Public Perceptions of Media Bias – WTF?

The Pew Research Center just released a survey about the public perception of media bias.  Before reading the rest of this article, check out the results and rate your own reaction.  How many times did you say “What The Fuck?”

Pew Chart

First we have to ask if the survey itself is biased.  If it had been done by Media Matters, FAIR or Accuracy in Media, taking their biases into account would mean we’d have to discard the results, which would make this a very short article.  But Pew has been around for a long time and has earned a great reputation.  We can be confident the numbers accurate.

This is a survey of people’s perception of bias, not actual bias.  That’s fine, because bias can’t be accurately measured.  It’s often subtle, coming down to the choice of adverbs or adjectives or the prominence given to specific stories.  Like pornography, I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I watch it.

Here are the WTFs I found in the survey:

The first one is minor and expected – the green band in the middle.  Every news organization is biased, but when that bias is the same as a viewer’s, the viewer mistakenly views the outlet as unbiased.  It’s disappointing that a third of the people suffer from this blindness, but not surprising.

Next comes the rating for MSNBC.  I find it amazing that anyone could think MSNBC bias is tied with CNN and NBC.  While the latter are obviously lefty, MSNBC is as far to the left as Fox is to the right.  I can only conclude that people with this opinion have TVs with very poor audio.  With better sound systems they’d have noticed that every time a lefty is interviewed on MSNBC you can hear faint slurping sounds coming from under the desk.

14% think Fox is mostly liberal, and ABC and CBS are mostly conservative, and 11% think the rest of the lefties are mostly conservative?  WTF!

The biggest WTF, though, comes from the preponderance of liberalism in the news.  While we can argue about the precision of these perceptions, the general results are bang on – Fox is right wing and all the others are left wing.  Half the US population calls themselves conservative, but only one out of six organizations is smart enough to take advantage of that.  The rest cling to their liberalism and wonder why they’re losing viewers faster than fundamentalist teenagers are losing their virginity.  All of them, except MSNBC, have been in business longer than Fox, so they have far more experience and should have more business acumen, but instead they keep to their lefty ways and wonder where all their viewers went.  What The Fuck?


1 Comment(s)

  1. I’d just like to point out that just because someone identifies themselves as conservative, doesn’t mean that they will agree with the reicht wing group at Fox News. Those guys are, generally speaking, moon-bats, relative to old fashioned conservatives.

    You are probably correct though, some of the other news channels could probably capture a better market share with a little more balancing towards the conservative end. But would they be reporting the truth, as they see it?

    Jason | Nov 7, 2009 | Reply

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