From Bias to Bigotry

From Gary Bauer:

Recently, after the New York Times published a racially insensitive article about film and television producer Shonda Rhimes, the paper became the object of weeks of scorn and derision that prompted a public debate over racial diversity in the newsroom.

It may be true that the Times should diversify its staff on racial grounds. But there is another area in which the Times is sorely in need of diversification: its coverage of religious and social conservatives.

The Times has always had a liberal bias. But these days its goal seems to be to drive social conservatives from the public square entirely.

Conservatives have long complained about liberal media bias, and for good reason. Research has found that overwhelming majorities of newspaper reporters and editors hold liberal viewsgive to liberal causes and vote for liberal political candidates.

Liberals claim that most reporters play it straight. But numerous studies have found otherwise. The bias is especially evident on social issues, where coverage of issues like abortion tilt heavily toward the liberal position, and has for decades. In 1990, a Los Angeles Times study of major newspaper, television and newsmagazine coverage confirmed that a pro-abortion-rights “bias often exists.”

More recently, UCLA political scientist Tim Groseclose developed what he calls a “slant quotient” measuring media bias from 0 (totally conservative) to 100 (totally liberal) by comparing how often newspapers cited liberal versus conservative think tanks in their political reporting.

Groseclose found that out of twenty major news organizations, only one—the Washington Times—was right of center, with a slant quotient of 35. The New York Times was the second-most liberal, with a score of 74.

In a July post at his blog at The American Conservative, writer Rod Dreher revealed that, after decades of subscribing to the Times—enjoying its thoughtful reporting but detesting its liberal bias—he had finally had enough and cancelled his subscription.

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