Pairing "biased" media

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 13 22:00:36 UTC 2009

In days of yore when I did human factors testing we tried to balance out subject samples to eliminate bias.  Bias did not impute intentional manipulation of opinion, but just a perspective type of thing.  So a spread of ages was incouraged and equal number of sexes.  Sometimes there would be differences between them.

Perhaps there is a word for manipulative bias.

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+

> Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 17:20:26 -0400
> From: Berson at ATT.NET
> Subject: Re: Pairing "biased" media
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: "Joel S. Berson"
> Subject: Re: Pairing "biased" media
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 7/13/2009 12:40 PM, George Thompson wrote:
>>It would be well to make a distinction between "biased" and "having
>>a point of view". In my vocabulary, "biased" means dishonest
>>reporting -- willfully omission of material information, disregard
>>or misrepresentation of dissenting opinion, falsification. . . .
> I did intend to make that distinction, with my use of "biased". And
> perhaps in contrast to Jon Lighter's
>>George describes unscrupulous bias: willfull omission of clearly material
>>information, etc. Neither network, it seems to me, has quite reached that
> I do think one can find "willful" -- in the sense of deliberate --
> omission of material information in FOX (without too much searching)
> and probably in CNN (with perhaps more effort).
> For a minor example (two other pairs, although here the more truthful
> report is from FOX!), compare CONCACAF's official site's reporting of
> the suspension of Mexico's coach Javier Aguirre
> with Fox Soccer Channel's (FSC's) news broadcast on Friday evening.
> CONCACAF's report says:"Aguirre initiated a fracas at midfield of the
> 1-1 draw in the 80th minute when he left the technical area
> surrounding the Mexican bench to stop a loose ball that Phillips had
> been dribbling. Referee Joel Aguilar whistled the play dead when
> Phillips had let the ball exit the field of play but continued to
> play the ball as if it were live."
> Here Aguirre is let off lightly by describing his action as merely
> "to stop a loose ball", and Phillips implicitly censured for playing
> on after an out-of-bounds whistle. Yet the replays on Spanish
> language television (not quite as clear on the Internet now as they
> were during the broadcast of the match) clearly show Aguirre raising
> his leg 2-3 feet off the ground and kicking out towards Phillips's
> groin, whereas the ball is rolling along the ground. Aguirre was
> suspended for three matches, Phillips for only one. I am skeptical
> that merely "leaving the technical area" merits three matches; I have
> seen MLS coaches leave the technical area and receive suspensions of
> only one match.
> The FSC commentators clearly imputed a kick at Phillips to
> Aguirre. I don't know if a transcript is available, but there are
> some video excerpts on the Internet. One is (perhaps all are the same)
> look at the third view. (Spanish television had another shot, a much
> clearer presentation angled parallel to the sideline.) Or for three
> stills and commentary:
> Joel
>>The curs who yelp about the bias in liberal media are much more
>>likely to maintain their point of view on poverty, climate change,
>>evolution, and other topics the right wing holds in scorn, with
>>dishonest reporting than is the Times or NPR.
>>George A. Thompson
>>Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre",
>>Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: "Baker, John"
>>Date: Sunday, July 12, 2009 1:49 am
>>Subject: Re: Pairing "biased" media
>>> I think it's hard to find really good matched pairs, especially if
>>> you're just looking at reporting and not opinion. For one thing,
>>> although many conservative news sources make no bones that they are
>>> using their perspective in giving priority and context to news
>>> reports, liberal news sources typically take the position that they
>>> present the news straight and restrict editorializing to the editorial
>>> pages. (The Wall Street Journal does this too, and Fox News says it
>>> does, but nobody believes them.) In reality, news sources that take
>>> this approach have biases to their reports too, but they typically are
>>> for institutional rather than conventional political reasons (e.g., to
