Jul 1 1998

From the Top

What Are the Politics of Network Bosses?

While David Croteau’s study demonstrates that Washington journalists are to the right of the general public on many economic issues, it needs to be stressed that the personal views of news reporters do not translate directly into the slant of news coverage. Reporters have editors or producers who play a key role in how the news is presented; these editors and producers in turn are overseen by higher-up news executives, part of a hierarchy that eventually culminates in the chief executive officer of the corporation that owns the news outlet. But those who specialize in scrutinizing the private opinions and […]

Jul 1 1998

Field Guide to TV’s Lukewarm Liberals

How to spot centrist pundits served up as the "left"

Pundit-watchers never tire of the sport of spotting establishment, status quo commentators posing in their none-too-convincing camouflage as representatives of the left. While right-winged pundits cackle in full-throated yelps and are frequently leaders of their flocks, the specimens that serve as their competition often have their left wing clipped, teeter precariously on the fence and sing out of both sides of their mouths. For those new to the joys of spotting TV’s tepid liberals, here’s a brief guide to some members of this plentiful species. (Spotting actual left-winged pundits in mainstream media is too difficult to be enjoyable for most […]

Jul 1 1998

Meet the Myth-Makers

Right-Wing Media Groups Provide Ammo for "Liberal Media" Claims

While the main proponents of the liberal media myth are conservative commentators and talkshow hosts (who themselves are the dominant opinion voices in the media), the ammunition for such arguments usually comes from one of three well-funded groups. Two of the groups–Accuracy In Media (AIM) and the Media Research Center (MRC)–are openly conservative, while the Center for Media & Public Affairs (CMPA) presents itself as an objective, nonpartisan research group. AIM does relatively little research, while the plentiful “research” produced by the other two groups is frequently marred by methodological flaws or unsupportable assumptions. Despite the weak foundations of their […]

Jul 1 1998

Doublethink on the Editorial Page

Editorials preach compassion, push austerity

If a newspaper has a political agenda, presumably it would be most visible on its editorial page. Examination of editorials in some of the most prominent dailies–the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today–on a range of economic and social issues shows that they tend to articulate the same centrist-to-right perspective that informs the rest of their reporting, preaching the social austerity and “free trade” policies popular with corporate elites and downplaying questions of systemic injustice and inequality not on the official agenda. The New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times and USA Today […]

Jun 1 1998

Examining the ‘Liberal Media’ Claim

Journalists' Views on Politics, Economic Policy and Media Coverage

[See the Extra! magazine report on this study: Challenging the “Liberal Media” Claim: On economics, journalists’ private views are to the right of public (July/August 1998) by David Croteau—Adobe reader required.] Executive Summary The conservative critique of the news media rests on two general propositions: (1) journalists’ views are to the left of the public, and (2) journalists frame news content in a way that accentuates these left perspectives. Previous research has revealed persuasive evidence against the latter claim, but the validity of the former claim has often been taken for granted. This research project examined the supposed left orientation […]