no. The cherry tree story is just a story so people would like George Washington more; Paul Revere did ride, but only 19 miles. The real person described in Longfellow's epic poem "Come children and you shall hear, about the midnight ride of Paul Revere" was Israel Bissell, but Paul's name was better for the story. Finally, Aristotle discovered that the world was flat, long before Columbus. So why do we know these stories when they aren't true, because the legend is a better story than the fact. Same goes for the so called liberal media, it's a better story because people just love to bash liberals.

Source: Robert Whul, history 101 (hilarious and highly recommended)

Patrick Buchanan, one of the most conservative pundits and presidential candidates this half of the twentieth century, said he had balanced coverage of his campaign. He said, "I've gotten balanced coverage and broad coverage – all we could have asked for. For heaven's sake, we kid about the liberal media but every Republican on earth does that."

William Kristol - said, "I admit it. The liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures."

About the books by Ann Coulter about liberals and the media, I have just one thing to say. Not only were her books written poorly but also she doesn't seem to have a realistic view of things. She was hired in 1996 by MSNBC with almost no journalistic experience, but she was soon fired after screaming to a disabled Vietnam veteran "People like you caused us to lose the war." In another piece of hers after 9/11, she wrote about Arab nations "we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity." The fact people like this are hired by news agencies to balance "the liberal bias" just goes to show that there is no bias. But she was nevertheless invited on many television news programs such as Hardball, Today, and Crossfire.

About the book Bias – roughly 72 out of 232 pages are devoted to personal attacks. The remaining pages are filled with assertions like "anyone to the right of Lenin is a right winger in the eyes of the media."

Source: What Liberal Media by Eric Alterman

Lets look at who owns the media, corporations. Corporations (which are overwhelmingly conservative) constantly accuse the media of "corporate censorship." These corporations are only interested in one thing, profit. So do they report the story correctly or do they report whatever they need to get their profit? Remember there is a difference between bias and just bad reporting.

Well that's enough for now...your turn, you've got three DAYS.
ILoveCheese

Con

Well 3 days is more like it!

If I understand your argument correctly, you make one basic points:

1. Conservatives say the media is liberal, but it really isn't. This makes people think the media is liberal.

You justify this point by pointing to 'legends', testimonials by conservatives and of course we need to drum up the evil corporations.

On the point of corporations, I agree in one aspect: corporations are profit maximizing organizations. I disagree that one can make a clear distinction between 'bad reporting' and 'politically biased reporting'. Politically biased reporting by definition is not 'fair'. Even with this, there is a place for biased reporting. I'm not convinced that the history of reporting has proven a consistent application of a 'fairness doctrine'. It may in fact be too much of a burden to put on reporters to get quality reporting. Advesarial reporting may be better in getting information diseminated in a form that people can make rational decisions.

This aspect of the debate, the form of media, brings us to a question of what you define as media. In print, tv and public news outlets, I think that there is something to be said for a liberal media bias. Although, I think that when you get to the blogs, one finds much more in depth analysis and a strong libertarian and conservative bent. This I think is due to the fact that the traditional media outlets are in fact liberal and populated by liberals.

To counter your quotes, I point you to: http://www.mediaresearch.org......

"The elephant in the newsroom is our narrowness. Too often, we wear liberalism on our sleeve and are intolerant of other lifestyles and opinions....We're not very subtle about it at this paper: If you work here, you must be one of us. You must be liberal, progressive, a Democrat. I've been in communal gatherings in The Post, watching election returns, and have been flabbergasted to see my colleagues cheer unabashedly for the Democrats."
— Washington Post "Book World" editor Marie Arana in a contribution to the Post's "daily in-house electronic critiques," as quoted by Post media reporter Howard Kurtz in an October 3, 2005 article.

"There is, Hugh, I agree with you, a deep anti-military bias in the media. One that begins from the premise that the military must be lying, and that American projection of power around the world must be wrong. I think that that is a hangover from Vietnam, and I think it's very dangerous. That's different from the media doing it's job of challenging the exercise of power without fear or favor."
— ABC News White House correspondent Terry Moran talking with Los Angeles-based national radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, May 17, 2005.

