Posted by Wordsmith on 21 October, 2014 at 1:00 pm. 169 comments already!

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Pew Research Journalism Project has a slightly interesting survey out:

Overall, the study finds that consistent conservatives:

  • Are tightly clustered around a single news source, far more than any other group in the survey, with 47% citing Fox News as their main source for news about government and politics.
  • Express greater distrust than trust of 24 of the 36 news sources measured in the survey. At the same time, fully 88% of consistent conservatives trust Fox News.
  • Are, when on Facebook, more likely than those in other ideological groups to hear political opinions that are in line with their own views.
  • Are more likely to have friends who share their own political views. Two-thirds (66%) say most of their close friends share their views on government and politics.

By contrast, those with consistently liberal views:

  • Are less unified in their media loyalty; they rely on a greater range of news outlets, including some – like NPR and the New York Times– that others use far less.
  • Express more trust than distrust of 28 of the 36 news outlets in the survey. NPR, PBS and the BBC are the most trusted news sources for consistent liberals.
  • Are more likely than those in other ideological groups to block or “defriend” someone on a social network – as well as to end a personal friendship – because of politics.
  • Are more likely to follow issue-based groups, rather than political parties or candidates, in their Facebook feeds.

The survey results were characterized in this manner at HuffPo Politics:

Conservatives are more likely to distrust news sources that don’t reflect their point of view, the study said.

The delicious irony is in how liberals continue to fail to perceive the obvious: That the reason why conservatives trust “one” major news source than “trust of 24 of the 36 news sources measured”, is for similar reasons as to why liberals gravitate toward all those other news outlets. The other ones- NPR, NYTimes, MSNBC, etc.- tilt center-left to far left. FOX News is the only cable news network that leans conservative.

What is deeply frustrating is in how so many liberals fail to see the bias in mainstream publications like the NYTimes, CBS, NPR, WaPo, etc. They tend to think of these news organizations as non-biased, non-partisan, and objective in their straight news coverage- and accurate (Re: “Facts have a liberal bias.“).

The Pew Research survey itself fails to draw this conclusion:

When it comes to choosing a media source for political news, conservatives orient strongly around Fox News. Nearly half of consistent conservatives (47%) name it as their main source for government and political news, as do almost a third (31%) of those with mostly conservative views. No other sources come close.

Consistent liberals, on the other hand, volunteer a wider range of main sources for political news – no source is named by more than 15% of consistent liberals and 20% of those who are mostly liberal. Still, consistent liberals are more than twice as likely as web-using adults overall to name NPR (13% vs. 5%), MSNBC (12% vs. 4%) and the New York Times (10% vs. 3%) as their top source for political news.

This “wider range of main sources for political news” makes it sound like liberals are much more exposed to diverse news and worldly-wise because of it; however, this is just not the case. Not only do the news outlets these self-identified liberals tend to like, lean with a leftward tilt; but in some cases, they are merely parroting/intellectual-plagiarizing from one another. Of course this happens with the AP and Reuters. But it also occurs when you have a traditionally very influential paper like the NYTimes. It reports a certain story, and other outlets- from national to regional and localized rags- essentially parrots and cites what was written in the NYTimes.

A great example of this type of group-think occurrence happened when the 2007-8 Pentagon-funded study, The Iraqi Perspectives Project, was mischaracterized by McClatchy’s reporter, Warren Strobel, who wrote about an important report that he hadn’t even read, because it hadn’t been released yet. Other news organizations ceased upon the same bullet points, which prompted the Pentagon to release the study itself, because reporters were mischaracterizing the actual findings.

As Scott wrote back in March ’08:

His [Mark Eichenlaub of Regime of Terror fame]article highlights in perfectly plain sight just how a single, biased writer will bite on a rumor from a single anonymous source about a report that hadn’t even been revealed, and then a total falsehood becomes propagated by the Old Media. When the actual report came out, anyone and everyone reading it could see that it listed innumerable documented and confirmed connections between Saddam’s regime and the network of terror groups called, Al Queda.

~~~

This one is definitely worth the read. Think about what it shows: NO ONE in the McLatchy Newspaper chain of editors, no one at ABC, no one at the New York Times, no one at CNN, no one at the Washington Post, no one at AFP, and no one at any of the blogosphere sites that posted the original article actually read the report. NONE. Old Media/traditional media outlets are supposed to be special because they have armies of fact checkers yet no one in any of these armies ever saw the actual report. The actual report contradicts the original article at almost every turn.

Is there a fact checker anywhere, or have these outlets collapsed into rumor parrots? Were it not for spellcheck, I wouldn’t have been surprised if a spelling error from the original made it to all the outlets. Would yuo?

For the record, Scott took the time to read the entire report, in blogging about it. So did Mata. I’ve only read parts. And unlike so many journalists who are not experts on the topic, Scott is, having read a great number of government documents, declassified intell reports, etc., going directly to the source and not always relying upon the filter of a journalist’s reporting. Scott’s authored a couple of books worth checking out on Saddam’s ties to al Qaeda; and on Iraq.


Scott:

The report described in the article was finally released to the public, and its contents are almost completely contrary to the leaked “article” that described it beforehand.

In fact, if anything this new study should finally put to rest the false perception that Saddam’s regime was too secular to work with radical Islamic holy warriors, and it should be a genuine wake up call for people who continue to ignore the threat posed by state-sponsors of terror like Saddam Hussein once was.

To this day, due to the strength and power of mainstream media, most people are unaware of Saddam’s ties to Islamic terror and have simply been told, “There was no al Qaeda in Iraq before 9/11” or before OIF. They were led to believe that it was all just a Wolfowitz/Feith/Cheney neocon fantasy/fabrication. A recent example of the influence and reach of the NYTimes is in seeing how many people expressed shock when Chivers article came out, talking about chemical weapons found in Iraq that so many people apparently were unaware of.

They were unaware, probably because they read only the wide diversity of liberal news outlets.

Further on in the Pew study report:

Liberals, overall, trust a much larger mix of news outlets than others do. Of the 36 different outlets considered, 28 are more trusted than distrusted by consistent liberals. Just eight earn higher shares of distrust than trust. Still, among those eight, the levels of distrust can be high: fully 81% of consistent liberals distrust Fox News, and 75% distrust the Rush Limbaugh Show.

This is just silly. Rush Limbaugh?! Rush Limbaugh is a pundit, openly and unashamedly partisan. He is not “straight news” but more like the op-ed section of a newsrag. Why are they including him and others like John Stewart and Stephen Colbert as a source for news? And when one looks at the filthy laundry list of “36 different outlets”, a big “duh” as to why they trust 28 of them.

Politifact characterizes this Pew point, this way: Pew study finds Rush Limbaugh least trustworthy news source. But then, Politifact is another outlet that should be better self-labeled as “PolitiPartisan”. It would be the honest thing to do.

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Liberals with a wider swath of media outlets to trust from just means they have a wider echo chamber for them to inhabit. That’s all.

Hot Air’s Allahpundit’s takeaway from this is that liberals really are jerks (on account of being defriended for political views expressed on Facebook- whee!).

Bernard Goldberg’s Arrogance is a great read for any doubting Toms out there in regards to liberal bias in modern, mainstream journalism.

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