Sunday, August 01, 2004

Press Bias

The American press is heavily biased toward the Democrats. As such, they have an abiding interest in slanting stories in Iraq and elsewhere so as to make it appear that things are going poorly when in fact they are going well.

In my ongoing discussions with various people I find that this essential point--that the press is utterly biased and not telling us the real truth--is continually disputed. Therefore I being today a desultory series of citations whose purpose will be to verify this fact.

Our first example comes straight out of the horse's mouth, the New York Times itself, one of the most highly biased of the biased.

'But do journalists really want John Kerry to defeat George W. Bush? It depends where they work and how you ask the question, at least according to the unscientific survey we conducted last weekend during a press party at the convention. We got anonymous answers from 153 journalists, about a third of them based in Washington.

When asked who would be a better president, the journalists from outside the Beltway picked Mr. Kerry 3 to 1, and the ones from Washington favored him 12 to 1. Those results jibe with previous surveys over the past two decades showing that journalists tend to be Democrats, especially the ones based in Washington. Some surveys have found that more than 80 percent of the Beltway press corps votes Democratic.

But political ideology isn't the only possible bias. Journalists also have a professional bias: they need good stories to make the front page and get on the air.

So we asked our respondents which administration they'd prefer to cover the next four years strictly from a journalistic standpoint. We expected the Washington journalists to strongly prefer Mr. Kerry, partly because they complain so much about the difficulty of getting leaks from the Bush White House, but mainly because any change in administration means lots of news.

Sure enough, the Washington respondents said they would rather cover Mr. Kerry, but by a fairly small amount, 27 to 21, and the other journalists picked Bush, 56 to 40. (A few others had no opinion.) The overall result was 77 for Bush, 67 for Mr. Kerry.

Why stick with the Bush administration? "You can't ask for a richer cast of characters to cover," one Washington correspondent said. "Kerry will be a bore after these guys." '


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