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Dead Tree Alert: The Third Bias

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Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME

My column in this week’s print TIME expands on a bullet point from my post a week ago, on the Pew Research poll that asked TV viewers whether they believed the networks they watched had a liberal or conservative bias. The problem with this dichotomy, used not just by Pew but media critics all over, is that it overlooks what is the mainstream media’s most common bias—moderate, or establishment, bias:


the effect is to bolster centrist political positions — not least by implying that they are not political positions at all but occupy a happy medium between the nutjobs. Meanwhile, conservatives see moderate bias as liberal, and liberals see it as conservative — letting journalists conclude that it’s not bias at all. …

The result is that our view of media ends up as oversimplified as our view of politics—something that was especially in a week of several off-year elections with major independent or third-party candidates. Read the rest here.