Following are some random examples of media bias - from Medicare, to abortion, to TV commentators. I don't have the time to post all the information I find, and I don't update this page very much anymore, so please make sure to check out The Media Research Center and The Media Bias Web Site for a detailed look at media bias
Newt Gingrich's $400,000 book deal while he was in Congress caused Media outrage! Senator Hillary Rodham's $8 million book deal elicited media praise! [See related article]
The media and abortion....
On April 14, 1999, 60 Minutes presented a piece on Michael Bray, and anti-abortion activist who condones violence. Once again, the media did a good job of giving the impression that most pro-lifers condone such actions, when in fact, they do not. Read Jen Roth's letter to 60 Minutes about this - and Jen's a liberal!
Hitting a New Low in Bias an article by Nancy Myers
My local newspaper, the Courier Post, reported in 1992, the abortion related activities occurring on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. On that day, 70,000 pro-lifers marched in Washington. 150 pro-lifers marched in Trenton. 25 pro-choicers, also in NJ, held a candlelight vigil. And the picture shown? Was it the 70,000 people in Washington? The 150 in Trenton? No. There was a huge picture of the 25 pro-choicers and a pretty extensive story - or an attempt to create a story about the small gathering. No pictures or extensive coverage was given to the 70,000 pro-lifers in Wash or the 150 in Trenton. Can anyone imagine the reverse situation ever occurring? I think not.
February 11, 1999 - Tinky Winky - the Gay Teletubby?
Dan Quayle Vs. Al Gore
Remember the media blitz surrounding Dan Quayle's misspelling of the word potato? Well, Al Gore visited Minneapolis Minnesota on October 12, 1998 and raised several hundred thousand dollars for DFL gubernatorial nominee Hubert Humphrey III and two Democratic congressmen. Too bad he forgot which state he was in. Gore misspoke when he tried to summarize their commitment to education. "They will be the education team that Missouri needs to move into the 21st century," he said. The Minneapolis Star Tribune did mention this story - once. When Dan Quayle misspelled the word potato it was mentioned in this paper over a dozen times in the following 30 days.
The Paula Jones Case...
In a nutshell, one can see the bias here if one looks at how the media treated Anita Hill and how Paula Jones is treated. One example:
Appearing on MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams on April 1, 1998, Newsweek's resident "conventional wisdom" creator Jonathan Alter delivered his spin on the fallout of the Jones dismissal. The MRC's Tim Graham took down his comments and found they offered quite a contrast to how Alter assessed Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas in 1991.
On Jones, Alter declared: "She's obviously a footnote to history now. But she also, when there's summary judgment, that's another way of saying 'You're a nuisance.' That's what summary judgment means, that it's a nuisance lawsuit, a frivolous lawsuit. She's been a professional litigant for the last five years, so now she'll have to get on and get a life. She has shown an interest in acting. Doubtful that the Royal Shakespeare Company will be seeking her services, but she might get a guest spot or something like that on [the redneck sitcom of Jeff] Foxworthy. That's about what her future holds."
On Starr: "Thumbs down for him. It really makes his job a lot more difficult. What is he gonna do? Subpoena Judge Wright and charge her with obstruction of justice because she's gotten in his way? I think he should be winding down investigation, putting his cards on the table. If he doesn't come forward very soon with credible evidence of lawbreaking, he will go down in history as the Peeping Tom prosecutor."
Compare those condemnations to what Alter penned in the October 21, 1991 Newsweek:
"C. Thomas (down arrow): He's lying (Isn't he?) Effective denials, but stop crying racism."
"A. Hill (up arrow): She's a brave truth teller (Isn't she?) Her details, lack of motive tip the balance."
Hey! I'm not alone on my opinion on media bias. The following are the results of a poll (December, 1996) conducted by Louis Harris and Associates for the nonpartisan Center for Media and Public Affairs:
1) most Americans think that the media are biased. Almost half (49%) think that the media usually don't "get the facts straight."
2) some two-thirds believe the media don't "deal fairly with all sides" in social and political reporting.
3) almost three-fourths of Americans see a "fair amount" or "great deal" of political bias in the news. And by more than a 2-to-1 ratio, poll resondents said that bias is liberal rather than conservative (43%-19%).
4) more than 60% of Americans surveyed prefer the media to "simply report the facts" and not "weigh the facts and offer suggestions about how to solve problems." This is a sharp break from ABC News' motto "News With Solutions."
5) some 65% do not believe that "journalists should point out what they believe are inaccuracies and distortions in the statements of public figures."
6) nearly 60% believe the news media have "too much influence."
7) some 47% think journalists have values different from their own.
