CyberAlert -- 04/07/1996 -- Polls, Cops , Minimum Wage & Unabomber

Polls, Cops , Minimum Wage & Unabomber

More evidence that the public realizes the media are biased was revealed in a new Roper survey commissioned by the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center. (The press release I got last week did not include details on the poll, such as the number of people surveyed. It was conducted in March.)

One question: "Do you think news media coverage of the presidential campaign is biased toward the liberal point of view, conservative point of view, or do you think coverage is pretty evenly balanced?"

Evenly Balanced: 48%
Liberal bias: 29%
Conservative bias: 13%
Don't know/refused: 10%

But when asked which party coverage favors, the skew disappeared:

Evenly balanced: 49%
Favors Democratic Party: 22%
Favors Republican Party: 21%
Don't know: 8%

Given a list of news sources and asked to rate the fairness of campaign coverage from that source, a very telling pattern developed. A higher percent of Democrats than Republicans rated the following as unbiased and fair: CNN, PBS NewsHour, Sunday public affairs shows, Newsweeklies, Network TV news, Local TV news, New York Times, The Internet, Local newspaper, All-news radio, and Larry King Live. The only sources rated more fair by Republicans than Democrats: Local talk radio and Rush Limbaugh. An equal percent of Republicans and Democrats found C-SPAN unbiased.

While you watch the evil right wing TV cop shows this week, keep this rebuke in mind. As picked up by Steve Kaminski of our staff, here's what John Leonard espoused on CBS Sunday Morning back on March 24: "I hope I'm not the only one to notice that Nash Bridges, Max Swift, and the Sentinel are all indifferent to the rules against breaking and entering, search and seizure, and even kidnapping. Warrants are an inconvenient waste of time and the Miranda warning is never uttered except contemptuously. This same contempt for pious legalities, this coarsening of our thin blue line has also shown up recently on Law & Order, NYPD Blue, and even Homicide. It used to be that we could count on TV to oppose the death penalty as we could rely on it to favor integration. But you can't watch any cop show these days without hearing an angry centurion gloat about the options of lethal injections and electric chairs. Imagine that: Society has reduced television to the lowest common denominator, which is a lynch mob."

Finally, if you had any doubt about media willingness to help President Clinton demogogue the minimum wage issue, look at this outburst taken down by analyst Geoffrey Dickens of the MRC. It's from the Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt and uttered on CNN's Capital Gang on March 30:

"Let me go to the minimum wage though for a minute. I mean once again Brother Novak, you know, says, you know, 'Let them eat cake.' Ten million people would be affected by it. Most of them live at or below the poverty level. And this Congress which is trying to cut the Earned Income Tax Credit, which conservatives used to tell us was the alternative, and refuses to do anything about the minimum wage makes Marie Antoinette look like Mother Theresa. It is just an outrage!"

Good to see reporters are avoiding any mean-spirited comments. I'm thinking of offering a prize to the first person able to find an example of the media tagging the Unabomber a "far-left extremist" or an environmental radical spurred by the anti-corporate tone of Al Gore. -- Brent Baker