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MRC Alert Special: Study: Liberal Labels Buried on Network News (Political Labeling Bias)
Media Research Center via E-Mail | June 25, 2002 | Rich Noyes

Posted on 06/25/2002 4:55:37 AM PDT by PJ-Comix

       ***Media Research Center CyberAlert Special*** 
             3:15am EDT, Tuesday, June 25, 2002 

Burying the Liberal Label on Network News MRC Study: On Evening News Broadcasts, Conservative Tag Used Four Times More than Liberal Label

Today, the text of a Media Reality Check study to be distributed by fax on Tuesday. Researched and written by Rich Noyes, the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, it confirms Bernard Goldberg's contention in his book that conservatives are labeled more often than conservatives, an observation which Stanford University linguist Geoffrey Nunberg challenged in a late March NPR commentary which liberals embraced and that CNN's Jeff Greenfield highlighted on Inside Politics in mid-April. For a link to Nunberg's commentary and a transcript of Greenfield's piece:

Major findings of the Media Reality Check study of the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts over five years, from 1997 through 2001:

-- On ABC, conservatives received 79 percent of the liberal or conservative labels; on NBC, 80 percent. On the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, 82 percent of the 353 ideological labels assigned by CBS's reporters were given to conservatives.

-- Only eight House Members were identified as liberals, compared with 34 who were called conservatives.

-- Only one reporter, NBC's Lisa Myers, used "liberal" to describe Democratic candidate Bill Bradley (Sept. 25, 1999), and no network reporter labeled Vice President Al Gore as liberal during the entire 1999-2000 election cycle. In contrast, then- Governor George W. Bush was called a conservative 19 times.

Nunberg simply plugged some names and labels into a newspaper database and counted the raw results, mixing years, as he espoused how he found liberals were 30 percent more likely to be tagged than conservatives, a conclusion he based on a minuscule differential of how liberals were labeled 3.78 percent of the time and the conservatives were tagged 2.89 percent of the time.

The MRC's Noyes confirmed what we knew, that it's a bit harder than that to perform an accurate study, a painstaking process in which he went through each and every one of more than 2,000 hits to assess whether or not each one should count. In the separate page below titled, "How MRC Conducted Its Labeling Study," Rich explains the methodology he employed.

Please Note: The Media Reality Check, the page describing the methodology and a page listing past MRC studies documenting a bias in ideological labeling, will all be posted on the MRC home page by late morning EDT. This e-mail is being sent in advance because our e-mail distributor will be out of service for 24 hours starting Tuesday morning.

The tables below will probably be a lot easier to follow online where the columns will be aligned, something that's impossible with text e-mail where each recipient's font choice changes the alignment. They should be aligned when displayed in 12 point Courier New.

When posted by the MRC's Mez Djouadi, the Media Reality Check will be online at:

For the Adobe Acrobat PDF version:

The methodology page will be accessible at:

A rundown, put together by the MRC's Tim Jones, of past MRC studies documenting disparities in labeling, will be at:

The stats on the first page of the two-page Media Reality Check fax:

Labels on Broadcast Network News "Liberal" "Conservative" ABC 96 labels (21%) 365 labels (79%) CBS 64 labels (18%) 289 labels (82%) NBC 87 labels (20%) 338 labels (80%) Total: 247 (20%) 992 (80%)

Use of "conservative" or "liberal" label by network anchor or reporter on ABC, CBS and NBC evening news programs, January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2001, including weekends.

> Now, the text of the June 25 Media Reality Check:

Former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg infuriated liberal journalists when he leveraged his 28 years of experience at a national news network into a damning indictment of his colleagues' liberal groupthink. Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News topped the New York Times bestseller list for weeks, prompting some unhappy scribes to launch vicious ad hominem attacks on the whistle-blower.

