By Deanna Gillen and Karlie Joseph
As journalism’s students, there has been a constant emphasis on maintaining a neutral standpoint while reporting. Though this has always been a standard journalists’ have tried to maintain, it seems that this notion has often been in question. In the wake of this year’s presidential election, many people have accused media outlets of “leaning to the left”.
“Every outlet, sadly, has a bias,” said Margeuax Lippman, a registered independent and former Editor-In-Chief of the Marist Circle Newspaper. “That doesn’t mean that it’s inherently liberal”
Sam Sadler, a student at Union College, who voted for Obama, shared a similar view, saying that news sources are simply a “product” which “caters to the consumer.”
Many people argue the same case; different news sources have different tendencies to sway readers in a certain direction. Yet in the case of the 2008 presidential election, studies have proven an obvious liberal bias.
According to “Winning the Media Campaign,” a study performed by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, the media is indeed “left leaning”. The study showed that the number of positive stories produced about Barack Obama increased as his poll numbers rose, and the number of negative stories about Sen. John McCain also increased while his poll numbers dropped. The six week study revealed, McCain was more heavily criticized, with 57 percent of stories about him rated as negative, while only 29 percent of stories about Obama were negative.
The UCLA Newsroom quoted Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist who performed his own study on media bias. The reason he cited behind this media bias was:
“I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican.”
Chris Waters, a member of the Young Republicans club at Marist expressed his opinion on the issue, he said:
“The big test for the Liberal Media thus forward is to see if they are willing to criticize President-elect Obama during his upcoming Presidency or will they stand behind him to the death even if he makes a bad decision at some point.”
This obvious tilt questions credibility of newspapers and brings doubt to the idea of a functioning democracy in general. ABC news columnist Michael Malone expressed his concern, saying that while all “human beings are biased” journalists are meant to have a “built in alarm” to avoid the “dangerous power” of their ability to skew information.
“The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game,” Malone said in his blog at ABCnews.com last month. “ With their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.”
“Nobody is trying to make it happen, it’s just inherent in the group,” said Gerry McNulty, a communication’s professor, and Faculty Advisor of The Marist Circle. “It’s important to look at who the reporters are in general. They tend to be highly educated, upper-class people who hold a socially responsible view of the world.”
McNulty explained that this social awareness viewpoint served to be the catalyst in the majority of journalists voting 4-1 on the democratic ticket.
Josh Robbins, a Writing for the Media professor at Marist, expressed an opposing view.
“If you look at the last 10 years of coverage, there have been cases where the media has tended to collude with the right wing views, specifically in the case of the was in Iraq” said Robbins “In this year’s election, the media seemed to be pro-Obama, but I think that was more to public desire for change after the last eight years.”
However, McNulty lamented that there was definitely some sort of bias inherent in the group. Robbins agreed, saying “There is no real way to be objective, but I think journalist’s try their best to keep an even-keel.”