An alternate hypothesis for media bias

Some discussions about media bias have made the rounds here lately…

Here’s one about NPR bias that inspired this thread

Another about Fox not being biased

And a related media thread

I was thinking: people in cities tend to be both more liberal and more likely than rural citizens to be in the media business. Could it be that the reason media is often percieved as liberally biased is because people in the media tend to speak to the concerns and have the same assumptions as their more liberal urban neighbors, while more rural people tend to be conservative and feel the media folks don’t care about their viewpoint because they don’t share the same assumptions or speak to their concerns.

I’ve also thought about the conservative media, because they obviously work in cities too. I wonder if more of the conservative media originally come from or get their start in rural areas.

Is there any merit to this idea beyond mere coincidental correlation? I thought this could be a good start for a discussion…

Could I ask you to elaborate your thoughts on this? I

This was pretty much the explanation given by the NYT’s Public Editor (ombudsman) in an editorial he wrote last year: Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?

Now, I don’t think that he’s asking the NYT to change, or saying that it’s “bad” to be a liberal newspaper. He’s kind of saying: the NYT is liberal, so what? NYC is liberal, so it’s not surprising that it’s major newspaper is, too.

I would need to see stats to back this up. The first person I thought of was Dan Rather, a good ol’ Texas boy.

The “assumptions” might have something to do with *what * is covered, but should have zero to do with how it is reported.

Professionalism (i.e. lack of bias) is not something allotted only to country or city folk.

An excellent observation… I just realized my hypothesis depends on an assumption of my own: that people who voted Democratic in 2004 tended to be more liberal. It’s easy to see that in the 2004 election major urban areas went Democratic (On this map the hills represent large urban centers). However, there is not really any evidentiary support for my assumption that these areas are liberal, though. It would first require a definition of liberal, which if I were to come up with one, would probably apply only to me and no one else.

Of course not, but there is considerable debate over whether anyone can be unbaised, no matter how professional. The need for double-blind experiments in many sciences demonstrates that lack of bias cannot be trivialized to mere professionalism.

Also, I disagree that assumptions have nothing to do with how an issue is reported. Surely you don’t think reporters check in all their cultural and other assumptions when they start writing, do you?

In addition, there’s the question of whether the bias is truly in the reporter or in the beholder. To me, the most likely probability is that it is in both.

While I do think the MSM has a liberal bias, I also think it has an anti-government bias. They are probably unconsciously (or consciously) attracted to the anti-government position because it gives them a sense of integrity rather than a sense of being a tool of propaganda.

Kid, why is it you believe that NPR has an anti-government bias?

I don’t listen to NPR; I was speaking more about network news, NY Times, LA Times,etc…

:smack: MSM=Main Stream Media. I didn’t get that at first. Well then, can I ask you to elaborate on that?

Ah! I get it. I actually thought MSM was a misspelling of MSN, as in MSNBC.

I really didn’t understand how the topic then jumped to NPR…

Actually, I’d take the opposite slant. I think most media sources are more pro-government biased because they will so often take a government press release or press conference as their only source for a story, or reproduce the government’s words uncritically. I was certainly surprised that more media didn’t question the government position during the run-up to the Iraq war, for example.