August 6, 2003

New Harvard study…

All newspapers are partisan in some fashion and to some degree on the editorial pages. That’s to be expected. Now, do we suppose that right-wing editorial pages and left-wing editorial pages will promote their positions and denigrate their opposites in equal fashion?

Of course not. Ideology is not experienced as an intellectual choice made by individuals. Instead, ideology is experienced as a self-evident moral system. The self-evident moral system of conservatives is generally more cohesive and prescriptive than that of liberals. So we should expect exactly the results reported in a recent study by The Joan Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University. From the press online press release:

The Shorenstein Center has released a new study by Michael Tomasky that systematically reviews the country

4 Responses

  1. Having skimmed it, my initial impression is that it’s first-class junk science. Only 10 issues from each Administration are considered, and claiming them to be “comparable” does not make them so — consider, for example, the supposed equivalence of Janet Reno and John Ashcroft’s first year in office. Great idea, except for the events of 4/19/93 and 9/11/01.

    I nonetheless expect this study to be popular among the statistically challenged members of a certain political persuasion. Might have to rant about it a little over on my blog …

  2. acline 

    Jay…I suspect I’ll agree with your initial assessment. My first question was: What can one possibly compare?

    That said, I think the study’s “results” are somewhat intuitive for the reason I cite.

  3. Rhetorica does the heavy lifting

    I pointed out the new Harvard study on media bias yesterday – remember, the one where the new editor of…

  4. donjohn8 

    I’ll intuitively agree with the study, though I’ll grant that it is by no means “scientific.”

    The atmosphere of today’s Republican Party, as exemplified by Tom DeLay, is an oppressive one, quashing dissent and stifling progressive thought. It follows that Republican-owned media sources would respond in kind, perceiving party unity and loyalty to be more desired qualities than meticulous dissection and compromise.

    “It is a newspaper’s duty to print the news and raise hell.” – William Storey, statement of the aims of the Chicago Times, 1861

    “There are roughly 8,000 weekly newspapers in the United States and 1,700 dailies. At a guess, one in ten of either category fulfills its responsibility to print the news and raise hell…” – Everett T. Rattray, editor of the East Hampton (N.Y.) Star, in The Responsibility of the Press, Fleet Publishing Corp., 1966