Andrew Cline has some thoughts on the American edition of The Guardian referenced here recently. He also disputes the notion of systemic media bias:

Spend an hour at the AIM and FAIR web sites, and then ask yourself how each can find evidence of dreaded liberal or conservative bias if the news media is so overwhelmingly one way or the other.

He does see some dangerous structural biases. Well worth a read.

While I tend to see more liberal bias than Cline in the “mainstream” press, I agree with his overall point. Indeed, as I used to tell my students, Media is plural. Remember, Rush Limbaugh is part of “the media,” too.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    Or spend an hour on the MRC’s

    I think your key phrase was “systemic media bias.”

    Bernard Goldberg makes the point in his book that the “mainstream media” does not see themselves as biased because they believe everyone thinks like they do. ..Sorta like accents in the spoken word. I think people from rural Texas talk funny. They think I do. It is all a matter of your baseline.

    I find it quite funny indeed that the “elite media” is ALL TOO WILLING to point to conservatives at FOX but can not fathom that by doing so they are admitting they are more liberal. It seems a self evident point.

    But let’s attack the question…

    How would one define a “systemic media bias” in the mainstream media and how could it be confirmed?

    I think for the media to be convicted of having a “systemic media bias” you would have to prove that the mainstream media was considerably more liberal then the nation as a whole. A valid test would be to start up a network that was more conservative and see where the viewers went.

    Let’s say as a hypothetical that you started a brand new cable news network that gave a more conservative view then was offered by the mainstream media. And let’s say CNN lost its position at first place in cable news, CBS’s rating fell to an all time low and ABC’s ratings took a nose dive too.

    Then this HYPOTHETICAL would prove that the mainstream media was out of sync with America. Hypothetically speaking of course.

    Another valid test might be in the way they covered a President’s actions. One President from one party might say a country had Weapons of Mass Destruction and never be questioned. Another President from a different political party might say the same country had Weapons of Mass Destructions and the media would run stories suggesting he lied about it.

    Either of these 2 tests would be valid to see if the mainstream media really did have a bias. Darn shame we will never know.