UCLA, Stanford Study shows Drudge Report most centrist of media outlets

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by G4scott, Jun 22, 2004.

  1. G4scott macrumors 68020

    G4scott

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    #1
    link

    Who would've thought?

    For those who think the US media is part of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, think again...
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #2
    heh heh, i read some of it. the method they use to determine that is interesting, to say the least. also of interest is their finding that the ACLU is more conservative than the average GOP member of congress.

    g4scott - thanks for deciding not only what reports i need to to pay attention to, but what conclusions i need to draw. i don't know what i would do if i acutally had a brain of my own.
     
  3. pooky macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Ok, first off, your title is way off. UCLA and Stanford didn't find this, a couple of graduate students wrote a paper. Usually when people cite a "Stanford Study," for example, it's in a peer reviewed journal. That this article is presented as a .doc on someone's personal website makes it highly suspect. It also reads like a high school term paper, which makes me think it might be a joke, or at the very least something that didn't have a lot of time devoted to it. Finally, their methods are very suspect; I've never heard anything like this. I'd like to hear a real political scientist voice an opinion on this one.
     
  4. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #5
    Actually, Jeff Milyo is a professor of public policy at the University of Chicago (link) and Tim Groseclose is a professor of political economy at Stanford (link).

    But even if they're professors, if this is an unpublished manuscript it means it hasn't stood up to peer review. Noam Chomsky is also a "professor," but I think you'd find his opinions diametrically opposed to Groseclose and Milyo.
     
  5. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #6
    Okay, now I've skimmed the article, and I have to say it's an appealing approach to the problem. Basically what they do is analyze which think tanks the media outlets cite, and compare them to which think tanks are cited by conservative and liberal congressmen. So if liberal congressmen cite a think tank more often than conservative congressmen, then that think tank is deemed "liberal," and media outlets which disproportionately cite that think tank are also deemed liberal.

    But what if liberal think tanks are cited more often by the media because they do better research? Or because they produce more research? It seems to me that an economic analysis of media sources misses the point. Also, what if conservative media simply don't cite think tanks as often, period? Then it will look like the "liberal" media are disproportionately citing "liberal" think tanks, because they cite them more often than the "conservative" media.
     
  6. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #7
    Does the study consider the context of the think-tank citations? IOW, if I write in a story, "according to those fools at the Cato Institute...", does that make me Libertarian-leaning?
     
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #8
    i may have heard it here, or maybe not...

    a study was done on NPR's citing of think tanks. of the think tanks they cited, an overwhelming number of them are considered conservative.

    edit: here it is...

     
  8. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #9
    Yeah, they cover that. They don't count citations like that. They also hired 50 percent Bush supporters and 50 percent Gore supporters as research assistants.
     
  9. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #10
    I had a discussion about this on SpinSanity.org a few weeks back. Its in the first article's comments on this page.

    Basically, I found the following issues with the study:

    Taft
     
  10. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #11
    No it does not. It also does not attempt to justify the use of ONLY news stories which make citations as a representative of ALL news stories.

    I think measures like this are pretty seriously flawed. There are far too many unaccounted for factors to make this study useful as a general indicator of bias.

    Taft
     
  11. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #12
    I agree with your conclusion, but you are wrong when you say the study does not account for situations when the think tank was quoted only to demonstrate that it is wrong. Here's a direct quote from the article:

     
  12. pooky macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I'd also have to add (and this is admittedly personal bias) that ANY study that reveals Fox News as a "centrist" source is bunk. Period. Just watching Fox News for any length of time will tell you it is far from centrist.
     
  13. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #14

    I saw a few mintues of it on Sunday morning :lo:

    "And now for news you won't see on any other station, the good we are doing in Iraq"

    That is almost a direct quote! I had to laugh. Then I changed the channel.
     
  14. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #15
    That is true.

    I guess I should clarify, however. What I meant is that a liberal senator could use a statistic which, out of the context of the original think tank writing, could be used for purposes other than the original writing intended.

    Lets make up a scenario (please remember that all of the following IS MADE UP). Lets say the Cato institute put out a study which, in a small part of the study said, "15% of homes which own guns eventually will have an accident." They might have intended that statistic to aide a larger argument or point. However, a liberal senator might be doing research in order to argue against a different conservative senator and happen upon that statistic. Then, using that statistic out of context, and applied to a different argument or conversation, the liberal senator might cite the study.

    What I'm saying is that in that scenario, the fact that the liberal senator cited the study does not in any way endorse or refute the overall findings of the study. Rather, the study was dissected for information helpful to that senator in a different context.

    So far as I can tell, this type of citation would be used in their sample. I am not, however, in any way sure of how many such citations might occur. It may be a rare case.

    Taft
     
  15. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #16
    Yes, excellent point. I was trying to make the same point above, but I wasn't able to do it with your kind of clarity. The most important point is that this is an economic study, not a rhetorical analysis. As an economic study, it attempts to avoid all possible bias, but it can't avoid the most substantial bias of all, which is that there is no way for an economic study to capture all the nuances in a survey of thousands of documents. Unfortunately, neither can a rhetorical analysis--because it will introduce its own sorts of biases.
     
  16. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #17
    Good points. I do think, however, that an economic study could be created which would do a better[/b] job at quantifying bias through specific measures, even if the study wasn't "perfect" (what study is?). I just think the SINGLE measure this study relies on is far too simplistic to be of any use. I would be interested in seeing a study which approaches the problem in the same way, but uses more complete and meaningful measures.

    Taft
     

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