Media Bias:

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
Media Bias:
7
Tue, 10-22-2013 - 11:20am

      There seems to me that there are a number of commentators who claim that there is a bias in much of the media.  Initially this seems strange to me.  Media outlets are businesses.  Assuming that the goal of the owners of businesses is to maximize profits and assuming that the owners of businesses are ultimately in complete control of the company they own it would seem that media bias would be toward what is profitable.  For example if having a “liberal” bias is more profitable than a neutral position or a “conservative” bias, then the media would tend to have a “liberal” bias.  But why would a “liberal” bias be more profitable.  Two general reasons could be that viewers are more attracted to a media outlet that has a “liberal” bias or that advertisers are willing to pay more to advertize with a media outlet that has a “liberal” bias.  What do people think of this logic?

      Tom,

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2008
In reply to: tom.j.g
Tue, 10-22-2013 - 11:35am

Conservative implies religiosity, prejudice, and strict. Liberal implies freedom and a better chance of getting something for free. Who wouldn't go with something more liberal???

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
In reply to: tom.j.g
Tue, 10-22-2013 - 1:54pm

      Dalton, I think I was not careful enough in explaining myself.  I put the terms “liberal” and “conservative” in quotes because I was not referring to the dictionary definition of the terms, but to the way that it seems to me that the commentators I referred to use the term.  It seems to me that, in general and not always, that these commentators use the term “liberal” as a synonym for the position of the Democratic Party and “conservative” as a synonym for the position of the Republican Party or the Tea Party.  I do not agree with how those commentators use those terms.  Actually a concise dictionary definition of conservative is support of the status quo, while a concise dictionary definition of liberal is support of freedom.

      Tom,

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
In reply to: deenasdad
Wed, 10-23-2013 - 12:03am

One can speculate about the motives behind the bias but in fact, there is a liberal bias in the lame street media.

A Measure of Media Bias

Our results show a strong liberal bias:

http://qje.oxfordjournals.org/content/120/4/1191.short

The Liberal Media: It's No Myth

http://scholar.harvard.edu/barro/files/04_0614_liberalmedia_bw.pdf

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
In reply to: tom.j.g
Wed, 10-23-2013 - 2:39pm

      Deen, I didn’t claim there wasn’t a “liberal” bias in the media.  However, it seems to me that if there is a “liberal” bias then either such a bias is profitable or the owners of most media outlets are not motivated by profit maximization.  Even if such a bias was neutral in regard to profits I wonder why so many owners of media outlets would allow such a bias.  Do these owners think so little of their companies that they would allow such a bias?  And why would these owners, who I would think are wealthier than the average person, support “liberal” ideas if these “liberal” ideas include higher taxes for those with higher incomes?  Do these owners not have control over their employees?  Is it the reporters, the employees, of these companies who are really running the show and not the owners?  If the owners of these media outlets wanted a non-biased presentation of the news they would then tend to hire and reward reporters who are non-biased.  Therefore non-biased reporters would be more likely to get jobs, as compared to reporters who are biased and there would be a monetary reward for reporters to be non-bias.  It seems to me that the alternative is that the owners of the media outlets want bias reporting or at least don’t care, but why would that be the case?  Even if there was not enough non-biased reporters the owners still have an upper hand in determining how the news is presented and could require their reporters to be non-biased.

      Tom,

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
In reply to: deenasdad
Fri, 10-25-2013 - 12:32am

However, it seems to me that if there is a “liberal” bias then either such a bias is profitable or the owners of most media outlets are not motivated by profit maximization.

Generally speaking, I tend to think it's the latter.  Looking at FOX and MSNBC... FOX destroys MSNBC (and every other liberal news program) in the ratings so if the decision was strictly profit based, you'd think MSNBC would adopt the FOX model.  Talk radio is another area where conservatives dominate and studies have shown that movies with a liberal bias are less profitable than "conservative" films.  So, if a conservative point of view is, or can be, demonstrably more profitable and an organization chooses a liberal point of view, I would surmise that profit isn't the driving factor.

Do these owners think so little of their companies that they would allow such a bias?

Apparently the answer to that is yes.

And why would these owners, who I would think are wealthier than the average person, support “liberal” ideas if these “liberal” ideas include higher taxes for those with higher incomes?

Yes, that is baffling, but apparently gross hypocrisy is fundamental to a liberal ideology.  Just listen to Warren Buffet support Democrat tax and spend policies and saying that his taxes should be higher while hiring an army of accountants to ensure that he pays a little in taxes as possible.  Or shine a light on Jeffery Immelt heading Obama's jobs council while laying off hundreds of GE employees and sheltering billions so that GE pays nothing in taxes.  Look at the men who head the liberal media organizations... I think you'll find most, if not all, are liberals themselves.

Do these owners not have control over their employees?  Is it the reporters, the employees, of these companies who are really running the show and not the owners?

I think the fish stinks from the head.  Liberal ownership promotes liberal management that fashions a liberal message.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
In reply to: tom.j.g
Fri, 10-25-2013 - 10:32am

      Deen, it seems to me that you are suggesting that the “liberal” owners of most media outlets are acting in opposition to their own best interest by following an unprofitable business plan and by promoting a cause which could increase the taxes they pay.  Hmm, interesting.  Let me know if I am incorrect.

      Tom,

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
In reply to: deenasdad
Sat, 10-26-2013 - 3:35am

You are exactly correct... except that I would proffer "less profitable" for "unprofitable."  Again... the MSNBC/FOX comparison.