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Saturday, November 13, 2010
MRC's Tally of CNN Guests Has A Flaw
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted that the Media Research Center released a report claming that guest on CNN programs skewed liberal, but didn't release the list it compiled to support the claim.

Well, Politico managed to shake the list loose, and it reveals some flaws -- namely, that it tallied the political ideology of guest who were not talking about politics. From Politico:

CNN took issue with MRC’s methodology.

“Simply using partisan labels on guests who are not even talking about politics is not helpful to the national discourse,” said Barbara Levin, vice president of media relations at CNN. “And counting a newsmaker/headliner guest who gets twice the airtime as a roundtable guest, distorts the true overall picture. As our promo says, CNN doesn’t play favorites and is proud to be the only cable news network without partisan primetime programs.”

Several of the people listed as “Democrat/liberal” in study, such a Wanda Sykes, Kathy Griffin and Sean Penn, were on the air talking about non-political topics, such as bullying and the disaster in Haiti.

And CNN’s booking a liberal guest did not always pan out well for liberals. NAACP President Ben Jealous, for example, showed up on the “Democrat/liberal” side of MRC’s list, but the interview he did with Anderson Cooper – in which Cooper challenged the NAACP’s report pointing to racism within the tea party – ended up being celebrated in the conservative blogosphere the next day.

The MRC's Rich Noyes responded to Politico, admitting that the MRC focused only on perceived ideology, not the content of the appearance: 

“If a guest (such as The Nation's Ari Melber) comes from a strong ideological perspective, we did not parse each interview,” he said. “National Review's Will Cain sometimes talked about non-political issues on Parker Spitzer, but he was consistently labeled as "conservative/Republican."

He also responded to the charge that weighing each guest equally, regardless of how long they were on, distorts the picture.

“We did not weigh interview length, but just tallied guests," he said. "Given the lengthy amount of time given to liberals like Michael Moore on Larry King Live (October 13), it is our belief that timing each interview would have exacerbated the disparity, not reduced it.”

Noyes also added a comment to the Politco article:

FYI, the guests CNN claims were really nonpartisan made liberal points. For example, Kathy Griffin on LKL, talking about bullying, unleashed against conservatives: I think that the way that we had trickle-down economics in the 80s, this is trickle down homophobia. And I really want people to connect the dots. And that's why I believe there's a connection between Prop 8, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and now the string of teen suicides. It's almost sanctioned to bully gay people and treat them as second-class citizens. That's why we classified her as a liberal.

Because only liberals oppose bullying of gay teens, apparently.

UPDATE: Looking over the list, we see that the MRC has labeled Jesse Ventura a "Democrat/Liberal." Really? the guy who thinks (along with NewsBusters' very own Noel Sheppard) that global warming is a conspiracy is a "liberal"?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:33 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, November 13, 2010 9:51 PM EST

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