Does the mainstream news media’s coverage favor left-wing causes more than right-wing? If so, does that make the news media biased?
The answer to those questions likely depends on how one defines “center.” But the evidence is frankly overwhelming that the media world defines the ideological “center” differently from their content-consuming public.
Conservative pundits for years have accused most of the media of having a leftist bias when reporting news. But their evidence is almost always anecdotal. Organizations like Media Research Center claim to regularly chart evidence of liberal bias in reporting through keeping a careful record of such anecdotes. Other media watchdog organizations like Media Matters claim to do the same in keeping a careful watch over outlets they define as “right wing”, mainly Fox News,
If the proof is to be found in where journalists put their own personal money, a study in between 2004 and 2007 by MSNBC seems to demonstrate a very strong left-wing bias of media personalities. In an audit performed of political donations by news providers, 125 of 143 donated money to Democrats only and to causes considered exclusively left wing. That’s 87% of news media figures who contribute to liberal causes as opposed to conservative ones.
Those of us who have spent decades in the media world learned immediately one important business fact: News media organizations intentionally create a broad line between those who produce editorial content and those who run the business of media. The reason that line is put there intentionally is to ensure the public that no large-dollar advertiser can buy good news or stop bad news.
So journalists, armed with little more than the dictum to “inform the public” in a way acceptable to their executive editor bosses, go about finding what they feel is what the public should hear or read.
And therein lies the root of the left-wing bias in media.
Walter Cronkite was once quoted as having said that journalism had a responsibility to side with “humanity over authority.” This practice of journalists constantly attempting to expose weaknesses and inconsistencies in the authoritative status quo, exemplified by anecdotes of individuals supposedly victimized by authority, is the quintessential definition of liberalism, or left-wing ideology.
What happens, then, when the public sets up authority to rectify problems created by previous authority? As long as journalists can identify what they believe is an authoritative enemy to humanity, journalism will likely always lean left, whether readers and viewers agree with it or not.