Headlines don't always tell the real story..
Two types of media bias are subtle, but effective; misleading headlines, and "no-news" anti- Republican front page articles.
Misleading headlines are an especially devious form of media bias. Anyone who scans newspaper headlines to get an idea of what the news is can get a totally skewed perception of the information contained within the article, even when an article is factually correct. Recent headlines in the Courier-Post, a member of the Gannett Group and located in Cherry Hill, NJ illustrate the point.
Headline on 8/15/97: GOP memo: Kill insurance reform
The article under this large-type front page headline reports that a memo was sent by GOP leaders in New Jersey to all elected GOP State Assembly members suggesting they not sign a petition being circulated by the Democrats who are launching a drive for a special session on auto insurance. The memo also offers advice on what to say if contacted by the press. The article states that the petition has wording critical of Governor Christie Whitman. GOP leaders are quoted in the article as saying the memo was typical political advice offered by staff members, and refer to the petition as being "politically motivated. It smacks of campaign work on state time." It's not surprising that GOP leaders would not want GOP Assembly members signing a petition that criticizes the GOP governor up for reelection this fall. The article also quotes a number of GOP lawmakers who are willing to reconvene the Legislature and get to work on reform bills to lower rates. The article includes the full text of the memo, including the following paragraph - "We plan to continue working together with Gov. Whitman to address auto insurance reform and develop a plan that is best for all New Jersey drivers." - and nothing in the memo refers in any way to killing insurance reform. So I ask you - based on the content of the memo and the facts stated in the article, who in the GOP wants to kill insurance reform? No one! But that's not what the headline says.
Headline on 7/19/97: N.J. unemployment rate up 5.5%
This would be shocking if it were true, but the facts in the article show otherwise. In May 1997, the unemployment rate in New Jersey was 5.4% and in June it was 5.5% - a very small increase, certainly not an increase of 5.5% as the headline says. The good news in the article is that the rate is a decrease over the June 1996 rate of 6.3%, and the number of people employed in June actually increased 5,300 over May. The reason the rate was up even a small percent when the number of jobs increased, is that unemployment rates are unrelated to job growth, but are instead an indication of the number of people who are actively looking for work, such as people deciding to re-enter the work force. A rise in June is not surprising since June is a month many high school graduates "become unemployed" by making the decision to enter the work force. Was the headline a simple mistake in wording? Maybe, and maybe not.
Another headline example: A CNN/USA Today poll out 8/14/97 has headlines that say "More Americans Want Jones vs. Clinton Settled Out Of Court" based on a poll that is 48% to 42% in favor of an out of court settlement. The poll has a 3.5% margin of error which gives the poll a 2.5% edge in favor of settling out of court. Does this justify the CNN/USA Today headline? The answer is NO! It is basically a dead heat. Somehow I think that if the poll was the other way around, the headline would read something like "People Undecided on Whether Jones vs. Clinton should be Settled out of Court."
Two examples of anti-Republican articles that contain no news (or minimal news), but still found their way to front page status at the Courier-Post are:
Headline on 8/8/97: Quayle's 'potatoe' kid deals with fleeting fame
This article appeared on the front page. It contained information about the sixth grader who was involved in the Dan Quayle potatoe episode in June 1992. It referred to the fact that the boy became a father at age 16 and has a 14-month-old daughter who lives with her dad's family. This is not current news, yet it is on the front page. Why? As a putdown to Republicans at a time when the Republican governor of the state is running for a second term?
Headline on 8/9/97: Legislator soliciting for club' members
This article refers to a campaign fund-raising technique being used by a local Republican Assemblyman who mailed fliers for "Senate Club 97", promising a "private reception" with Gov. Christie Whitman as well as a separate "cocktail party" with other officials in return for an $1800 donation. The assemblyman's Democratic opponent compared the club to possible campaign finance abuses being examined in Washington by a Congressional committee. Abuses? This is simply a way of advertising to upcoming fundraising events much like all the other legal, typical, run-of-the-mill campaign fundraisers. Tickets for both events will be put on sale for the public. The reception will be held at a private home, and the cocktail party at a country club. No Buddhist Temple or government property misused here. But the unfounded scurrilous implication by the Democratic opponent makes it to the front page of the paper. Why?
General Media Bias
Trimming vs. Gutting Medicare
Remember the cries of the Democrats when the Republicans were "gutting" Medicare? (called "gutting" even though the Republican Medicare Preservation Act of 1995 would have saved Medicare for the next generation while increasing Medicare spending by 7 percent every year - an increase for every senior citizen from $4,800 in 1996 to more than $7,100 per senior, per year in 2002) Well, guess what! Now the Democrats are "trimming" Medicare. Although a year ago the president firmly opposed congressional Republicans proposals for reform of Medicare, the President "hoped to offer congressional Republicans an olive branch by proposing significant spending curbs on the program." In fact, some of the budget savings come from a GOP-backed proposal to switch more Medicare patients to managed care plans, which collect a flat monthly fee for providing all the enrollee's health care!
