February 14, 2006

Unequal Representation

This is a story that's been talked about quite a bit lately on the blogosphere, but now that Media Matters has put together some real numbers it's all the more shocking. Let's face it, even if you don't subscribe to the "Print is dead." school of thought you must admit that television is the primary source of information for most of the country. Because this medium is increadibly powerful, you'd hope that the multi- millionaire/billionaires that control access to the forum would, in the best interests of their viewers specifically as well as the general discourse of the country, make sure that the conservative and liberal positions would be roughly equally represented. You would, however, be wrong. This isn't something huge like putting together a news organization to push the conservative agenda, nor are we talking about interviewers tossing up softball questions to their conservative guests while railing on the liberal guest. We're talking about just not having liberal guests at all.

Now, I haven't checked super deep into the methodology of how Media Matters classified people as "liberal" and "conservative" and I'm sure somebody will take exception to some classification they made, but the margins are wide enough that I doubt it will really change anything. During the Clinton years there was roughly equal, if tipped slightly to the conservative side, representation on the talk shows. During the Bush years, even in the early years when the Democrats held the Senate, the scale slid heavily to the conservative. I can't imagine a good explanation for this.

Hat tip to Atrios for the link.

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