Liberal Media Bias — Confirmed

A first-of-its-kind look at media bias, which included comparing news stories to congressional speeches, revealed that coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media but that almost all major media outlets are liberal.

"While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times," the study found, according to a December 14 news release by the University of California-Los Angeles, which conducted the research. "The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left."

The study, which appears in the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly, the news release said.

"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author, said. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

Researchers incorporated a method used by Americans for Democratic Action, which tracks the percentage of times that each lawmaker votes on the liberal side of an issue. ADA then assigns a numerical score to each lawmaker, where 100 is the most liberal and 0 is the most conservative. The average ADA score in Congress, which is 50.1, is assumed to represent the political position of the average U.S. voter.

UCLA then enlisted twenty-one research assistants to examine U.S. media coverage for the past decade and tally the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups such as the left-leaning NAACP or the conservative Heritage Foundation. The same was done with speeches of members of Congress, and the process took nearly three years to complete.

Of the twenty major media outlets UCLA studied, eighteen scored left of center, with The Wall Street Journal, CBS Evening News, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times leading the pack, the research indicated. Only Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter. Of the print media, USA Today was the most centrist.

News that the Drudge Report was slightly left of center surprised some.

"One thing people should keep in mind is that our data for the Drudge Report was based almost entirely on the articles that the Drudge Report lists on other websites," Groseclose said. "Very little was based on the stories that Matt Drudge himself wrote. The fact that the Drudge Report appears left of center is merely a reflection of the overall bias of the media."

For more information, visit http://newsroom.ucla.edu/.

Baptist Press



Ads Contribute to Teen Drinking

Despite what the alcohol industry says, a new study has found that alcohol advertising contributes to increased drinking among youth.

The study, released in the January edition of the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, was meant to test whether alcohol advertising expenditures and the degree of exposure to alcohol advertisements affect alcohol consumption by youth.

Researchers randomly surveyed people ages 15 to 26 between 1999 and 2001 and found that youth who saw more alcohol advertisements on average drank more — with each additional advertisement viewed, the number of drinks consumed increased by 1 percent. They also discovered that youth in markets with greater alcohol advertising expenditures drank more — each additional dollar spent per capita raised the number of drinks consumed by 3 percent.

Youth in markets with more alcohol advertisements showed increases in drinking levels into their late twenties, but drinking plateaued in the early twenties for youth in markets with fewer advertisements, the study said.

"This study is the strongest piece of evidence yet that … if kids see a lot of alcohol advertisements, they are more likely to drink more," David H. Jernigan, research director of Georgetown University's Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, told The Washington Times. He added that the findings "call into question the industry's argument that its roughly $1.8 billion in measured media expenditures per year have no impact on underaged drinking."

Baptist Press

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