Letter to the editor: More on media bias

Posted 8/6/18

More on media bias I really appreciate the back and forth over the past few weeks over media bias. Let’s separate facts from opinion, which Paul Mauro almost did in his letter to the editor. Media …

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Letter to the editor: More on media bias

Posted

I really appreciate the back and forth over the past few weeks over media bias.

Let’s separate facts from opinion, which Paul Mauro almost did in his letter to the editor. Media is biased. Matthew Gentzkow, of the University of Chicago did an interesting quantitative study of newspapers where his conclusion was that newspapers in more conservative areas were more conservative, newspapers in more liberal areas were more liberal. The market place is driving the bias of at least some media outlets.

Michael Crichton referred to the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, when you read an article on a subject that you have some familiarity with and realize that the journalist has no understanding of the subject. This can lead to a journalist getting things exactly backward. Crichton noticed it for generalist journalists writing about the media business, Murray Gell-Mann noticed it when reading articles on physics. Ignorance is driving the bias of at least some media outlets.

Where the information is available, such as the Center for Public Integrity, journalists have been shown to donate far more to Democratic candidates and liberal causes than to conservatives or Republicans. Politics is driving the bias of at least some media outlets.

At least as far as Centennial is involved, the distribution of the Centennial Citizen is roughly contiguous to State Senate District 27. That district elected a Republican to the state Senate in 2016 by 7 points, but Clinton beat Trump by 5 points in the same district. Clearly we can see that Centennial is pretty evenly split, and we should expect a variety of viewpoints from our media outlets. We also need to recognize the bias inherent in us, and when we see journalists get the facts plain wrong, send them an email, it’s surprising how they won’t make a mistake twice.  

Uriel Akiva

Centennial

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