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Author Topic: Ann Coulter's Slander
WmLambert
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I recently received a call from my local library cooperative that the book, Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right, which I had on hold for months is finally available. I'd apprecuiate any help you'd care to give me in reading it.

A review on SLANDER: Liberal Lies about the American Right is from an editorial website by Ruth of Ruthless.com and pretty much epitomizes the negative reviews of the book. This reviewer uses 100% Laughter by Intimidation as her sole debating strategy. Instead of taking any specific point that Ann Coulter provided (with footnotes and bibliography to make it easy to refute point-by-point if so-minded) This reviewer says that everybody knows what Coulter stated was "rumor, innuendo, and old fashioned bullsh*t."

quote:
... Coulter's idea of "reporting" is to take a preconceived idea, search for quotes (taken out of context, of course) to substantiate that idea, and pass it off as "brilliant revelation."... These people might have indeed uttered these statements, but it would take me all of three minutes to find as many quotes from the other side that also prove her point. In other words, for every dippy liberal, I can find an equally vapid conservative.
Then this person goes on to do exactly what she castigated Coulter for doing, except that her counter arguments are undocumented opinions without footnotes or even examples. Most of the thoughts from this web site and others like it, are purely based on disinformation from the Left, from those who accept it without documentation as if true.

For instance, the reviewer said that Coulter should be forced to admit there is no such thing as "liberal media bias" but yet did not address the facts Coulter presented with documentation that Dan Rather, on August 17, 2000, attributed rumors of an indictment of Bill Clinton to a "carefully orchestrated," "Republican-backed" leak one day before a Clinton-appointed judge admitted he was the leak. (Or scores of other instances Coulter documented of pejorative untrue media statements slanted to the Left - with no apologies or off-setting biased slants from the Right.) The reviewer made no reference to the public opinion polls of Bias (78% believe media is biased for the left), and the hard scientific auditing that confirm the Left-biased articles in the media outnumber unbiased and Right-slanted articles four to one. How do you argue that "quotes are taken out of context" when the quote is Charles Rangel attacking Republicans over support of bills by saying: "It's not 'sp*c' or 'n*gger' anymore. They say, 'Let's cut taxes!'"What other context allows a person to say such a thing and NOT be labelled as Liberal lies about the American Right?

If you want to see some of the most egregious Leftist slurs, some actual videos are available here. The sad response would be to see these media personalities making their statements and believe there was any substance behind their subjective commentary other than simple bias.

So what is the best truthful argument one can make against the Coulter book? If I were trying to formulate a response, it would be to show that not all leftists behave like this. That some exist who act repugnantly is irrefutable. The best Coulter-counter would be anyone on the Left contradicting the scare tactics, or the personal attacks, and apologizing for the over-the-top rhetoric. Anyone care to contribute any good examples of this? I've seen many instances of "piling on." It seems the more Liberals repeat a liberal lie, the more it gains acceptance. But going the other way? When Rangel calls conservatives rascists, who on the Left ever stood up to applaud the entire Civil Rights movement created and pushed through by the GOP in spite of the Democratic Party trying to derail it? Yet, try to find a Democrat who didn't agree with Rangel!

As I read the Coulter book, I am keeping a watchful eye open for those "Slanders" that Coulter is accused of making by misstating the quotations or things taken out of context. I am sure there are arguable points raised, and am actually looking forward to finding them. As of yet I haven't run across any. (Not even any "gray areas.")

At the same time - when reading the myriad of left-wing web sites that denigrate the Coulter book - you can't help but be aware of books started by the Left like the Miramax Insane Clown Posse that was stopped when Drudge released info on it and the Disney stock holders began asking questions about it. This book never saw the light of day, and some have commented that it was never meant to - but only to intimidate people who were trying to investigate Clinton during his Impeachment. There are simlar books that attack the Right. Are any of these worth reading? Coulter relates how if the Right's message is evil and stupid, then it should be easily debated and soundly thrashed - yet it seems to never be done - just the ad hominem attacks and politics of personal destruction. When FAIR staked its reputation on refuting Rush Limbaugh's statements, FAIR in turn was proven inaccurate and misleading, and the Limbaugh statements it disparraged were proven to be correct. One such instance from the Coulter book was the Mountain Lion killed after mauling a mother of a small child to death. Rush reported $9,000 was raised to help support the killed mother's child, but $21,000 was raised by Animal Rights Activists for the cubs of the lion that was killed. FAIR reported this was a fabrication - however it was 100% correct.

Is there anywhere an honest attempt to argue the merits of the Coulter book? A point-by-point refutation or rationalization of the "Slander?" It is fairly useless to try to equate the same thing happens on the Right as the name-calling from the Left, when all LexisNexus searches show only a third or fourth as many instances of such vituperousness from them. (And most of the time the negative statements from the Right are factual - and not mean-spirited lies.)

The meanest thing I've seen thrown up against Ann Coulter is ad hominem attacks about her attractiveness (or lack of any) and of how she once dated Bob Guccione. However when John Connelly started muck-raking for the Miramax ICP project, Guccione was loyal enough to Coulter to let her know what was happening.

I don't know the full story here yet, but am working toward understanding as best as I can. So far I am leaning way toward Ann Coulter being honest and truthful - and scoring some major points. Perhaps there are some strong counterpoints and I just haven't stumbled across them yet.


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TomDavidson
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Lambert, I have REPEATEDLY provided links and quotes challenging Coulter's book since its release, and you have steadfastly ignored them. Do you intend to actually follow up on these if I provide them again, or are you, as before, merely blowing smoke?

I recognize and respect that you idolize both Coulter and Limbaugh, but you have to understand, then, that it makes you very biased when it comes to considering challenges to their "authority."


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LetterRip
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This review investigates every footnote of chapter 2,
http://slannder.homestead.com/

See the links along the side...
The author of the above also includes links a number of commentarys by other authors.

I haven't read through the reviews, so I'm not sure what quality they are...

LetterRip

edit - corrected links, added a comment

[This message has been edited by LetterRip (edited December 01, 2002).]


