How conservatives (wrongly) detect liberal bias in the news

By Christopher B. Daly

Today’s NYTimes provides a clear-cut example of how conservatives often mis-read or mis-hear the news and jump to the wrong conclusion. Most of the time, conservatives are sure they are seeing a political bias when, in fact, what they are seeing are professional values.

Here’s the story:

The Times ran a story under the headline: ‘No One Believes Anything’: Voters Worn Out by a Fog of Political News. The implication was that there is too much news about impeachment.

As the story unfolds, the Times reporters quote a computer programmer in Idaho named Russell Memory.

But he said he sees bias among liberal news outlets and that drives him crazy too. He was annoyed, for example, that stories of Mr. Trump being booed at the Washington Nationals baseball game were given top billing, but when Mr. Trump was cheered in Alabama a few days later, he could find almost nothing about it.

“I don’t think things are fake, they’re just one-sided,” said Mr. Memory, 37. “Both things happened. He got booed and he got cheered. But one of them will be a much bigger story. That’s what bothers me.”

This is a classic example of confusion.

The fact that a sitting president got booed while attending a World Series game in the District of Columbia was unusual. That is, it was statistically rare. Therefore, it was news. Any journalist would agree.

Trump at the Nationals game.

As for Alabama, the fact that a Republican president went to a bright-red state for a football game and was cheered is entirely to be expected. It is not unusual. Therefore, it is not news. Any journalist would agree.

Trump at the Alabama game.

Of course, ideologues on talk shows could be expected to jump on either case as ammunition for their side. That’s not news either.

1 Comment

Filed under broadcasting, Journalism, liberal, media, NYTimes, Trump, Uncategorized

One response to “How conservatives (wrongly) detect liberal bias in the news

  1. Larry Houghteling

    Absolutely correct. The classic version would be insisting that the story of the dog biting the man be front page news.
    But on this particular issue of Trump’s crowds’ responses, I think we could add that even though “World Series Boos for Trump Heard” was unusual, there was also something unusual about the ‘Bama football story. That story was more meta (shall we say?), since it can be broken down into queries, like, why did he make a point of going there? and, did the fact of the earlier boos factor into his attending? and, can the WH news-spreading apparatus be seen working away in the attention this is getting?
    That’s news, but it’s a different kind of news, not page 1, generally.
    Also: there’s something eating at the Times. They wrong-foot themselves again and again. This same day that you wrote your blog-piece I took out after them in a letter, shitting on their call in printing an okay but boring (because obvious) sidebar (on people tuning out of hearings which seem to them to go on and on) above the fold on Page One. Why spread doubts unnecessarily? Cui bono?
    Still arguably a great paper, but, sheesh.

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