Sometimes you’ll read a headline, or the result of a study, or a book title and think, not necessarily fairly, “Well, duh.”
Well, that was my own intemperate and, as it turned out, wrong-headed response to learning of an impressive new book, Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts The American Mind by UCLA professor of American politics, Tim Groseclose.
Luckily for me, I mistrusted my first reaction and watched a riveting interview with the author about how Professor Groseclose made his findings, first by doing a baseline study of members of Congress, analyzing their roll call votes, and placing each one on a spectrum from zero (most conservative) to 100, most liberal. At zero was Michele Bachmann and at 100 was (surprise!) Nancy Pelosi. Professor Groseclose then tabulated liberal and conservative biases in media in a clearly understandable manner, using a computer program, which he outlined in the superb interview with The Daily Caller‘s Senior Editor Jamie Weinstein. In the interview, Professor Groseclose says he didn’t want to write an academic tome, and used the wildly popular Freakonomics as a model of how to write vividly, with lots of stories and memorable examples, as he wrote Left Turn.
In the interview, he reports that he analyzed 20 major news media and among them, he found conservative bias in exactly two: Fox News Special Reports and The Washington Times. The liberal bias in the remaining eighteen was as high as 74, and generally ranged from 53 to 73. He calls the result of his method of determining where one stands on the political spectrum one’s PQ, for Political Quotient, and reveals that his own PQ is 16. If you want to take the test yourself, you can do so on his website, www.timgroseclose.com.
In the final third of the book, he analyzes the impact on actual elections of the liberal media bias, and it is as bad or worse than you may already believe.
I hope as many readers as possible will watch the interview, which concluded (not to spoil the ending, but this isn’t a thriller) that but for the liberal media bias, Senator John McCain would now be President John McCain.