Topic: Media Research Center
In a Sept. 12 Washington Times book review (reposted at NewsBusters), Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell praises Tim Groseclose's book "Left Turn," which purports to claim a new measure of liberal media bias:
Mr. Groseclose argues that one can measure liberal media bias through objective and quantitative statistical analysis, that “every [emphasis his] mainstream national news outlet in the United States has a liberal bias,” that out of more than 100 major news outlets studied, only a handful lean to the right and none of the supposedly conservative news outlets is far right.
Bozell doesn't comment on the absurdity of such a claim -- after all, Bozell has a vested interest in portraying the media as having a liberal bias, which makes him a less-than-objective reviewer. Indeed, Grosclose's methodology was discredited when he first wrote about it in 2006.
Bozell wasn't done gushing, though:
There’s much to like about this book. There is Mr. Groseclose’s fierce intellectual honesty: He makes no bones about his own political biases. There is a certain modesty in his work: He continuously submits his theories to peer review, even when his peers’ politics veer sharply from his own. Finally, when his conclusions generally track so neatly with those arrived at through the use of more traditional methodologies, who can argue?
Bozell wasn't completely laudatory of Groseclose's book, though. His first complaint is self-aggrandizing and petty:
I confess that at the outset I wasn’t too keen about doing this review. The Media Research Center, which I head, has conducted more studies on this subject than any other institution on the planet over the past quarter-century, so I turned to the “Left Turn” index out of curiosity to see which ones were chosen for citation. (Clear throat here: Ahem.) Not a one. Worse, where the index cites the MRC, in one instance it misidentifies the group; and in the other, allegedly over three pages, it’s a phantom citation - the MRC isn’t there at all.
People who aren't Bozell would reach two other conclusions: 1) the MRC's research sucks (as we've copiously documented), and 2) there's a lack of attention to detail in Groseclose's book that raises questions about his larger conclusions. Of course, since Groseclose's larger conclusions are the same as Bozell's, he won't be raising those questions, even as he finds more things wrong with it:
A conservative also will find faults. Mr. Groseclose labels Mr. DeMint “far right.” It can be argued that Ronald Reagan’s positions were even more conservative than Mr. DeMint‘s. What would that make the Gipper? The author cites ABC’s Charles Gibson as “nothing but fair and centrist in my judgment ABC’s Good Morning America, during his tenure, was approximately the most unbiased of all U.S. media outlets.”
Mr. Gibson was no Keith Olbermann, to be sure; but I can provide dozens of examples documenting that he was no centrist, either. In perhaps the biggest head-scratcher, Mr. Groseclose declares that the conservative bias of Fox News’ “Special Report” is equal to the liberal bias of ABC’s “World News Tonight” or NBC’s “Nightly News.” That is simply untrue across the board, be it a measurement based on story selection, labeling, placement, sourcing, spokesmen or time.
Yet Bozell concludes: "Still, I like the book and recommend it." Go figure.