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Baldar
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While I am no fan of Coulter, the website you pressed forward Letterip is fairly one sided rather than a "review" per say. Isn't there something a bit more even handed or are you buying that the site you presented is neutral?
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WmLambert
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LetterRip, thank you for your link, but it is, as Baldar intimated, a spin piece with hints of documentation, but not enough to accept as either reputable or honest. It is interesting that the author of this web site chose the second chapter, instead of the first. Coulter's first chapter is what I had just read before posting this thread - and it is very well documented and anchored to the footnotes very well. The second chapter is a much more "shoot from the hips" type thing, wherein Coulter makes some statements (totally redacted by the web poster), then shows the relevant thoughts that shows examples of what prompted her to those opinions. The actual footnoted statements are not redacted, just the Coulter opinions. The web poster then put his opinions in lieu of hers and used more ad hominem attacks to try to make his points.

The refutations are in the vein of impuning Coulter's veracity by pointing out that Coulter said the Civil Rights bills were passed against the efforts of Southern Liberal Democrats. And then dropped it at that point, as if the statement, itself, is so incredulous as to be spinworthy - however as we know - it was Everett Dirkson, the entire Republican party, and only a handful of Democrats who passed the bills, so Coulter was not refuted at all.

Another attempted refutation was portraying Coulter as misdirecting actual happenings. One such was her statement of what a NY Times writer said. The refutation took umbrage that the statement was not made in the Times, itself, but made no defense that the reporter did not make the statement. The point Coulter was making was the left-leaning of the writer which was correctly documented - however the refutation tried to negate it by not arguing the left-leaning part - but at where the statement was made.

LR, I've looked at many such refuation web sites, but have not found an honest one yet. There must be some out there.

TomD, I'm sorry if you are offended if I seemed to have ignoted any refutations you've made, but as we both know, at the time you made them, neither one of us had read the book. Now I am in the process of doing so, and any statements would be gratefully appreciated.

{And no offense meant here Tom, but you have shown in the past to have bought in on many liberal arguments without having done the proper homework to really judge them. Sometimes those of us who have lived through the actual events as they unfolded have a better ability to see when someone makes a statement based on spin rather than fact - even if the spin appears to be totally correct and has the PC stamp of approval on it.) As I said, I am able and willing to accept truth over spin when it is pointed out to me - but truth can be a quirky thing that doesn't always go the way people assume it should. (I'm still hung up over April Glaspie starting the original Gulf War, and not Suddam - as well as wondering how long it will take for history to vindicate Milosevic - so don't assume I always buy in to the conservative PC version.)


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TomDavidson
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Lambert, I think you've demonstrated in your previous post exactly how much leeway you're willing to give Coulter:

"Sure, this guy's pretty accurate, but he blatantly dislikes Coulter -- so of course he HAS to be wrong. And even if her footnotes in the second chapter really are all over the map, that's okay; he only chose the second chapter because, hey, the first chapter must have been too full of factual stuff, meaning she's entitled to a follow-up chapter of poor scholarship."

That's why I'm leery of getting into this discussion: I have the sneaking suspicion that ANY source I quote that contradicts Her Snarkyness is going to be summarily dismissed based on your own bias.


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LetterRip
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As I said I didn't take time to read it. I didn't mean to imply it was an objective review. I didn't find much in the way of objective reviews one way or the other. (Of course if it was crap, then calling it crap is an objective review <grin> ).

Here are other links, with bias one way and the other. She is either praised for her brilliant showing of the true colors of democrats or damned for her playing fast and loose with the references and generally being outrageous to sell more books.
http://www.cornellreview.org/viewart.cgi?num=221 http://www.dawsonspeek.com/archives/000282.php http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/archives/000617.html

Here are the amazon.com reviews and recommendations
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400046610/104-2754094-6738364

Here are the editorial reviews
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/books/1400046610/reviews/104-2754094-6738364

As one review noted

quote:
There's a certain amount of irony about an author who says "liberals prefer invective to engagement" also declaring, "The good part of being a Democrat is that you can commit crimes, sell out your base, bomb foreigners, and rape women, and the Democratic faithful will still think you're the greatest."

I know far more conservatives than liberals who prefer invective to engagement, but then I know more conservatives than liberals. Of course even those (on both 'sides') who prefer engagement generally have such entrenched preconceptions combined with typically shallow knowledge and understanding of the issues that engagement does little to resolve things. That, combined with a general suspicion of each other and a predisposition to think the worse of ones opponents motives quickly leads to nonproductive name calling and worse. Which then rapidly drives even those disposed to engagement and understanding to a defensive extreme of what values or beliefs are being attacked.

From her columns she appears to be an individual that has all of the worst qualities from the above.

Although you might consider her book enjoyable for pure entertainment value, depending on an author who has such an extensive bias in order to become informed on the subject seems questionable.

If you like, I can try and find what sort of scholarly work has been done on media bias.

LetterRip


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Baldar
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Your anecdotal evidence of knowing far more conservatives than liberals preferring invective isn't shared by many. I have been called a Nazi because of my stances. What is most interesting is that conservatives generally work from a pragmatic standpoint and agree that there are different ideals, but liberals often work from the standpoint that their views are the moral highground and hence those who disagree suffer from some moral deficiency. I have found such views particalarly galling and self righteous, and little more sparks me to anger than that.
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LetterRip
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Baldar,

quote:
Your anecdotal evidence of knowing far more conservatives than liberals preferring invective isn't shared by many.

Yep. As I noted, the majority of my acquaintances are conservative, thus if liberals and conservatives have an equal tendency towards invective would lead to me knowing many more invective conservatives than liberals. I'm sure if I lived in California or New York, my experience would probably be the opposite.

Conservative invective is generally in the form of claiming liberals hate Christians, want to corrupt children, kill babies, ruin families, want to bankrupt the nation, care nothing for the economy, love animals/trees over people, are luddites, are a bunch of pornographers, want racial preferences, ignore merit, are corrupt, are morallly bankrupt, are only interested in power, etc.

