Friday, September 5, 2008

UCLA Social Scientists Find Significant Liberal Bias in Nearly All Major Media Outlets

A UCLA study that "is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly" found that "there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of [the major media outlets] lean to the left" (Sullivan, 2005).

Before you react, read to the end of the article cited.

UPDATE: I found the study itself. If you or your school isn't subscribed to the MIT Press Quarterly Journal of Economics, you have to pay $10 to download it. But the abstract is free:
We measure media bias by estimating ideological scores for several major media outlets. To compute this, we count the times that a particular media outlet cites various think tanks and policy groups, and then compare this with the times that members of Congress cite the same groups. Our results show a strong liberal bias: all of the news outlets we examine, except Fox News' Special Report and the Washington Times, received scores to the left of the average member of Congress. Consistent with claims made by conservative critics, CBS Evening News and the New York Times received scores far to the left of center. The most centrist media outlets were PBS News Hour, CNN's Newsnight, and ABC's Good Morning America; among print outlets, USA Today was closest to the center. All of our findings refer strictly to news content; that is, we exclude editorials, letters, and the like.

-(MIT Press Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 2005)


  1. After examination of this study, I no longer see it as useful. The methodology for establishing "bias" is highly suspect. By "bias" the study only means to report the balance of external citations. So Matt Drudge's report, though he is clearly conservative, registers as being left of center, because he cites liberal sources slightly more often than he cites conservative ones. The study does not seem to account for any distinctions between reasons of citation. So a media outlet could cite the ACLU and rail against them, and earn a liberal point in UCLA's study. This does not seem to accurately reflect what most people mean by "liberal bias". The study is therefore uninteresting at best, and misleading at worst.

  2. Flip-flopper. I know the liberal media paid you off to keep your trap shut.

  3. I think you should give your tentative dismissal of the validity of this study the same placing on your blog as the initial write-up. I think that kind of thing is important. Oh, yeah, I was going to write my problems with its validity as a comment. I forgot. Sorry.


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