"I worked for the New York Times for 25 years. I could probably count on one hand, in the Washington bureau of the New York Times, people who would describe themselves as people of faith....I think one of the real built-in biases in the media is towards secularism....You want diversity in the newsroom, not because of some quota, but because you have to have diversity to cover the story well and cover all aspects of a society. And you don't have religious people making the decisions about where coverage is focused. And I think that's one of the faults."
— Former New York Times reporter Steve Roberts, now a journalism professor at George Washington University, on CNN's Reliable Sources, March 27, 2005.

"Personally, I have a great affection for CBS News....But I stopped watching it some time ago. The unremitting liberal orientation finally became too much for me. I still check in, but less and less frequently. I increasingly drift to NBC News and Fox and MSNBC."
— Former CBS News President Van Gordon Sauter in an op-ed published January 13, 2005 in the Los Angeles Times.

etc. etc. etc.

And here are the people doing the fine reporting:

http://www.mediaresearch.org...

* Nearly half of the journalists surveyed agreed that "the very structure of our society causes people to feel alienated," while the authors found "five out of six believe our legal system mainly favors the wealthy."

* 30 percent disagreed that "private enterprise is fair to workers;" 28 percent agreed that "all political systems are repressive."

* 54 percent did not regard adultery as wrong, compared to only 15 percent who regarded it as wrong.

* "Ninety percent agree that a woman has the right to decide for herself whether to have an abortion; 79 percent agree strongly with this pro-choice position."

* Majorities of journalists agreed with the statements: "U.S. exploits Third World, causes poverty" (56%) and "U.S. use of resources immoral" (57%). Three-fourths disagreed that the "West had helped Third World."

What I think is clear is that the traditional media hold liberal beliefs. I also think that it seeps into their reporting.

I agree though with your quote of it not having much of an impact. I think that people generally have their beliefs reinforced and are not swayed.

Fox has done very well in providing fair and balanced reporting :D I mention this because for once, liberals can now see the overt and not so overt biases that conservatives have been seeing for sometime. The fact there is a market for their service, reinforces my view that the traditional media is too liberal.
Debate Round No. 2
BeatTheDevil89

Pro

To quote Eric Alterman's "What Liberal Media?" "Given the success of Fox news, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, New York Post, American Spectator, Weekly Standard, New York Sun, National Review, Commentary and so on, no sensible person can dispute the existance of the ‘conservative' media."

Another quote I found: Years ago, Republican party chair Rich Bond explained that conservatives' frequent denunciations of "liberal bias" in the media were part of "a strategy" (Washington Post, 8/20/92).

As mentioned above, there is a liberal media and there is a conservative media and some in between. But I stick by my quote "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." The legend of the liberal media as become in everyone's mind a fact. The news outlets in order to counter this have sacrificed un-biased views with conservative ones. New York magazine hired Tucker Carlson as its only national correspondent, The New Yorker hired for its two Washington correspondents Michael Kelly and Joe Klein, the Clinton hater and the neo con, respectively. Even so called bastions of liberalism have conservative writers for them. The New Republic's editor was once Michael Kelly, and The Nation allowed Christopher Hitchens and Alexander Cockburn write articles for them. Vanity Fair recently published a scathing article on Bill Clinton.

How about the biggest "liberal media" outlet of them all, the New York Times. To remind everyone of your quote "We're not very subtle about it at this paper: If you work here, you must be one of us" from a reporter of the Washington Post which isn't as big an enemy to the conservative media, The New York Times features articles from the Nixonite William Starfire, Bill Keller, Howell Raines one of Bill Clinton's biggest critics, Bill Stein who recently directed a movie (Expelled I think) which was done so poorly that it persuaded no one to its anti-science position and was considered by some as satire because it was so bad.

But what about what America thinks, a Gallup poll in September 2002 showed 47% of Americans believed the media was too liberal (a smaller percentage than those who voted for Bush Jr.), 13% believed the media was conservative, and 40% said it was balanced. That means the majority doesn't believe that it is liberal.

Second, I hate when they say Fox is "Fair and Balanced." No one can name names of liberal reporters or correspondents on Fox like one could name conservatives at the New York Times as I did above. Fox news even admits they have a bias.

Here is what Norvell fessed up to in the May 20 Wall Street Journal Europe:
Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly. And those who hate us can take solace in the fact that they aren't subsidizing Bill's bombast; we payers of the BBC license fee don't enjoy that peace of mind.
Fox News is, after all, a private channel and our presenters are quite open about where they stand on particular stories. That's our appeal. People watch us because they know what they are getting. The Beeb's institutionalized leftism would be easier to tolerate if the corporation was a little more honest about it.
Source: http://www.slate.com...