Liberal invective tends to be claims that conservatives favor the oppression of women, are greedy, selfish, care nothing for the poor, hate free speech, are elitist, power hungry, ignore long term prosperity for short term gain, are racist, care nothing for fairness, care nothing for the environment, ignore the future, etc.

LetterRip


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Baldar
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Actually those two paragraphs are fairly accurate for both parties that cross the line.
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TomDavidson
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"What is most interesting is that conservatives generally work from a pragmatic standpoint and agree that there are different ideals, but liberals often work from the standpoint that their views are the moral highground."

Your anecdotal evidence isn't shared by many.


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Baldar
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Good point, lets say thats how I feel when a liberal is talking to me.
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WmLambert
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LetterRip, thanks for the links. After pursuing each one of them - they do seem to concur that most of Coulter's attributions are honest, but her style of presentation is over the top. Several pointed out that this "over the top" style is a good thing, as she is about the only conservative willing to throw barbs and one-liners for the fun of it, and expect her readers or listeners to understand when she is kidding. They pointed out that the opposite happens all the time with no comment - so her flamboyance is appropriate and not necessarily bad.

BTW - you do realize that the pullquote you noted was not over the top - just a very forthright statement of all the charges officially levelled against Clinton (Almost all of them accurate - probably also the rape charge.) at a time when the liberals were defending his character.

TomD:

quote:
...I think you've demonstrated in your previous post exactly how much leeway you're willing to give Coulter:

"Sure, this guy's pretty accurate, but he blatantly dislikes Coulter -- so of course he HAS to be wrong. And even if her footnotes in the second chapter really are all over the map, that's okay; he only chose the second chapter because, hey, the first chapter must have been too full of factual stuff, meaning she's entitled to a follow-up chapter of poor scholarship."

That's why I'm leery of getting into this discussion: I have the sneaking suspicion that ANY source I quote that contradicts Her Snarkyness is going to be summarily dismissed based on your own bias.


Sorry, tom, you misread my post and totally misunderstood the point.

As proven by the other reviewers, her documentation was accurate in the first chapter. The reason I said the one reviewer attacking the 2nd chapter was wierd was because the 2nd chapter was basically a subjective one, and the documentation was not the same kind of thing as the 1st chapter. The 2nd was moral indignation because of what was proven in the 1st chapter. It's like getting a murder confession from OJ and then ignoring it because Fuhrman read a screenplay for an audition that had the "N" word in it. You can do it. You can even convince a jury there is logic behind it - doesn't make it right.

I note that you, yourself in one of our first threads together stated that you "hated" Reagan and was glad that he was dying of Alzheimer's. You threw out a lot of incorrect preconceived notions about his lack of intelligience (photographic memory), his sleeping on the job (never ever took naps during the day), and how his own staff thought he was becoming feebleminded (Never happened - his Alzheimer's was diagnosed long after leaving office - and even then was just the barest onset.)

To your credit - I think you have changed your mind on most of those convictions - and no longer laugh at his impending very sad death - but the first unreserved opinions you put forward ARE those liberal slanders that Coulter speaks of. That you no longer push the envelope in that direction anymore is a credit to you. However that same mindset was shown to exist in most of the liberal reviews of Coulter's book.

Her second and third chapters are, as I mentioned, mush less scholarly than the first chapter - however I've really seen no outright disinformation (unless it's parsing what the term "is" is in the Earnhardt article in the NY Times.)

[This message has been edited by WmLambert (edited December 02, 2002).]


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LetterRip
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WMLambert,

??? Your interpretation of the links does not square with my reading of them. The Cornell Review made no pretense of examining the accuracy of the claims.

The second link claimed to be 'fact checking the fact checkers', but he made no claims as to her accuracry, merely the accuracy of a critic of hers.

A specific innaccuracy is noted by others in the replies.

The third was a partial contrast of two different reviews, again no fact checking.

The amazon reviews make no mention of accuracy checking.

So... where do you derive your conclusions from???

It appears to be wide agreement that she has an 'over the top style', but there seems much criticism as to her accuracy, and little to suggest that her references support her claims.

If you wish to actually become informed about whether media bias exists, and to what extent it does and in what direction, her book does not seem likely to be a reputable source.

LetterRip


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LetterRip
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Okay,

I found a blog that links to many critiques
http://www.anncoulter.blogspot.com

I found spinsanity to be worthwhile, haven't read any of the others
http://www.spinsanity.org/columns/20020713.html

LetterRip


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TomDavidson
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"I note that you, yourself in one of our first threads together stated that you 'hated' Reagan and was glad that he was dying of Alzheimer's. You threw out a lot of incorrect preconceived notions about his lack of intelligience (photographic memory), his sleeping on the job (never ever took naps during the day), and how his own staff thought he was becoming feebleminded (Never happened - his Alzheimer's was diagnosed long after leaving office - and even then was just the barest onset.)

To your credit - I think you have changed your mind on most of those convictions..."

--

Okay, I've let this slide for some time because it really isn't a big deal, but I just want to put it to rest.

First off, I NEVER said I was glad Reagan was dying. That was your interpretation of a comment I made regarding his Alzheimer's -- a misinterpretation that I leapt to correct, mind you -- and not any actual sentiment of mine.

Moreover, I NEVER complained that Reagan slept on the job, or that his staff complained about him; you're conflating me with other liberals, I'm sure, and your own cut-and-paste replies to similar arguments do you a gross disservice here. In other words: you're confusing me with other liberals, something that hurts both of us.

My specific statement, the one that got you all up in arms, was this: given Reagan's Alzheimer's diagnosis and his own legendary "lack of recall" while sworn in on the stand during the Iran-Contra hearings, I would prefer to believe that he was in fact suffering from the onset of his disease while in office than think that he was knowingly committing high treason.