According to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, the 1998 budget "Would significantly trim Medicare, to save $138 billion through 2002. Because Medicare spending is growing well ahead of inflation, bringing its costs under control is considered a key step in balancing the federal budget." (Thursday, Feb. 6, 1997 LEGI-SLATE News Service)
How nice. Does this sound familiar? Maybe somewhat similar (obviously the plans are not the same in every detail) to the Republican's plan - the plan that was crucified by the AFL-CIO and the Democrats? (see below for more information on the AFL-CIO antics) But NOW, notice the word "trimming"? When Republicans curb Medicare spending, it's "gutting" and "putting seniors out on the street." When Democrats curb spending, it's "trimming" and "an even bigger force for good." (Thursday, Feb. 6, 1997 LEGI-SLATE News Service)
So if anyone voted for Clinton so Medicare wouldn't be cut - sorry! He's cutting it anyway. Except the media is portraying Clinton's "cuts" much differently than they did the Republican's.
The AFL-CIO lying about Medicare....
Letting lies scare seniors
The media didn't seem to care that senior citizens were being fed lies about Medicare, prior to the 1996 presidential election. One ad showed Newt saying, "Now we don't get rid of it in round one because we don't think that's politically smart. We don't think that's the right way to do it through a transition... but we believe it's going to wither on the vine." - the ad said he was referring to Medicare. This quote was used over and over - even AlGore stated on "This Week with David Brinkley" on 8/25/96, "The Republican party, specifically Speaker Gingrich, said that he wanted to make changes that would cause Medicare to wither on the vine."
Now let's look at the FULL quote. What Gingrich really said on 10/24/95 was that the Republicans believed that Medicare bureaucracy would wither on the vine, not Medicare benefits. There's a big difference! The unedited quote: "What do you think the Health Care Financing Administration is? It's a centralized command bureaucracy. It's everything we're telling Boris Yeltsin to get rid of. Now we don't get rid of it in Round one because we don't think that's politically smart and we don't think that's the right way to go through a transition. But we believe it's going to wither on the vine because we think people are voluntarily going to leave it - voluntarily."
Over and over this statement was played in the media - except the statement was shown as "We believe it's [Medicare] going to wither on the vine" The media would place the word MEDICARE as the reference to "it" when Newt was referring to MEDICARE BUREAUCRACY. And the media didn't care.
Well, some media did care - CNN's Inside Politics' "Adwatch" evaluated the spot on July 15 and determined that it was "just dishonest." But the majority went right along with the lies.
Who's buying whom?
Let's see - in the past '96 presidential, election, besides scaring senior citizens, the AFL-CIO spent $36 million trying to defeat the freshmen republicans in congress. (too bad the 36 million spent only netted about 6 seats) However, remember back in '94 - when the NRA spent 5 million, the media blasted Republicans, claiming they were using the power of the NRA and the $ "to buy congress". Anyone heard any media outrage at the AFL-CIO spending over seven times that amount on a smear campaign "to buy congress"? The money was also taken from Union dues, without the permission of the members.
(Media Reality Check '96" December 9, 1996 Vol one, No 119)
Only Democrats can get mandates?
When the Republicans took over control of congress in 1994, Peter Jennings said that this was not really a "mandate for change" ..."It's clear that anger controls the child and not the other way around," stated Mr. Jennings. "The voters had a temper-tantrum...The nation can't be run by an angry 2-year-old." (The actual statement was said on a radio commentary in 1994, and reported again in the South Jersey Courier Post on November 27, 1994.) The Republican victory was also stated by Steve Roberts, a US News and World Report writer on CNBC's Equal Time - "They (voters) are not voting Republican...They are voting against a lot of unhappiness in their own lives."
Funny - the same media was hailing Clinton's 1992 victory as a "mandate for change" (with a whopping 43% of the vote) and that Republican ideas were dead, that the Democrat ideas were what the people wanted. So, when the voters vote Republican they don't know what they are doing, but when they vote for a Democrat they have more credibility?
Draft-dodging is ok if you're a democrat..
During the first 10 days of the uproar about Dan Quayle's National Guard service in 1988, the 4 networks aired 51 evening news stories solely on Quayle's National Guard service - in addition to raising questions about "controversies" 158 times during prime time network coverage of the Republican convention. Compare those stats to the 4 networks airing only 13 stories in the first 10 days of the Clinton "draft-dodging" controversy.
