[lit-ideas] Re: The nature of Media Bias

  • From: Robert.Paul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Robert Paul)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: 11 Dec 2004 23:03:29 PST

Let me try to clear up one or two things.

Lawrence writes: 'As to the noted statistics being a "Clever statistical
analysis" of The Weekly Standard, that is rather preposterous.' 

*I'm going to understand this as meaning that Lawrence believes I referred to 'a
clever statistical analysis' on the part of the Weekly Standard (and not to a
clever statistical analysis of that publication). I accept the point that the
study was done earlier and was not sponsored but only reported by them. But is
there any doubt about who the author of the following is?

'The study takes  the well known rating system issued by the ADA, Americans for
Democratic Action and develops a clever statistical technique to measure
conservative or liberal bias in the news coverage of major U.S. television
and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and the internet.'

*My point was that somebody sees this as a 'clever statistical technique.' And
the plain fact would seem to be that he is Robert Barro, of the Weekly Standard.

*When Lawrence says that he supposes he '[does] have a problem with using the
term "liberal"],' he may have forgotten an earlier exchange between us on a
former list. Lawrence had taken to referring to those on the left not simply as
liberals but as Marxist-liberals. When I suggested that not only was this
epithet insulting to many on that list (myself included), he agreed to drop the
'Marxist.' I had this in mind when I suggested that he seemed to have difficulty
with the word 'liberal' used in some unqualified sense. (What Noam Chomsky calls
himself is irrelevant to anything that is at issue here.)

*What is importantly at issue here is not just the accuracy or methodology of
this 'clever statistical technique,' but how anyone could assess either without
knowing what the items on this fanciful ADA list _are_; and how they are
weighted. (Is removing the prairie hen from the endangered species list as
significant as occupying Iraq, e.g.?)  So, I should think that far from its
making no difference--as Lawrence suggests--knowing what things have been
surveyed makes all the difference in the world. That is, if one wants to discuss
this project. 

I'm happy to welcome Lawrence to this list and should have said so before.

Robert Paul
Reed College

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