Furthermore, I still loathe and despise Reagan. I think he was one of the worst presidents of the century, and certainly one of the worst in my living memory. I still rather wholeheartedly believe that he -- or at least his staff -- did in fact knowingly negotiate with Iran during his first presidential campaign, and believe that his misapplication of Keynesian theory has created a whole throng of yammering pseudo-economists who're more than willing to cloak Social Darwinism in the mantle of Adam Smith.

This is all I have EVER said about Reagan. My position on this, in fact, has not changed; it hasn't even particularly evolved, although I'm no longer as hostile to him as I used to be.

The changes in position you attribute to me -- and which I've let slide before because, as I said earlier, I just didn't care all that much -- are not in fact alterations of positions that I ever held, and a cursory search on Hatrack and Ornery should make that clear to you.

To give you a metaphor: it's like my saying that you're willing to concede nowadays, only after strenuous argument, that Bill Clinton didn't have Vince Foster murdered. To my knowledge, you've NEVER claimed that Clinton ordered such a thing -- but many people who share your sentiments HAVE made that claim, and it wouldn't be surprising if I conflated you.


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LetterRip
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Here are more critiques from spinsanity of other pundits such as Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh,
http://www.spinsanity.org/topics/#Pundits

They also refute innane critiques of Politicians such as Bush and Daschle.

They seem to be fairly nonpartisan. I'm beginning to like this site...

LetterRip


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WmLambert
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Thank you ,LetterRip, for the additional links. I did read all of them, (however a few links were broken or not responding.) It appears the refutations mostly center around only a few statements she made that were incorrectly attributed, or when doublechecked - the results came up differently. These few do not contradict the huge number of correct quotations that are unargued. Is there a marginal percentage of incorrect attributions which make all the statements unfounded? Perhaps. I doublechecked some of the doublechecking and came away a bit upset. For instance in the book Coulter specifically noted exactly how she did a LexisNexus search - by looking up comparative words - like "Conservative Republican" vs. "Liberal Democrat", etc. She gave her results and printed the numbers. The refutations challenged that and came up with much larger numbers that tended to even out the perceived bias that Coulter was referring to.

It appears that if you search for the phrase "Liberal Democrat" you get Coulter's number. If you do a word search for "Liberal" and "Democrat" you get what the refuters say. Too much fast and loose for me.

As I mentioned, the main argument made against the book was that the NY Times covered the Dale Earnhardt death differently than other papers. She said it was not printed on the same day as the accident and his name did not appear on the front page when it did appear. The refutations proved that the NYT DID print an announcement of his death on the same day and on the front page. But even the refutations noted it was not the same screaming headlines as in other papers - but was printed "below the fold" and without his name in the title of the article - just in the copy. I don't know if the NYT has an earlier edition that didn't have it at all or not, but it cetainly was printed that same day on the front page. Coulter alluded to elitism in the report, and the refuters noted the report was written by a Southern writer of impeccable credentials.

The other major contradictions were generally about specific statements made by media personalities that were paraphrased or not alluded to properly.

Everyone agrees her style is provocative and at the same time, evocative of the Left she is criticising. I do find it telling that out of the 35 pages of attibution, only a handful is challenged, and some of those arguable. On the whole, I recognize some misstatements on Coulter's part - but don'r put them on the same plane as Rangel' language, or carefully crafted strategy to damage reputations of witnesses rather than deal with crimes.

TomD, I apologize for saying you said you hated Reagan, if you remember it differently. We strongly disagreee on your assessment of his presidency, but I'll wait for history to straighten you out. BTW - you may not have precisely stated the things I mentioned - but you certainly crafted your words to indicate exactly how you felt and what you believed, and denigrated Reagan with light-hearted japes and sneers - but I confess you probably left enough wiggle room to not appear hateful.

Please don't bother bashing Reaganomics because it offends a Keynesian worldview, though. Reagan certainly deserves better than that.

[This message has been edited by WmLambert (edited December 03, 2002).]


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LetterRip
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WMLambert,

the article I read noted that she was often using columnists and editorials as the sources she was criticising.

Columns and editorials are not reporting. That would be like claiming Rush Limbaugh proves there is a conservative media bias.

That is a major error, which makes questionable the validity of any of her commentary.

Also, even if there were some articles that could be legitimately claimed (which is certainly plausible) to be biased against conservatives, it almost a certainty that there have been articles biased against liberals.

To do a proper analysis, one would have to take a large cross section of media, and randomly sample a large number publications and publishing venues (Say 100 papers from random days for each publisher). Score them by a predetermined criteria, etc.

It doesn't sound like she attempted to do any sort of worthwhile research, and her claims to document bias when using columnists and editorials as sources makes her entire work suspect.

I'll go ahead and find some real research if you are interested...

LetterRIp


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LetterRip
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Here is a useful report on the personal leanings of Washington based correspondents
http://www.fair.org/reports/journalist-survey.html

They are more to the right on economic and entitlement issues then the general public and they are to the left of the public on environmental issues.

The survey doesn't cover other issues such as freedom of speech, which they would obviously be more left, nor a slew of other issues.

They largely self identify as centrists on both economic and social issues, but with more to the left on social issues and more to the right on economic issues.

I would be interested in a survey that covers many major issues. Possibly like the item that was posted a couple of weeks ago.

I'd also like a large scale examination of papers, tv, magazine and radio reports. To see what sort of bias, if any exists in each type for various topics, and to weight them by circulation. I'd also like to see how many consider pundits or nonmainstream media (such as indy media - or internet sources) 'news sources' and use them as their primary source of information for forming opinions on issues of economics and social policy.

I'd be willing to bet there is a substantial conservative economic bias, a substantial pro-corporate bias, a moderate liberal bias for environmental issues and possibly abortion, and fairly mixed on other issues.

If we went by circulation I suspect that the conservative sources have greater circulation, and that if we go by impact (ie readership that with high influence) then the conservative biased sources would greatly outweigh the liberal biased sources.

LetterRip


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LetterRip
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Apparently,

Coulter lifted the idea of searching for liberal and conservative from Goldberg. When Goldberg made the claim someone decided to research it, and here were the results
http://www-csli.stanford.edu/~nunberg/bias.html

Sort of blows Coulter and Goldbergs point out of the water.

