Thursday, October 27, 2011

About that liberal media...

The New York Times' enjoyable FiveThirtyEight blog examined political newspaper endorsements this week, finding that U.S. newspapers as a group have trended in recent years toward an equal balance of nods for Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.

That makes sense, given that newspapers generally have been more attentive to offering voice that reflects all of their readership. But you might be surprised at which way the imbalance previously tilted.

The visual evidence, courtesy of Editor & Publisher:

From 1972-1988, editorial pages endorsed the Republican presidential candidate a vast majority of the time - 84 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight's calculators. In 1992, Bill Clinton gathered 57 percent of the nominations, but Republicans Bob Dole and George W. Bush each grabbed about 60 percent in the next two elections. The 2004 election was the closest in endorsements, while the most recent had the widest endorsement spread in 20 years.

Add it up, and in the last 10 elections, the "liberal" print media endorsed Republicans in seven of them.

Editor & Publisher notes that the Democratic share of circulation is larger than the Democratic share of endorsements, which means that newspapers with higher circulations are a little more likely to support Democrats. That corresponds with most larger Metro areas tending to vote more Democrat than Republican.

Neither FiveThirtyEight nor Editor & Publisher offered stats for endorsements in state and local elections. The Observer has endorsed Democratic presidents in recent memory - we endorsed no candidate in the 1972 race between Richard Nixon and George McGovern - but editorial page veterans tell me that state and local endorsements run about 60-40 for Democrats (including Republican Pat McCrory for N.C. governor and Republican Jim Pendergraph but not Democrat Jennifer Roberts in last year's county commission election).

That 60-40 figure is a guess, however, because we don't count. Each race is judged on the candidates and issues, not on evening things out on the D vs. R ledger. The final caveat: The goal of endorsements is to be informative more than persuasive. We're not telling you how to vote - just offering a perspective and some background that might assist you when you reach for the voting touchscreen.

Our endorsements for November are scheduled to begin Sunday with Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board races, followed next week by our picks in the mayoral and city council races.

Peter St. Onge


kantstanzya said...

Nice try Peter. First of all this is the NY Times telling us the media isn't liberal? Funny stuff. Then they cherry pick one race...the Presidential...and hope we will extrapolate from this that the media doesn't have a liberal bias. Hmm.

Many studies and books have been have been writen on the overwhelmingly liberal bias of the mainstream media. I didn't even think it was seriously questioned anymore.Even the liberals I know don't dispute it ...they just laugh about it.

But again...good job providing that counterbalance to the rest of the editorial staff we were counting on.

Wiley Coyote said...

What does that have to do with the Observer's incessant vilification of the GOP and endorsing every tax and spend Democrat in Mecklenburg County?

30 years ago I weighed 50 pounds less so what's your point?

Skippy said...

Nothing like going to the NY Times for "proof" there is no liberal bias.

Skippy said...
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Tvan said...

Funny how every time someone in the media from say NBC, ABC, CNN, CBS, NY Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune and many others ALWAYS say, "The conservative Fox News." But when they refer to each other, or even when Fox refers to one of them, the word "liberal" is never mentioned. Why? Because everyone under the sun knows they, and many others, are slanted towards the left.

As someone with a communications/journalism degree, most (if not all) of my professors were staunch liberals. I don't want a tilt towards ANY side...I just want the facts and let me make up my own mind.

Joshua McCorkle said...

Giving equal time to morons who openly disdain those pesky "facts" doesn't make you "fair and balanced". It just makes you entertaining, which is all some are going for.

Fred Flintstone said...

The "Liberal Media" is simply code for anything that doesn't endorse the official conservative/Republican agenda. It's not enough to simply play it down the middle with no bias either way as most legitimate mainstream media tries to do, oh no. If you don't actively cheerlead for the Republican agenda, you're classifed as "liberal". This is a relatively new phenominum and began in the 80's with Limbaugh's radio show and the vilification of government as personified by Ronald Reagan. It's only gotten worse in recent years.

In any event, this article should provide another nail in the coffin of the "liberal media" myth, but as you can see from these comments, once brainwashed, always brainwashed. It's fascinating how committed some people can be to completely false dogma as long as it's reinforced in every single aspect of their lives that they've been told they can trust.

Want to know why this country's political system is so dysfunctional? That's it in a nutshell.

Wiley Coyote said...

In any event, this article should provide another nail in the coffin of the "liberal media" myth, but as you can see from these comments, once brainwashed, always brainwashed.

Liberal media is a myth? about being brainwashed...did you renew your Ed Shultz, Larry O'Donnell, Chris Matthews and Rachel Madcow sheeple Kool Aid?

Go Independent and shed yourself such sheeple brainwashing...