Frame of Romney coverage during the primaries, from the Project on Excellence in Journalism.
The Project for Excellence in Journalism is out with their latest report on news coverage of the primary campaign, and the big headline is that, surprise surprise, the tone of coverage varied pretty much exactly with whether candidates were winning or losing. Does that mean reporters had a pro-Romney bias when he was winning primaries, and a pro-Santorum bias when he was winning primaries? Of course not. It shows, instead, just how ridiculous most discussion of ideological bias is.
The Pew Research Center is out with one of its big reports about news use and politics, and as usual there's a lot of interesting stuff there, if this happens to be your thing. I want to point to one result, about perceptions of "bias" in the news. On one level, it's about what you'd expect: Republicans see a lot of bias in the news, particularly with Tea Party Republicans. That's because they're the most intense partisans, and they've spent 30 years marinating in an ideology that puts their oppression at the hands of a vicious liberal media at its center.
As you might expect, Ross Douthat is unhappy about the backlash against the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's decision to defund Planned Parenthood. His argument rests upon assertions of media bias that are shaky since, as Sarah Kilff notes, it's likely that media bias wouldn't have been a factor in Komen coverage precisely because of the political leanings of the average journalist.
While I was in the car yesterday I turned to a conservative talk radio station, which I recommend all liberals do from time to time. The host, whom I didn't recognize, brought up some innocuous piece of news reporting that appeared in the Politico. As you know if you care about these things, the Politico is a complicated media entity. On one hand, they employ a lot of reporters and they sometimes break interesting stories. On the other hand, they're almost a parody of the inside dope-obsessed Washington media, which finds the question of whether Eric Cantor's press secretary and John Boehner's press secretary are feuding far more compelling than, say, the question of what effects cuts in Medicaid would have on struggling Americans.
I hesitated somewhat to write about this, but since this book -- Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind -- will almost certainly be promoted across the conservative media and become a hit, I figured I had no choice. Although the book has not been released yet, I have read a study the author, Tim Groseclose, conducted on the subject, which sounds as though it was the basis for the book, so there are some things I can say.
Conor Friedersdorfcalls on the right to police their media outlets and call out slander and lies, but rightfully notes that critics fail to realize how fundamental a shift this would be for conservatives:
CNN's Christiane Amanpour is a really good reporter who is consistently substantive and interesting, eschewing the irrelevant horse-race jibber jabber common to most cable news programming. This is part of Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales' case for why it was a mistake to pick her to be the new host for ABC's This Week:
The response to the election of Barack Obama was a deliberate effort on the part of Republicans to stoke and benefit from an escalation in racial tensions. We saw this play out during the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, where Republicans made a deliberate effort to make the United States look like the kind of country where qualified white men are denied promotions and uppity affirmative action babies get nominated to the Supreme Court.