Also note, that Lexis-Nexis contains foreign papers written in english. Conservative and Liberal mean different things in foreign countries than they do in the US, retry your search excluding non-US papers.

LetterRip

[This message has been edited by LetterRip (edited December 03, 2002).]


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TomDavidson
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"Everyone agrees her style is provocative and at the same time, evocative of the Left she is criticising."

Who is this "everyone" of whom you speak?


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WmLambert
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Hmmmm. There is liberal/conservative leanings - and there is alleged media bias. Isn't Coulter's most salient point that the liberal leanings are given free rein, and the conservative leanings are not? No one has argued that Coulter is not accurate when she quotes the exact words of liberals who say reprehensible things about their conservative colleagues. I am not seeing a sensible refutation of what she has written. I've been over and over the links LetterRip provided, and in general - the critics of her book do not say she misquoted liberals. Go back and reread the critiques - that is not what they have been saying. They don't say liberals haven't said the things she quoted. (Oh, sure - a few have - but not enough to put a dent in the mountain of evidence provided.) They say that there is not as many of them doing this as she represents. ... Or that as many Conservatives are guilty of the same thing to weaken her argument that Liberals do slander their opponents on a routine basis, and Conservatives, by and large do not.

Please follow my logic here. If I say that Miguel Rodriguez was the only formal investigator of the Vince Foster death, and that he concluded that Foster did not die by his own hand at Ft. Marcy Park, how is this statement regarded? It is totally true and there is no way to negate it. The facts are clear. I have not, nor did Rodriguez, place any blame on anyone. There are many directions to go with this statement - but the one I see the most is an ad hominem attack on anyone bringing it up. Are the facts ever challenged? Occasionally someone will look into why Starr dropped it from the Impeachment proceedings, or why Janet Reno distanced herself from it. Someone might notice that William Sessians was fired as FBI head the day before Foster's death, and no one replaced him until after the so-called investigation was dropped. Up until that time Nussbaum was patently running the FBI. The facts, themselves, however, are undeniable. Yet, this is lumped in with conservative bias as if it is equivalent to Charles Rangel calling conservatives bigots. There are legitimate issues that are not name-calling - and there is illegitimate name-calling. Coulter called the name-callers on the carpet - and their best defense is that she is name-calling them for being name-callers. As I mentioned before - I want to see the evidence of a good liberal taking issue with a liberal name-caller instead of piling on. The issue of how many times a newspaper prints the word "liberal" as opposed to "conservative" may be interesting but it doesn't say how many times one was used pejoratively, and how many times one was used as a simple discriptor.

It seems we can look at several sets of Media bias data. One is all the computer searches which purports to prove equal and even-handed treatment. I have to admit, I lived through all this reporting and have not seen fairness. Am I that unaware to have misread the Media during all this time? Is it possible that the Media leans to the Left philosophically, but does not allow any bias to creep into its reporting?

The one thoroughly researched finding I can safely state is that the Media is Left. Is its reporting reflective of that? Studies which deal with the Media prior to 1992 is uncontrovertible. (much of this is archived at mediaresearch.org) One early study by S. Robert Lichter, then with George Washington University, and Stanley Rothman of Smith College, released a groundbreaking survey of 240 journalists at the most influential national media outlets — including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS — on their political attitudes and voting patterns. The numbers are extreme - but most at least 10 years old.

  • 81 percent of the journalists interviewed voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election between 1964 and 1976.
  • In the Democratic landslide of 1964, 94 percent of the press surveyed voted for President Lyndon Johnson (D) over Senator Barry Goldwater (R).
  • In 1968, 86 percent of the press surveyed voted for Democrat Senator Hubert Humphrey.
  • In 1972, when 62 percent of the electorate chose President Richard Nixon, 81 percent of the media elite voted for liberal Democratic Senator George McGovern. 
  • In 1976, the Democratic nominee, Jimmy Carter, captured the allegiance of 81 percent of the reporters surveyed while a mere 19 percent cast their ballots for President Gerald Ford.
  • Over the 16-year period, the Republican candidate always received less than 20 percent of the media’s vote. 

  • Fifty-four percent placed themselves to the left of center, compared to only 19 percent who chose the right side of the spectrum.
  • Fifty-six percent said the people they worked with were mostly on the left, and only 8 percent on the right — a margin of seven-to-one.
  • Only one percent strongly agreed that environmental problems were ovestated, while a majority of 54 percent strongly disagreed.
  • 90 percent favored abortion.
  • 80 percent supported "strong affirmative action for blacks.
  • 54 percent did not regard adultery as wrong, compared to only 15 percent who regarded it as wrong.
  • In 1992, nine of the White House correspondents surveyed voted for Democrat Bill Clinton, two for Republican George H. W. Bush, and one for independent Ross Perot.
  • In 1988, 12 voted for Democrat Michael Dukakis, one for Bush.
  • In 1984, 10 voted for Democrat Walter Mondale, zero for Ronald Reagan.
  • In 1980, eight voted for Democrat Jimmy Carter, two voted for Ronald Reagan.
  • In 1976, 11 voted for Carter, two for Republican Gerald Ford.

In April of 1996, 139 Washington bureau chiefs and congressional correspondents — by an incredible margin of nine-to-one — overwhelmingly cast their presidential ballots in 1992 for Democrat Bill Clinton over Republican incumbent George Bush.

  • 89 percent of Washington-based reporters said they voted for Bill Clinton in 1992. Only seven percent voted for George Bush, with two percent choosing Ross Perot.
  • Asked "How would you characterize your political orientation?" 61 percent said "liberal" or "liberal to moderate." Only nine percent labeled themselves "conservative" or "moderate to conservative."
  • 59 percent dismissed the Republican's 1994 Contract with America "an election-year campaign ploy." Just three percent considered it "a serious reform proposal." 

In January 1998, Editor & Publisher, the preeminent media trade magazine, conducted a poll of 167 newspaper editors across the country.

