60% of Americans Think News Organizations Are Biased in Their Coverage

August 18th, 2005 1:38 AM
The New York Times is reporting on a series of Pew Research Studies that indicate that a majority of Americans think that news organizations are biased in their reporting:
The share of Americans who believe that news organizations are "politically biased in their reporting" increased to 60 percent in 2005, up from 45 percent in 1985, according to polls by the Pew Research Center.

Many people also believe that biased reporting influences who wins or loses elections. A new study by Stefano DellaVigna of the University of California, Berkeley, and Ethan Kaplan of the Institute for International Economic Studies at Stockholm University, however, casts doubt on this view. Specifically, the economists ask whether the advent of the Fox News Channel, Rupert Murdoch's cable television network, affected voter behavior. They found that Fox had no detectable effect on which party people voted for, or whether they voted at all.

An appealing feature of their study is that it does not matter if Fox News represents the political center and the rest of the media the liberal wing, or Fox represents the extreme right and the rest of the media the middle. Fox's political orientation is clearly to the right of the rest of the media. Research has found, for example, that Fox News is much more likely than other news shows to cite conservative think tanks and less likely to cite liberal ones.

Fox surely injected a new partisan perspective into political coverage on television.

Isn't it interesting that the studies singled out Fox News for special attention, as opposed to CNN, MSNBC or any of the big three networks. If you read the whole article, you almost get a sense of disappointment from the writer that the studies didn't find some sort of subversive result from the presence of Fox News.