NY Times’ Nicholas Kristof Acknowledges Media Bias

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on December 3, 2008

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below (from Clay Waters's post at timeswatch.org on 11/4/08).
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

Nicholas Kristof, the…liberal columnist for the [NY] Times, [in] an Election Day post at his nytimes.com blog… Surprisingly… [agrees that the media is biased against conservatives]:

Conservatives are utterly convinced that the mainstream news organizations have been deeply unfair to the Republican ticket, and they have some points they can cite as evidence. For example, the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that there were twice as many favorable Obama stories after the convention as favorable McCain ones. Conversely, twice as many McCain stories were negative. The Center for Media and Public Affairs found that network TV coverage of Obama was 65 percent positive, compared to 31 percent positive for McCain. As Politico.com put it: “in the closing weeks of this election, John McCain and Sarah Palin are getting hosed in the press.” Indeed, one of the editors of Politico.com received a scolding note about bias from his own mother.

Then there’s also the well-known fact that national reporters for major news organizations are disproportionately likely to vote Democratic. Slate.com polled its staff and found that Barack Obama won 55 votes, and John McCain 1. …

……….

[Mr. Kristof] concluded by saying that the liberal lean of reporters wasn’t a major problem in explicitly political stories, but when it came to social issues, he wasn’t sure the media was “that even-handed.”

Lately we’ve been pursuing George W. Bush because he’s in power, but if Obama wins then he’ll be the object of tough scrutiny even by journalists who share much of his world view. But on the social issues — gun control, abortion, gay marriage, religion — I’m not sure we’re that even-handed. The fact is that there are plenty of political conservatives in the Northeast, for example, but not nearly so many social conservatives. Journalists move easily in the world of business Republicans, less easily in the world of Evangelical Republicans. So that makes it easier to slip into caricaturing social conservatives at times, and we should try harder to avoid it.

Kristof even praised former Public Editor Dan Okrent’s “brave and wise” piece that began:

“Is the Times a liberal newspaper? OF course it is.”

(Read Clay Water’s entire post at timeswatch.org.)

 


Questions

1. Are you surprised that liberal NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff acknowledges that journalists share the same (liberal) worldview as president-elect Obama and have been unfair to conservatives?  Explain your answer.

2. Do you agree with Mr. Kristoff that “on the social issues — gun control, abortion, gay marriage, religion — I’m not sure we (the media) are that even-handed?”  Explain your answer.


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1. and 2.  OPINION QUESTIONS. Answers vary.