About Faux's reporting, just follow this link.
http://thinkprogress.org...

This is a study by the Pew Research Center showing Fox news as having the second worst in terms in knowledgeable viewers. Maybe because they believe Saddam still had WMDs, or that Obama is a Muslim.

After all, how did the media get the label "liberal" without a conservative media to label it as such?

To finish, my opponent argues my points but doesn't extend any of his. Therefore, I find it debatable as to whether CON has a case. But for now, I rest mine.
ILoveCheese

Con

"But I stick by my quote "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

"But what about what America thinks, a Gallup poll in September 2002 showed 47% of Americans believed the media was too liberal "

You state these two points. It is logically inconsistent to refer to a source that you are attempting to discredit. If people are skewed due to the 'legend', it would not be consistent to then use a poll that asks for their opinion on the issue. While I understand you may believe you may be safe to do so because an out right majority does not think there is a liberal bias, it is not to say that the bias does not exist nor do the results (more think there is a bias left than right) augment your argument.

Polls are extremely difficult to make policy from. Consumer sentiment in the economic realm is almost useless as a gauge of consumer behavior. In this case, I do not know whether or not this poll is accurate. Here is some other data:

http://www.gargaro.com...

"The following are the results of a poll (December, 1996) conducted by Louis Harris and Associates for the nonpartisan Center for Media and Public Affairs:

1) most Americans think that the media are biased. Almost half (49%) think that the media usually don't "get the facts straight."

2) some two-thirds believe the media don't "deal fairly with all sides" in social and political reporting.

3) almost three-fourths of Americans see a "fair amount" or "great deal" of political bias in the news. And by more than a 2-to-1 ratio, poll resondents said that bias is liberal rather than conservative (43%-19%).

4) more than 60% of Americans surveyed prefer the media to "simply report the facts" and not "weigh the facts and offer suggestions about how to solve problems." This is a sharp break from ABC News' motto "News With Solutions."

5) some 65% do not believe that "journalists should point out what they believe are inaccuracies and distortions in the statements of public figures."

6) nearly 60% believe the news media have "too much influence."

7) some 47% think journalists have values different from their own. "

"Most reporters aren't liberal or biased - right?
Let's see....
- 9 white house correspondents survey voted for Clinton in 1992, while 2 voted for Bush
- 12 voted for Dukakis in 1988 - one for Bush
- 10 voted for Mondale in 1984 - zero for Reagan
- 8 voted for Jimmy Carter in 1980 - 2 for Reagan
Of course, none of these reporters could be biased at all in their reporting.......
Source: US News and World Report White House Reporter Kenneth Walsh Another survey...
Of the 1400 members of the national media who were surveyed:

* 44% considered themselves Democrats
* 16% Repubs
* 34% independents
* 89% voted for Clinton in 1992
* 7% voted for Bush in 1992

Freedom Forum sponsored poll, 1992 "

Here are some excerpts from wiki:

"The academic study cited most frequently by critics of a "liberal media bias" in American journalism is The Media Elite,* a 1986 book co-authored by political scientists Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman, and Linda Lichter. They surveyed journalists at national media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and the broadcast networks. The survey found that most of these journalists were Democratic voters whose attitudes were well to the left of the general public on a variety of topics, including such hot-button social issues such as abortion, affirmative action, and gay rights. Then they compared journalists' attitudes to their coverage of controversial issues such as the safety of nuclear power, school busing to promote racial integration, and the energy crisis of the 1970s.

Many of the positions in the preceding study are supported by a 2002 study by Jim A. Kuypers: Press Bias and Politics: How the Media Frame Controversial Issues. In this study of 116 mainstream US papers (including The New York Times, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle), Kuypers found that the mainstream print press in America operate within a narrow range of liberal beliefs.

