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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Americans See Liberal Media Bias

We say it and say it and the comments we get is denial, yet the majority of Americans, according to Rasmussen, agree with us.

There is a liberal media bias.

By a 39% to 20% margin, American adults believe that the three major broadcast networks deliver news with a bias in favor of liberals. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 25% believe that ABC, CBS, and NBC deliver the news without any bias.

Similar results are found for CNN and National Public Radio (NPR). By a margin of 33% to 16%, Americans say that CNN has a liberal bias. The nation’s adults say the same about NPR by a 27% to 14% margin.

There is one major exception to the belief that media outlets have a liberal bias—Fox News. Thirty-one percent (31%) of Americans say it has a bias that favors conservatives while 15% say it has a liberal bias.

When it comes to delivering news without bias, 37% believe NPR accomplishes that goal. Thirty-six percent (36%) say the same for Fox and 32% believe it’s true of CNN. As noted earlier, just 25% believe the major broadcast networks deliver news in an unbiased manner. Results for other media outlets will be released over the next week.

Media fairness has emerged as a debate on Capitol Hill following the recent debate on immigration when public opinion overwhelmed the will of the Senate. Some lawmakers have called for a re-introduction of the “Fairness Doctrine” requiring stations to air competing points of view. Rasmussen Reports will release data on public attitudes towards that concept over the weekend.

Not surprisingly, there are huge partisan and ideological differences in the data. For example, among self-identified liberals, all of the media outlets are believed to have some net bias in favor of conservatives. However, 50% of liberals say that NPR is unbiased. Forty-three percent (43%) say the same about CNN. As for the major television networks, 49% of liberals believe they have a conservative bias. Just 10% of liberals see a liberal bias at ABC, CBS, and NBC.

Conservatives throughout the nation see things entirely differently. Sixty-two percent (62%) see a liberal bias at the major broadcast networks and 55% say the same about CNN. Forty-five percent (45%) of conservatives see Fox as unbiased and the rest are evenly divided. Eighteen percent (18%) of conservatives see Fox News as having a liberal bias while 21% say the opposite.

Younger adults are less likely than their elders to see a liberal bias across all of the media outlets.

On a partisan basis, Democrats see the major television networks and Fox as biased in favor of conservatives. Solid pluralities of Democrats believe CNN and NPR deliver news without bias. Those Democrats who see bias at CNN and NPR are fairly evenly divided, but are a bit more likely to detect conservative bias.

Republicans see a strong liberal bias on all the outlets except Fox. Forty-nine percent (49%) of the GOP faithful see Fox as fair and balanced.

Those not affiliated with either major party tend to see a liberal bias everywhere except Fox. Thirty-eight percent (38%) of unaffiliateds see a liberal bias at the major television networks while only 19% see a conservative bias.

During Election 2004, 38% of voters thought CBS News anchorman Dan Rather was actively trying to help John Kerry win the election. Other data showed that voters tended to select news sources based upon their political preferences.

Rasmussen Reports is pleased that our online audience includes roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats.

Deny it until you are blue in the face but the news you are getting is biased and not objective reporting.

There is no objectivity anymore and the only way to get a grip on what is true, what is rumor and what is outright opinion, is to read and watch a variety of news sources.

I am not even sure why Rasmussen and other polling organizations bother with this question, the poll keeps coming out the same. Everyone knows there is bias, but only "some" even care. As long as that bias matches their political philosophy, they don't much care if they are being lied to.

To those that would still deny it, perhaps a shrink is what you need.