Media Bias

Here’s an interesting real story of media bias from David Henderson of EconLog.  Thanks to Megan McArdle for the link.

The issue:  Mainstream media typically attaches ideological labels to conservative sources, but not to liberal sources.

David Henderson wrote about when this happened to him in the L.A. Times and how he confronted the reporter.  Not only did the reporter ascribe an incorrect ideology to Henderson, he didn’t subscribe an ideology to the liberal sources in the same article.

I persisted and asked him why he didn’t ascribe an ideology to the other economists quoted, who clearly had ideologies. He explained that I was the only one quoted who was critical of the Obama team.
“Did you hear what you just said?” I asked. “Only those who are critical are given ideologies.”

We can talk about media bias, but it’s always good to have specific things to point to.  This is one. There’s no reason not to be fair and consistent and ideological labeling.  Either label everyone or don’t.

I think we all tend to do that in our own minds as well.  Those who agree with us get no labels.  Those who disagree are labeled to explain away the disagreement.  Much easier to do that than to actually think about the disagreement.


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