Monday, October 27, 2008

How Media Bias Works

How media bias works:

Here is Barbara West (WFTV) interviewing senator John McCain. Apologies for the pop up comments. This was the only copy I could find on YouTube.

Here is Barbara West (WFTV) interviewing senator Joe Biden

Here’s a split screen comparison of the two interviews. Again, apologies for the editorializing by the person who posted it on YouTube. I think the videos speak for themselves how some people in the media (I'm sure there are other examples, not just from a conservative) decide to interview politicians. At the very least, this does speak to this whole "mainstream media" argument. Who is this mainstream media? People on FOX News often will speak of this "mainstream media" as something "other" and biased against conservatives, while at the same time advertising themselves as the most watched news source in America. I really don't get it.


At 10/27/2008 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi John-- I am a diehard democrat and Obama supporter-but I do think there is media bias on both side. I notice a difference, for example, when I am watching media (local news) coverage in California (blue state) and Indiana (red state). Also if you watch MSNBC (which I do) you have to admit that shows like Hardball have a liberal slant. Or-- to put in a way I like better-- they have common sense ;)

What constitutes "mainstream" media--hmmm...not sure about that--you are right, FOX gets a huge audience, so it seems pretty mainstream to me.

I think everyone's aware of it to some degree and we tend to watch those channels that conform to our world i dont' know how much power the bias ultimately has...

At 10/27/2008 12:37 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Louise, yeah, I agree. I'm actually fairly moderate (or really, I think some things like a liberal and some things like a conservative) in politics, but I really, really hate the misuse of language that politicians (and others - like this example here from Barbara West).

I believe journalists (and Hardball doesn't count, as it's an editorial show - as Limbaugh doesn't count for the same reason) do have the charge to be fair. That whole fair and balanced thing. So FOX says "the mainstream media" is unfair to conservatives. Well, here is an example of, I guess, the mainstream media. A blatant editorial masquerading as journalism. What commentators do is one thing, but what journalists do should be something else. This is just absurd.

I promise I would be just as bothered if it were the other way around, with Biden getting "how are you going to win Florida" and McCain getting "aren't you ashamed" questions.

At 10/27/2008 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, I didn't pick up on the fact that this was local news in Florida (a swing state!) until I googled the call letters. This is disturbing...

For people that don't have cable and have to watch local news-- this is clearly biased and bad.. . much worse than anything i've seen in Indiana.

At 10/28/2008 3:26 PM, Blogger Frank (the Colt) said...

John thank you for putting this up. I agree that I would be upset if the questions went the other way for Biden, but I think as an interview you must ask the tough questions, and in this election, or any election we only ask the tough questions to the people we want to lose. I really feel that people are starting to wake up to the bull-shit we've been feed by the media and think for themselves.

At 10/28/2008 3:45 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Hey colt,

The problem with thinking for oneself is that one can't without getting the information, and all information comes through mediation. So what do we do? "Trust No One" sounded great on the X-Files, but it doesn't work in the world.


At 10/28/2008 5:41 PM, Blogger Busstogate said...


Enclave identifcation remains one of my primary devices of filtration when it comes to applying truth to any random set of acts coming from a source. There was a time when I would surf between Fox, NPR, and BBC while up in the wee hours just to keep myself awake in trying to find my way through the gossamer.

I agree with you that lousy artisanship is just that no matter whose body of work is being considered. I will give FoxRadio the melodramatic crown for insisting that the listening public can in fact be seduced by both the subliminal and clubbing of repetition. They do the thinking for you!

At 10/30/2008 8:17 AM, Blogger Matt Walker said...

the truth is out there

At 10/30/2008 8:42 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Cue the music:

Oooo we we wa wa wa wa duhdeladum duhdeladum duhdelahdum!


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