Source: "Pattern of Deception" by Tim Graham.
Barbara Walters interviewed both Bob Dole/Liddy Dole and Billy Clinton/Hillary on 20/20 in the fall of 1996.
When interviewing Dole, Barbara W. asked him about the breakup of his first marriage and whether politics contributed to it. The question was designed to remind the audience about the "baggage" in his background, and attempted to dig up some more dirt if any was there.
Now, that questioning in itself was completely fair. I have no problem with Barbara W. asking such questions - when people present themselves as candidates for such a high office, the public has the right to know everything about them.
One would think that since such a private issue was raised with Dole, they would also be raised with Clinton, correct? Nope.
Did she ask Clinton about his 12 year adulterous affair w/Gennifer Flowers? No.
The Paula Jones sexual harassment suit? No
His alleged illegitimate child? No.
Barbara Walters also asked Liddy Dole, how she could, as the president of the Red Cross, dare accept financial contributions from tobacco companies, and demanded to know whether she would cut off such contributions.
Again, the question. was fair. And since Liddy and Hillary are both strong independent women, Barbara W. would at least ask Hillary a tough question too right? Wrong.
Did she ask Hillary about her alleged affair with Vince Foster? No.
Anything about the Travel Office? No
Why Hillary appointed Craig Livingstone as head of White House Security? No.
Anything on the missing FBI files? No.
Funny how Barbara W. failed to ask the Clintons any tough questions.
Most reporters aren't liberal or biased - right?
- 9 white house correspondents survey voted for Clinton in 1992, while 2 voted for Bush
- 12 voted for Dukakis in 1988 - one for Bush
- 10 voted for Mondale in 1984 - zero for Reagan
- 8 voted for Jimmy Carter in 1980 - 2 for Reagan
Of course, none of these reporters could be biased at all in their reporting.......
Source: US News and World Report White House Reporter Kenneth Walsh
Of the 1400 members of the national media who were surveyed:
Freedom Forum sponsored poll, 1992
- 44% considered themselves Democrats
- 16% Repubs
- 34% independents
- 89% voted for Clinton in 1992
- 7% voted for Bush in 1992
The media openly admitting bias....
"The societal purpose of the media is to inculcate and defend the economic, social, and political agenda of privileged groups that dominate the domestic society and the state. The media serve this purpose in many ways: through the selection of topics, distribution of concerns, framing of issues, filtering of information, emphasis and tone, and by keeping debate within the bounds of acceptable premises."
Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), Pantheon Books, NY
"The old argument that the networks and other 'media elites' have a liberal bias is so blatantly true that it's hardly worth discussing anymore. No, we don't sit around in dark corners and plan how we will slant the news. It comes naturally to most reporters"
CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg, Feb 13, 1996 Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Source - Times Mirror Center for the people and the Press, May 1995
On Bill Clinton
Clinton suggested at the end of 1996 a 25% CUT in the Federal home assistance plan, and as a result received a lot of flack from representatives in the Northeastern states. He thus decided to drop the issue. His change in position was shown in the Bangor, Maine Newspaper as "Clinton Saves Federal Heating Assistance Plan" ....SAVES??? He was going to cut it. Funny we didn't hear anything about Clinton "gutting" the heating plan as I am sure it would have been referred to if a Republican had suggested the cut. It's so interesting how Clinton is hailed as "saving" a plan that HE suggested cutting!
Media Bias - Distorting the facts?
We often hear Clinton trumpet how his administration has created "1 million new jobs" And the media goes right along. Aside from the fact that most of the jobs created were low-skill, minimum wage jobs, Clinton's $241 billion tax increase in 1993 reduced the number of private sector jobs by 1.2 million between 1993 and 1996. Without the 1993 budget deal, 40,000 more businesses would have been created. Seen the media focusing on this aspect of Clinton's alleged "job creation" success??
Media Bias - Another angle on the drug war
The media doesn't focus on the failing drug war? There have been more articles and TV shows recently on drug use increase (especially heroine) than there have been for years. The media has reported the failing drug war - but do they blame Clinton? NO. Drug use has increased 100% under Clinton's presidency - does the media point this out? NO. Until Clinton took office, drug use was decreasing rapidly under Republican presidents for 11 years straight. But then Clinton took office and slashed the White House Office of Drug Control Policy by 80%. He cut the number of drug enforcements agents and their training. His National Security Council dropped the war on drugs from THIRD priority to last - 29th out of 29. Does the media focus on the success on the war on drugs, the success that was occurring UNTIL Clinton took office?