  • In 1992, when just 43 percent of the public voted Democrat Bill Clinton for President, 58 percent of editors surveyed voted for him.
  • In 1996, a minority (49 percent) of the American people voted to reelect Clinton, compared to a majority (57 percent) of the editors.

the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) surveyed 1,037 reporters at 61 newspapers of all sizes across the nation, asking "What is your political leaning?" Results of the survey were published in ASNE's1997 report The Newspaper Journalists of the ‘90s, highlights of which appeared in the MRC's May 1997 MediaWatch. 

  • n 1988, 62 percent of journalists identified themselves as "Democrat or liberal" or "lean to Democrat or liberal." In 1996, 61 percent said they were liberal/Democrat or leaning that way.
  • In 1988, 22 percent identified themselves as "Republican or conservative" or "lean to Republican or conservative." By 1996 that figure had declined to 15 percent.

Princeton Survey Research Associates released in late June 2001:

  • Members of the media were four times as likely to identify themselves as "liberal" than as "conservative:"
  • Members of the media were more than seven times more likely to identify themselves as "Democrat" than as "Republican:"

Does all this this support Coulter? Well it doesn't refute her.

From what I see from the book, itself, as I read it, Is that it is highly entertaining and premised on pretty strong documentation - the critiques by political adversary groups included. Some of the criticisms are well-written and makes one think about the best way to look for truth in politics. Most of the critics miss the point that Coulter's quotes ARE accurate - but her explanations of WHY they were made may be too incendiary themselves to allow for cogent debate. There are some inaccuraies - but a very small amount on the whole.

Her early statement that if liberals disagree with conservative issues, then they should debate the issues and not attack the personalities is a good one. If both sides did that, I think we would be far better off.

[This message has been edited by WmLambert (edited December 04, 2002).]


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LetterRip
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WMLambert,

we are sort of talking past each other. Lets do a thought experiment. Suppose there is a paper whose staff is 90% liberal, and 10% conservative. If the 10% conservatives do all of the political and economic reporting. Whereas the 90% does home and garden, and sports, etc., then if reporters bias their writings according to their political leanings the important issues would have a major conservative bias, even though the newspaper as a whole would have a major liberal bias.

That is why the sample of what reporters are being surveyed is so important.

We have no idea how the sample was chosen, nor how the questions were written, nor the response rate, nor any number of other important questions.

The reason the survey results I linked to was worthwhile, is because all of that information is included.

Here is the only information I can find on the Lichter and Rothman (LR) study,

quote:
The LR study violated every scientific standard you could name. They claimed to be studying a "media elite," but actually sampled media personnel who had anything to do with media "content," so most of them may be ordinary reporters (they failed to disclose the composition of their sample). LR compared their "media elite" with a sample of middle and upper levels of corporate management, not with comparable professionals like teachers, let alone non- professional "middle Americans." Their questions were ambiguous and loaded (for a good analysis, see Herbert Gans, "Are U.S. Journalists Dangerously Liberal?," Columbia Journalism Review, Nov.-Dec. 1985), making one wonder why anyone would participate in this survey. And in fact, Ben Bradlee, the top editor of the Washington Post--one of the papers allegedly sampled by LR--claimed that he couldn't locate a single employee who had participated in the LR survey.

http://www.zmag.org/ZMag/articles/jan97herman.htm

If the above is accurate, then the study was garbage. Alas, I can't seem to find any details of the L&R study information online. (Nor Herbert Gans critique referenced above...)

As to the 1996 studys, could you state the source so I can research it?

For the 1998 study

In 1992

quote:
The popular vote was a much closer race, with Clinton/Gore receiving 44,908,254 and Bush/Quayle receiving 39,102,343. Additionally, Ross Perot received nearly 20 million votes.

Your other quote notes the extremely small number of votes for Perot by the media, so I suspect that is the reason for the difference and I'd bet that Bush also got a larger percentage of media votes than Bush got in the popular vote.

In 1996 again it distorts appearances by ignoring that media vote less for third party candidates. Also 7% is not 'significant' for this sample size.

I'll check the other references later. However it is clear that the sources quoting the statistics are intentionally misleading you, and seem to be using questionable quality surveys to 'support' their claims.

LetterRip


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TomDavidson
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"No one has argued that Coulter is not accurate when she quotes the exact words of liberals who say reprehensible things about their conservative colleagues."

I didn't think this was a salient argument. After all, Coulter herself says reprehensible things about her liberal colleagues -- and, as we've demonstrated elsewhere in links on this thread, conservatives in general are far more likely to do that in the first place.


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Baldar
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Considering the lives and reputations the Clintons themselves actively destroyed or attempted to destroy in their self centered tirades, the negative reaction to Ann Coulters book is a bit hypocritical given the slavish defense of Clinton during those years in the face of reality. She might be forceful, but that doesn't mean she is inaccurate, and while you might argue with her interpetation of the facts, you cannot argue with the facts themselves. Many of the critiques against her (and some for her) take the ideological position that she is wrong (or right) rather than say her facts are wrong or her interpetation of those facts are wrong. If the context of her argument is incorrect (in other words she took the phrases out of context) then there is a legitimate stance to take with her work, however it seems to be buried and hard to pull out, it makes me want to buy the book actually and see what the hub bub is about. I guess any publicity......
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Baldar
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Oh and Tom:

You do imply often and your implications are often worse than the phrases you use so it is dishonest for you to say it is not so. Like the murder of Thomas Becket you often seem to allude to "who will rid me of this meddlesome priest" and then claim innocense when someone takes up the implication. For someone who used to be a journalist it is difficult to assume that you do not know the impact of the words you write.

Finally:

Ronald Reagan, great president, won the cold war, ensured a prosperous economy for the next 20+ years and helped change American attitudes from depression to "patriotism".

Thought you would like that.


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TomDavidson
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Honestly, regarding Reagan, I couldn't really care less. I expect conservatives to revere the man, and don't get too excited when they do.

"the negative reaction to Ann Coulters book is a bit hypocritical given the slavish defense of Clinton during those years in the face of reality."

