Sunday, June 19, 2005

SO - I visited my professor's office the other day

This professor is one that constantly complains about the Conservative Media Bias in the news media. She is convinced the New York Times is really a shill for Bush, and that big powerful corporations are controlling the news media to help keep us down.

When in her office, I noticed she nearly two dozen books that argue for either a conservative media bias, or else argue that Bush and his "cronies" censor everything unfavorable to them. I asked her if she had read any book on "liberal" media bias. She said she didn't need to - she had read Goldberg's Bias and found it lacking.

I replied I found it lacking as well, but that there were better books out there, such as Coloring the News and Weapons of Mass Distortion. She said she didn't need to read those books because all claims of liberal media bias "all the same, and all false."

It's nice to live in those cocoons, surrounded by evidence that only supports your individual world view, I guess.

As for my bookshelf? Well, I have 6 books on Media bias, and they are divided equally between those claiming liberal bias and those claiming conservative bias.

My own conclusion? Generally, the media tilts slightly left, but overall the news media is basically incompetent. Science journalists don't understand the basics of science and journalists covering politics are ignorant of basic historical facts and economic rules. This is, of course, a generalization, and there are some sections of the news media that are worthwhile. I prefer (these are not unqualified endorsements, as none are perfect): The Economist, National Review, The New Republic, Commentary, The Week and Harpers . Yes, some of those listed are liberal, but unlike my profs, I prefer to read on all sides of the issue, rather than read one badly written liberal argument and decide that I've "figured out" how the other side thinks.

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