>>> protect a news source or improve access) and tend to be more subtle.
>>> Another problem is that many news sources deliberately run a mix of
>>> conservative and liberal reports; MSNBC is the most prominent example
>>> of this.
>>> The best current newspaper example I've seen is the one below, the
>>> Boston Globe (liberal) v. the Boston Herald (conservative). If you
>>> want a counterexample of newspapers that have a political view but
>>> minimize the effect on the news pages, you could cite the New York
>>> Times (liberal) and the Wall Street Journal. For a greater contrast
>>> (but less obvious pair), you could use the St. Petersburg Times
>>> (liberal) and the Washington Times (conservative).
>>> On television, I don't think there really is a liberal channel.
>>> However, the Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow shows on MSNBC
>>> (liberal) would be good matches to the Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly
>>> shows on Fox News (conservative).
>>> On the radio, Air America is explicitly liberal and could be
>>> contrasted to Premiere Radio Networks.
>>> John Baker
>>> ________________________________
>>> From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Joel S. Berson
>>> Sent: Sat 7/11/2009 2:25 PM
>>> Subject: Re: Pairing "biased" media
>>> Victor's suggestions are useful. And I must remember the Boston
>>> Herald, the newspaper of record in my (and my friend's) metropolitan
>>> area, and accessible--at least the day's issue--to her
>>> students. (It's remarkable how few libraries hold copies of the
>>> Herald beyond a few days or weeks.)
>>> But I'm hoping first of all for bias, apparent or hidden, in
>>> "reporting"; I'll turn to "opinion" second.
>>> The simplest assignment might be to say "Find the same event reported
>>> in the Herald and the Globe, and compare". Or maybe PM (alas;
>>> although there's a new biography of I. F. Stone) and the Daily News.
>>> Joel
>>> At 7/11/2009 01:17 PM, Victor wrote:
>>>>Hmmm... Fox vs. CNN is not really a fair comparison of *bias*. CNN may
>>>>appear neutral on average, but that does not mean that that they are
>>>>uniformly neutral. Lou Dobbs is always a great source of xenophobic
>>>>bias, so it's not exactly "opposite" from Fox. The same is true of
>>>>NYT--depends on topic and human subject, although columns usually show
>>>>bias (see below). For the most part, however, CNN may appear biased (to
>>>>the left) only to those who regularly watch Fox News.
>>>>On the other hand, if print sources are desired, Washington Times and
>>>>WSJ editorial page are great sources of bias in one direction. Boston
>>>>Herald and NYPost columnists are also a good source of bias on the
>>>>right. On the other side, most (but not all) columnists in the Boston
>>>>Globe. NYT is one of many who try to balance their editorial content.
>>>>Once you know who the conservative columnists are (and exclude Maureen
>>>>Dowd from consideration), the rest can be used for left-leaning bias.
>>>>Generally, there are several sources that collect "conservative"
>>>>columnists. The two largest (and largely overlapping) are
>>>>and regurgitation receptacle. I can't really
>>>>think of a comparable source on the left. Of course, if you really want
>>>>deteriorating prose and constant insults, there are always blogs.
>>>> VS-)
>>>>Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>>>>Also Fox vs. CNN. Fo also goes out of its way to bash the N.Y. Times
>>>>>whenever possible.
>>>>>You have to be very observant to ascertain that Fox and CNN are
>>> reporting on
>>>>>the same country.
>>>>>On Sat, Jul 11, 2009 at 9:05 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>>>>A friend wants to teach a session on bias in the media in her ESL
>>>>>class. She would like to have pairs (one or more on each side) of
>>>>>media outlets (or whatever they're called) that have diametrically
>>>>>opposed biases/slants/opinions -- television, newspaper, and magazine
>>>>>pairs. Particularly outlets that let bias creep into their
>>>>>reporting, as opposed to those that try to keep opinion separated and
>>>>>For example, Fox News vs. (I think, but I do not watch it) MSNBC.
>>>>>Suggestions welcomed.
>>>>The American Dialect Society -
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society -
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society -
>>The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -
Windows Live™ SkyDrive™: Get 25 GB of free online storage.

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list