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Meida Bias Misleading Voters Says Chaldean Julie Kalasho
By Neda Ayar :: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 :: 16122 Views :: Government & Society

California, USA - The controversial presidential campaign has raised a number of issues about democracy.  Concerns of voter registration and voter fraud list highest among the concerns.  However, what seems to have captured the attention of most Americans is media bias.  Calls by the Clintons and McCain campaigns of media bias in favor of Obama have proven accurate and some want the media meddling investigated for impacting national security.  The latest being an NBC blackout of Biden’s guarded warning of dire attacks against the United States if Obama is elected. 

Media bias has also drawn the attention of UCLA political science major, Julie Kalasho.  “I have a relative in Michigan who openly is using his radio station to support Obama,” says Kalasho.  “He got into some big trouble in the past with his political fund raising for Republicans and the Democrats scared him into supporting Obama.  So I know first hand how the media is being used to influence politics.  He openly admits he wants Obama to win and is trying to scare naïve Chaldeans to vote for Obama or they may be doomed.”

Kalasho sites fellow colleague Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist who co-authored a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly. 

The objective findings may shock some, while others see it as vindication of what many have long been complaining about.  The reports finding objectively concludes that almost all major media outlets are biased towards the left. 

Gorseclose, says "I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are." Co-author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar says, "There is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left."

Groseclose and Milyo along with 21 research assistants scoured U.S. media coverage of the past 10 years. They tallied the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups, such as the left-leaning NAACP or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation.

Next, they did the same exercise with speeches of U.S. lawmakers. If a media outlet displayed a citation pattern similar to that of a lawmaker, then Groseclose and Milyo's method assigned both a similar ADA score.

"A media person would have never done this study," said Groseclose, a UCLA political science professor, whose research and teaching focuses on the U.S. Congress. "It takes a Congress scholar even to think of using ADA scores as a measure. And I don't think many media scholars would have considered comparing news stories to congressional speeches."

Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal, only Fox News' and The Washington Times scored right of the average.

Kalasho says, “It is surprising how gullible most people are in America and how much they base their daily decisions on biased news.  Older Chaldeans who lived their formative years in Iraq are not as naïve as the ones born in America.  My guess would be that television news back home was always looked upon with suspicion, being that it was government controlled.  However, in America what is the difference if the government controls the information or there is a clear bias that is nurtured and supported by editors and new providers.”

Kalasho sights ignorance, laziness, peer pressure, elitism, and a host of other reasons as to why most Americans rely on news they suspect or believe to be bias.  “If the news really wanted to do a service to America, it would have a third-party evaluate their coverage and rate their leanings during broadcast or publication.  However, no media outlet would agree.  The power to persuade and influence people requires that they use subterfuge and seem to be above board in their presentation, when really what they want to do is coerce and influence viewers to act a certain way.”

Some of the more centrist outlets included the "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.  "Our estimates for these outlets, we feel, give particular credibility to our efforts, as many of the moderators for the both the 2004 and 2008 presidential and vice-presidential debates came from these outlets — Jim Lehrer, Charlie Gibson and Gwen Ifill," Groseclose said.   "If these newscasters weren't centrist, staffers for one of the campaign teams would have objected and insisted on other moderators."

The other most centrist outlet was "Special Report With Brit Hume" on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. The study also found ABC's "World News Tonight" and NBC's "Nightly News" to be far left of center.

"Five news outlets — "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," ABC's "Good Morning America," CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown," and Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume"— were in a statistical dead heat in the race for the most centrist news outlet.  Of the print media, USA Today was the most centrist.

When discussion issues with Chaldeans Kalasho says she tries to establish where their getting their information from before she discuss politics.  “It is a waste of time to try and persuade anyone who believes that the information they are getting from the news is accurate.  They have bought into the premise that news is unbiased and to change their mind, is like convincing them to do something wrong.”

An additional feature of the study shows how each outlet compares in political orientation with actual lawmakers. The news pages of The Wall Street Journal scored a little to the left of the average American Democrat, as determined by the average ADA score of all Democrats in Congress (85 versus 84). With scores in the mid-70s, CBS' "Evening News" and The New York Times looked similar to far left liberal democrats.

Since Groseclose and Milyo were more concerned with bias in news reporting than opinion pieces, which are designed to stake a political position, they omitted editorials and Op Eds from their tallies. This is one reason their study finds The Wall Street Journal more liberal than conventional wisdom asserts.

The  National Public Radio, a public tax payer funded station, ranked eighth most liberal of the 20 that the study examined.  The report scored NPR approximately equal to those of Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report.

Kalasho adds that all media have an interest in the outcome of the presidential race and any Chaldean who simply buys into their news rhetoric is not only foolish, but willfully agreeing to be pawns for use and discard.

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