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Media Bias

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From nattering nabobs of negativism to Fox News, MSNBC and beyond — a brief history of an endless battle.

From nattering nabobs of negativism to Fox News, MSNBC and beyond — a brief history of an endless battle.

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  • 1. Media bias From nattering nabobs of negativism to Fox News, MSNBC and beyond
  • 2. Nonpartisan data, partisan battle • CBO reports that ACA means some people will cut back on working
  • 3. Nonpartisan data, partisan battle • CBO reports that ACA means some people will cut back on working • John Boehner tweets Obamacare “expected to destroy 2.3m jobs”
  • 4. Nonpartisan data, partisan battle • CBO reports that ACA means some people will cut back on working • John Boehner tweets Obamacare “expected to destroy 2.3m jobs” • Chris Cillizza defends media focus on attacks rather than accuracy
  • 5. How did we get to the point at which passing along and amplifying partisan spin are seen as legitimate functions of journalism?
  • 6. A brief history of media bias
  • 7. The McCarthy era • Coverage of McCarthy’s accusations exposed the limits of objectivity
  • 8. The McCarthy era • Coverage of McCarthy’s accusations exposed the limits of objectivity • Murrow was accused by some of making rather than reporting the news
  • 9. The McCarthy era • Coverage of McCarthy’s accusations exposed the limits of objectivity • Murrow was accused by some of making rather than reporting the news • McCarthy supporters like Buckley launched their own media
  • 10. The media consensus fractures • Press portrayed the civil-rights movement in a sympathetic light
  • 11. The media consensus fractures • Press portrayed the civil-rights movement in a sympathetic light • Vietnam War further cast the media as a bastion of liberalism
  • 12. The media consensus fractures • Press portrayed the civil-rights movement in a sympathetic light • Vietnam War further cast the media as a bastion of liberalism • The media’s embrace of youth culture alienated conservatives
  • 13. Nixon and the media • Spoke up on behalf of the conservative “Silent Majority”
  • 14. Nixon and the media • Spoke up on behalf of the conservative “Silent Majority” • VP Spiro Agnew denounced “nattering nabobs of negativism”
  • 15. Nixon and the media • Spoke up on behalf of the conservative “Silent Majority” • VP Spiro Agnew denounced “nattering nabobs of negativism” • Pentagon Papers and Watergate ignited an all-out war with media
  • 16. Are journalists biased?
  • 17. Does bias affect coverage? • Despite scandal, Ronald Reagan was treated with deference
  • 18. Does bias affect coverage? • Despite scandal, Ronald Reagan was treated with deference • Media tormented Bill Clinton over his personal pecadillos
  • 19. Does bias affect coverage? • Despite scandal, Ronald Reagan was treated with deference • Media tormented Bill Clinton over his personal pecadillos • Media’s failures in run-up to war in Iraq are well documented
  • 20. “Working the refs” “I admit it — the liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.” — William Kristol
  • 21. The big picture in 2004 • Traditional media were culturally liberal but pursued the truth
  • 22. The big picture in 2004 • Traditional media were culturally liberal but pursued the truth • Conservative media were partisan and attacked mainstream
  • 23. The big picture in 2004 • Traditional media were culturally liberal but pursued the truth • Conservative media were partisan and attacked mainstream • Talk radio was a conservative medium liberals couldn’t match
  • 24. The big picture in 2014 • New liberal outlets like HuffPost and MSNBC battle conservatives
  • 25. The big picture in 2014 • New liberal outlets like HuffPost and MSNBC battle conservatives • Lies are now a wellestablished part of political discourse
  • 26. The big picture in 2014 • New liberal outlets like HuffPost and MSNBC battle conservatives • Lies are now a wellestablished part of political discourse • What is journalism’s responsibility in holding politicians to account?