Along the same lines, David Baron of Stanford GSB presents a game-theoretic model of mass media behaviour in which, given that the pool of journalists systematically leans towards the left or the right, mass media outlets maximise their profits by providing content that is biased in the same direction.[6] They can do so, because it is cheaper to hire journalists that write stories which are consistent with their political position. A concurrent theory would be that supply and demand would cause media to attain a neutral balance because consumers would of course gravitate towards the media they agreed with. This argument fails in considering the imbalance in self-reported political allegiances by journalists themselves, that distort any market analogy as regards offer: (...) Indeed, in 1982, 85 percent of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism students identified themselves as liberal, versus 11 percent conservative" (Lichter, Rothman, and Lichter 1986: 48), quoted in Sutter, 2001.[7]

As mentioned above, Tim Groseclose of UCLA and Jeff Milyo of the University of Missouri at Columbia[8] use think tank quotes, in order to estimate the relative position of mass media outlets in the political spectrum. The idea is to trace out which think tanks are quoted by various mass media outlets within news stories, and to match these think tanks with the political position of members of the U.S. Congress who quote them in a non-negative way. Using this procedure, Groseclose and Milyo obtain the stark result that all sampled news providers -except Fox News' Special Report and the Washington Times- are located to the left of the average Congress member, i.e. there are signs of a liberal bias in the US news media.

The economics empirical literature on mass media bias mainly focuses on the United States.

Steve Ansolabehere, Rebecca Lessem and Jim Snyder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyze the political orientation of endorsements by U.S. newspapers.[13] They find an upward trend in the average propensity to endorse a candidate, and in particular an incumbent one. There are also some changes in the average ideological slant of endorsements: while in the 40s and in the 50s there was a clear advantage to Republican candidates, this advantage continuously eroded in subsequent decades, to the extent that in the 90s the authors find a slight Democratic lead in the average endorsement choice.

John Lott and Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute study the coverage of economic news by looking at a panel of 389 U.S. newspapers from 1991 to 2004, and from 1985 to 2004 for a subsample comprising the top 10 newspapers and the Associated Press.[14] For each release of official data about a set of economic indicators, the authors analyze how newspapers decide to report on them, as reflected by the tone of the related headlines. The idea is to check whether newspapers display some kind of partisan bias, by giving more positive or negative coverage to the same economic figure, as a function of the political affiliation of the incumbent President. Controlling for the economic data being released, the authors find that there are between 9.6 and 14.7 percent fewer positive stories when the incumbent President is a Republican.

Riccardo Puglisi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looks at the editorial choices of the New York Times from 1946 to 1997.[15] He finds that the Times displays Democratic partisanship, with some watchdog aspects.

etc. etc. etc.

Peoples perceptions seem to be validated by the academic research into this topic.

The reporters are liberal and so is their reporting. *shrug* just the way it is :D
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by bullslapper 8 years ago
bullslapper
I have been both a liberal and now a independent Conservative. Its the mainstream news that is plainly biased
not all news. Why is this so important because most people
only watch it and then get a one sided viewpoint of what is happening.
Posted by ILoveCheese 8 years ago
ILoveCheese
Why are you silly people voting for my opponent? He mentions no studies, I point to at least 6!

*sad panda*
Posted by ILoveCheese 8 years ago
ILoveCheese
Doh! I'll figure this out eventually...
Posted by ILoveCheese 8 years ago
ILoveCheese
Well 3 days is more like it!

If I understand your argument correctly, you make one basic points:

1. Conservatives say the media is liberal, but it really isn't. This makes people think the media is liberal.

You justify this point by pointing to 'legends', testimonials by conservatives and of course we need to drum up the evil corporations.

On the point of corporations, I agree in one aspect: corporations are profit maximizing organizations. I disagree that one can make a clear distinction between 'bad reporting' and 'politically biased reporting'. Politically biased reporting by definition is not 'fair'. Even with this, there is a place for biased reporting. I'm not convinced that the history of reporting has proven a consistent application of a 'fairness doctrine'. It may in fact be too much of a burden to put on reporters to get quality reporting. Advesarial reporting may be better in getting information diseminated in a form that people can make rational decisions.

This aspect of the debate, the form of media, brings us to a question of what you define as media. In print, tv and public news outlets, I think that there is something to be said for a liberal media bias. Although, I think that when you get to the blogs, one finds much more in depth analysis and a strong libertarian and conservative bent. This I think is due to the fact that the traditional media outlets are in fact liberal and populated by liberals.

To counter your quotes, I point you to: http://www.mediaresearch.org...

"The elephant in the newsroom is our narrowness. Too often, we wear liberalism on our sleeve and are intolerant of other lifestyles and opinions...."

There are a ton of cherries in there but i'm out of space.
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
So you're saying The Onion is conservative?
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