You'll notice that the people criticizing Coulter's book on this site are not people who mounted a slavish defense of Clinton.


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Baldar
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That may be I will have to review the critics more closely.
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LetterRip
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I may have to go borrow it from the library as well, even though I find her columns to be of such low quality that I expect reading it to be rather excruciating.

I don't like arguing about something based on impressions I've gotten from brief quotes and reviews, even if ultimately those quotes and reviews are accurate reflections.

LetterRip


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LetterRip
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Okay I looked up the ASNE data
http://www.asne.org/kiosk/reports/97reports/journalists90s/survey19.html

They have a bunch of really good research. The downside is, they didn't think to include what is of interest to us, namely the leanings of the reporters and editors of business and political reporting.

quote:
T '88 F W B H AA G
Democrat or liberal 36 34 44 35 41 39 50 64
Republican or conservative 8 11 6 8 1 2 3 3
Lean to Democrat/liberal 25 28 25 25 30 35 30 22
Lean to Republican/conservative 7 11 5 7 2 6 5 1
Independent 24 17 19 25 25 18 12 9

They did note in their discussion that editors were quite a bit more conservative than the rest of newspaper employees, but I didn't see any numbers.

I'm guessing that T is total, 88' were the previous surveys results, F - female, W - white, B - black, H - hispanic, AA - asian american, G - no idea.

I didn't find the PSRA study referenced. I'll look some more later,

LetterRip


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Etan Moonstar
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My guess looking at the numbers, and given the inclusion of the other major minority groups, is G stands for gay.
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LetterRip
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I found the PSRA reference
http://www.kff.org/content/2001/3146/toplines.pdf

Sample size - 300. The percentages were 25% self identified as liberal, and 6% as conservative, with 59% as moderate and 11% as Don't know/refused. With that small a sample size and with the sampling method they used claiming a ratio is extremely irresponsible.

Here are the actual survey results for the three groups surveyed

D3 In politics today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, an independent or
something else?
PUBLIC POLICY MEDIA
28 Republican 24 4
34 Democrat 43 27
21 Independent 26 55
12 Something else 5 5
2 Don’t know 0 0
2 Refused 2 9
D4 Would you describe your political beliefs as conservative, moderate or liberal?

quote:
PUBLIC POLICY MEDIA
35 Conservative 18 6
37 Moderate 52 59
21 Liberal 25 25
5 Don’t know 2 1
2 Refused 3 10

So policy makers and Media both self identify more often as Moderates instead of Conservative (The difference in liberal self identification is statistically insignificant from the publics...).

So again, it looks like your sources were misusing/misrepresenting the data,

LetterRip

edit corrected link to the report itself

[This message has been edited by LetterRip (edited December 04, 2002).]


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LetterRip
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I think what we can conclude is that self description of philosophical affiliation isn't particularly useful for media and politicians, and probably the general public.

To find out bias or leanings on specific issues and how it differs from the public, I think we'll need much more detailed research.

Is someone who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal a conservative or a liberal?

Even using other labels as indicators on specific issues like pro-choice and pro-life are problematic, since people can have the exact same beleifs on the issue and equally believe themselves to be pro-choice or pro-life. (Ie Pete's 'pro brain waves'). What I'd like to see is something that gives specific circumstances, for instance

Abortion should not be allowed in any circumstances.
Abortion is should only be allowed prior to the establishment of fetal brainwaves
Abortion should be allowable only in the case of medical neccesity

etc.

I think this fine grained information would actually serve some useful purpose, and would probably show a lot more similarity in peoples beliefs than would be suspected from using the loaded labels that are so common.

LetterRip


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WmLambert
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The key to the data in the ASNE research:

  • T = Percentages of the total responses from the original workforce sample (n = 1,037).
  • '88 = Overall percentages from the 1988 ASNE workforce survey (n = 1,200).
  • F = Female journalists in the workforce sample (n = 379).
  • W = Whites in the workforce sample (n = 903).
  • B = Blacks in the workforce sample and further survey of black journalists (n = 154).
  • H = Hispanics in the sample and further survey of Hispanic journalists (n = 92).
  • AA = Asian Americans in the sample and further survey of Asian American journalists (n = 98).
  • G = Gays, lesbians and bisexuals from the sample and further survey of gay/lesbian/bisexual journalists (n = 181).
Please note that this research included an oversampling for assurance of accuracy, and included late entries submitted after the closing date of the research project due to errors in the mail. There was an effort to be totally representative with this research, so great lengths were gone to to get valid demographic samples.

The results of this research was:

  • "In 1996 only 15 percent of the newsroom labeled itself conservative/Republican or leaning in that direction, down from 22 percent in 1988" when the ASNE last conducted a comprehensive survey. Those identifying themselves as independent jumped from 17 to 24 percent while the percent calling themselves "liberal/Democrat" or "lean" that way held steady, down one point to 61 percent.
  • The bigger the paper, the more liberal the staff: "On papers of at least 50,000 circulation, 65 percent of the staffs are liberal/Democrat or lean that way. The split at papers of less than 50,000 is less pronounced: still predominantly liberal, but 51-23 percent."
  • "Women are more likely than men to fall into one of the liberal/Democrat categories," as just 11 percent said they were conservative or leaned that way. Minorities "tend to be more liberal/Democrat," with a piddling 3 percent of blacks and 8 percent of Asians and Hispanics putting themselves on the right. The least liberal: 20 percent of those 50-plus in age were conservative or leaned that way.

LetterRip,in your posts you posited that the research hasn't broken down if the respondents were political, government, or business writers, so that the biases pointed to may not be germane. The ASBE report does cover that - sort of. Firstly, the breakdown of respondents is heavily weighted toward Reporter and editor. it seems that the bulk of the people who responded are exactly those ones who are the most germane to perpetuating bias. Coming from another direction, question 21 asks: In your own perception, the editorial page positions of your newspaper usually are To the left of the prevailing view of our readers? or To the right of the prevailing view of our readers?... and the reply came back an average 15-20% more slanted to the Left.