"Disgruntled has-beens everywhere have a new hero and role model," the Washington Post's Tom Shales whined in the January 7 Electronic Media. Citing no evidence, Shales dismissed liberal media bias as "an old canard" and blasted Goldberg's book as part of a "laughably inept hate campaign" written by "a no-talent hack."

The only attempt to factually challenge Goldberg's evidence has come from linguist Geoffrey Nunberg. "He [Goldberg] claims that the media pointedly identify conservative politicians as conservatives but rarely use the word

TOPICS: Announcements; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bernardgoldberg; networknews
This report should be on the Media Research Center website ( later today.
1 posted on 06/25/2002 4:55:38 AM PDT by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
I've noticed this for ages. It's almost comical how they spew the word "conservative" out of their mouth as if it's poison, like their going to die or something for having to say the word.


2 posted on 06/25/2002 5:02:44 AM PDT by SpookBrat
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To: SpookBrat
The most obvious case of labeling bias was during the Senate Impeachment trial when Dan Blather labeled many Republicans as "Conservative" when they signed in but failed to label the Demmycrats as "Liberal." Oh and the Chief Justice was labeled as a Republican.

It will be intersting to see which Demmycrat Presidential candidates will be labeled as "Liberal." Methinks that Al Sharpton will be labeled as such just so the media can say they are fair plus the fact he doesn't have a chance in hell of winning but Hillary, Kerry, Daschle, etc. will escape the "Liberal" label.

BTW, how often has television news actually labeled Hillary as a Liberal?
3 posted on 06/25/2002 5:25:30 AM PDT by PJ-Comix
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: Motherbear
In MediaLand being Liberal is normal but being Conservative means being some sort of extremist that MUST be labeled (as in a warning label). BTW, the term "Conservative" is often accompanied by such qualifiers as "Hard Core" or "Far Right."
5 posted on 06/25/2002 6:09:11 AM PDT by PJ-Comix
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: SpookBrat; All
The media mentions "human rights" a hundred times more than "Individual rights". The reason for that should be obvious. Human rights promotes collectivist group-think whereas individual rights wording promotes, well, individuals.

For example, the smallest minority is the individual, protect individual rights and all larger than one minorities are protected as is the majority.

Which term do the leaders of your political party use more often? To them, are you a group member to be herded by group-think or an individual deserving respect? In politics it's most often a Hobson's choice -- voting for the lesser of two evils wherein individual rights is almost never mentioned.

7 posted on 06/25/2002 10:32:58 AM PDT by Zon
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To: PJ-Comix
How many times have you heard the words "hard-line" and "liberal" in the same sentence on TV or in print? I cannot remember a one.
8 posted on 06/25/2002 1:30:24 PM PDT by SkiHatGuy
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To: SkiHatGuy
Whoops, faux pas on the last post. You can read print, but you can't "hear" print. Well, you can't hear it unless you are balling it up to be thrown away...
9 posted on 06/25/2002 1:32:49 PM PDT by SkiHatGuy
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To: SkiHatGuy
10 posted on 06/25/2002 7:51:20 PM PDT by foreverfree
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To: PJ-Comix
Thanks for the data, PJ...Ammo is always appreciated! LOL
11 posted on 06/25/2002 10:12:11 PM PDT by brat
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To: PJ-Comix
Notice how they only go by how often people are "tagged" with a label and not the substance of what the person is saying.

I remember a show with Aaron "the face" Brown when he introduced two guests, one as a conservative and the other as just a syndicated columnist. The conservative guest pointed out that the columnist was indeed a liberal, and Brown eventually conceded that fact.

A lot of hard work went in to this mis-leading study.

12 posted on 06/26/2002 9:57:45 AM PDT by rudypoot
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To: PJ-Comix
Brit Hume just summed up this MRC story on Special Report with the CBS, NBC, ABC logos in the background....and these networks were proven to be really biased. Facts are our friends. (^:
13 posted on 06/26/2002 3:41:24 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
14 posted on 06/26/2002 5:56:23 PM PDT by Pagey
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