- The Washington Times - Friday, November 28, 2008

It’s not surprising that a noted media figure, Time magazine‘s Mark Halperin, told a panel of fellow media analysts last week that the media’s presidential campaign coverage was “extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage” and “the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war.” What is surprising is that anyone was surprised. There have been plenty of “no they’re not!” and “yes they are!” bias retorts on Internet sites since then, but while beauty (or bias) may be in the eye of the beholder, there is a substantial body of evidence to support Halperin regarding Obama coverage, and media predilections regarding other political, social and cultural issues.

We’re not talking about printed or electronic media that are openly labeled or clearly opinionated, such as newspaper editorial pages, magazines such as the National Review on the right or the Nation on the left, certain radio talk shows (mainly conservative), certain cable shows (primarily liberal) and so forth. We’re talking about what passes for straight news reporting, whether it’s print or broadcast.

Survey after survey - both those taken by “straight news” reporters and editors themselves and those taken by impartial third-party researchers - shows a liberal tilt in terms of party preference (overwhelmingly Democrat), political philosophy (left-of-center), religious affinity (very low), cultural preferences (pro-abortion, pro-gay, anti-conventional lifestyle), and similar measurements. The late Peter Jennings of ABC News acknowledged in 2002, “Historically in the media, it has been more of a liberal persuasion for many years.” He spoke of a “liberal instinct in the media that we need to keep our eye on, if you will.”

What’s the surprise? The tilt is pretty obvious to all with eyes to see. A rose is a rose is a rose, and blatant favoritism in one direction is cause for yelling, “Foul!” The bias can be denied - there are deluded souls that deny the Holocaust - but the eyes and ears can see and hear it. The task of “straight” media must be to label it or proscribe it. “Keep an eye on it, if you will.”

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