Your other point that the majority of respondents saw themselves as "Moderates" is on a double-edged blade. Please recall that one of the results brought out in all of these studies is that the Left sees itself as moderate. This was borne out by the observation that a liberal Republian is often called a moderate, while someone who is truly centrist in his party is almost always refered to as conservative. The extremists in either party are often paired up with a pejorative label, but it is the self image as much as a pejorative label that is relevant. How many respondents are unwittingly calling liberals moderates, and moderates conservative?

As for your other question LR, I agree that demographical syrveys are shoddy and generally worthless attempts to prove some agenda that a client wants to sell. What IS NOT asked in these reports is often far more important than what IS asked. The abortion question you posed is a good one, but I would also add: Abortion is not one of the expressly granted responsibilities of government to monitor or try to control.


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LetterRip
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WMLambert,

quote:
Firstly, the breakdown of respondents is heavily weighted toward Reporter and editor. it seems that the bulk of the people who responded are exactly those ones who are the most germane to perpetuating bias.

Yes, but not by type of reporter or editor, nor the circulation of the paper, which is where the crux of the matter is. A political reporter and home and garden reporter are going to have vastly different impacts, just as 10,000 reader paper is going to have less impact than a million readers.

[/QUOTE] Coming from another direction, question 21 asks: In your own perception, the editorial page positions of your newspaper usually are To the left of the prevailing view of our readers? or To the right of the prevailing view of our readers?... and the reply came back an average 15-20% more slanted to the Left. [/QUOTE]

Yes but again it is important what the circulation/impact group is.

There is also the problem of skewed perception, repetition, and definition.

Is science liberal or conservative? Is the scientific consensus on evolution a liberal view?

I know many Christians who would label any discussion of origins or evolution that is not creation based to be 'liberal' and any discussion of abortion or birth control to be 'liberal'.

What type of view on economics constitutes 'liberalism'? What about war, foreign policy, education?

Unfortunately 'liberals', 'moderates', and 'conservatives', have different definitions of what type of views compose each group, and there is a great deal of variation within each group of what constitutes that group.

So aggregate usage of self and other perception with poorly defined terms are unreliable methods for determining what type of bias if any the media has.

quote:
Please recall that one of the results brought out in all of these studies is that the Left sees itself as moderate. This was borne out by the observation that a liberal Republian is often called a moderate, while someone who is truly centrist in his party is almost always refered to as conservative.

Not so. The research I linked clearly showed a bias in identifying individuals who had political views to the 'left' as being liberal, whereas labels of conservative were far less frequent for individuals with political views to the 'right'. This shows a clear bias opposite to that you suggest.

quote:
How many respondents are unwittingly calling liberals moderates, and moderates conservative?

The politicians showed the same pattern of a much larger self identification as moderate and much lower self identification as conservative. However, when party idenfication was shown (which is fairly obvious for politicians) The moderates were almost all republicans. (Whereas the media still identified as independent). Thus those who would be considered conservative by your 'person on the street' usage, self identify as moderates.

quote:
Abortion is not one of the expressly granted responsibilities of government to monitor or try to control.

Agreed, but many views on personal, social, and scientific issues is an area where many claims of bias originate. I would like coverage on a broad base of social, scientific, and political and personal issues. I think it would also be interesting to get the individual to label each view that are agreeing or disagreeing with as conservative, right of center, centrist, left of center, and liberal.

I think this would be a great research project. Maybe I'll see if I can get the PEWS Trust or someone to underwrite it.

It would be really interesting to expand the sample so that we include populations and press from foreign countrys.

LetterRip


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WmLambert
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LetterRip, in that bent... one of my favorite observances of the left/liberal/right/conservative mindset came out during Peristroika, when the Russian army was firing artillery shells into the building where the hard-liner Communist Party members of parliament were trying to raise a cabal to overthrow Yeltsin. The hard-liners were enraged by the move toward free-trade and capitalism and away from the Communist Party control of everything.

What was funny to me was our own media constantly referring to the hard-liners as extreme-rightwingers. Excuse me - but by definition, would there ever be a better example of an extreme LEFT wing? Our media was so used to pairing the word "extreme" with "rightwing" that they really couldn't conceive of anybody - nevermind that they were communists - be called Left.

Let's see... to their thinking... Ronald Reagan calling for an end to the "Evil Empire" = extreme right wing. Hard-line Communists who would like to overthrow the USA = same thing... And to this date - not a one of them in the media ever grokked what that reportage said about themselves.


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TomDavidson
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The thing is, Lambert, those hard-core military junta types WERE the right wing of Russian politics.

You're not drawing the line in the right place. It's not a party's economic policy that determines its "wing" status.


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Tom Grey - Tigger
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Tom,
You, also, are not really saying what "wing" means. Nor do accept the challege of attempting to define "extreme left".

Though I think many would agree that Nader supporters were "extreme left".

LR, there were interesting links on Ann C, including a few of her inaccuracies, like (from spinsanity):
The American Prospect's weblog, Tapped, noted that Coulter's claim that "Between 1995 and 2001, the New York Times alone ran more than one hundred articles on 'Selma' alone" is demonstrably false. Tapped also reported the inaccuracy of her claim that "In the New York Times archives, 'moderate Republican' has been used 168 times," while "There have been only 11 sightings of a 'liberal Republican.'" But a search in the New York Times' own archive found 22 hits for "liberal Republican" since 1996; in a search of the Times archives for "all available dates" in Lexis-Nexis, the weblog found 524 such citations.

What's not clear from my cursory look is how many of Coulter's claims have such problems.

I think the NY Times, the LA Times, and the Washington Post are all liberal biased. The TV networks more so. But it's not so easy to show. The spinsanity claim that politics is degenerating into name calling seem true and most unfortunate.


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Baldar
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Maybe in your eyes Tom, but I find it more accurate to identify Lenin as a communist and later Stalin.

It is usually the economic policy that does create a line in the sand. A dictator can be communist (like Castro), or capitalist (like Pinochet).


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