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

  • From: Judy Evans <judithevans001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 08:31:27 +0000

Sunday, December 12, 2004, 6:06:31 AM, Lawrence Helm wrote:

LH> Note: the person who wrote the article for TWS, Robert Barro, is a Prof=
LH> from Harvard who doesn=92t work for TWS.  Here is the same author writi=
ng a
LH> similar article for Business Week:

Here's the Barro Business Week piece.  It's no basis on which to assess the=
 Groseclose/Milyo paper. =20

The Liberal Media: It's No Myth =0B=0BMany people think the mainstream medi=
a have a liberal bias. Media spokesmen, however, usually deny such claims. =
So who's right? Is there a left-wing bias, or has the right wing conspired =
not only to influence the media but also to create a false image of unfairn=
ess? Some scientific evidence is available in a continuing study, A Measure=
 of Media Bias, by Tim Groseclose of the University of California at Los An=
geles and Jeff Milyo of the University of Chicago, presented last March at =
Stanford University's Workshop on the Media & Economic Performance. These r=
esearchers set up an objective measure of bias in U.S. television networks,=
 newspapers, and magazines. The main finding is that the liberal inclinatio=
n is pronounced. Although Fox News emerges as conservative, it is not nearl=
y as far to the right as many outlets are to the left.=20

LH> Here is the entire Gosclose-Milyo analysis s it was published in Septem=
LH> 2003:

I can't see where it was published -- it's simply a .doc or .html -- I quot=
e their account of their method:
To compute our measure, we count the times that a media outlet cites variou=
s think tanks. We compare this with the times that members of Congress cite=
 the same think tanks in their speeches on the floor of the House and Senat=
e. By comparing the citation patterns we can construct an ADA score for eac=
h media outlet.=20
and their further explanation

As a simplified example, imagine that there were only two think tanks, one =
liberal and one conservative. Suppose that the New York Times cited the lib=
eral think tank twice as often as the conservative one. Our method asks: Wh=
at is the estimated ADA score of a member of Congress who exhibits the same=
 frequency (2:1) in his or her speeches? This is the score that our method =
would assign to the New York Times.=20
and their
A feature of our method is that it does not require us to make a subjective=
 assessment of how liberal or conservative a think tank is. That is, for in=
stance, we do we need to read policy reports of the think tank or analyze i=
ts position on various issues to determine its ideology. Instead, we simply=
 observe the ADA scores of the members of Congress who cite the think tank.=
 This feature is important, since an active controversy exists whether, e.g=
., the Brookings Institution or the RAND Corporation is moderate, left-wing=
, or right-wing.=20

LH>The following is Milyo responding to a criticism of the analysis:

I've read the critique -- it's at


LH> Here is a Pew Research Center Analysis on the much the same subject:

it's about the media and partisanship, yes, but doesn't make the point/s th=
at are in Groseclose/Milyo -- it's about views of the media -- but it's wor=
th looking at it.
LH>Here is an NCPA Analysis on the same subject.

This is largely a summary of Groseclose/Milyo.

Tim Groseclose is an Associate Professor of Political Economy at Stanford's=
 Business School.  He does public choice stuff. Jeffrey Milyo's an Assistan=
t Professor in Public Policy Studies at Chicago, he's public policy/politic=
al economy. I think he, too, is a public choice person. IOW neither is an e=
xpert on the mass media.

 Judy Evans, Cardiff, UK  =20

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