Academics loath to admit media bias

After talking with a journalism professor in 1996 who had written two books condemning the national media for liberal bias, I decided to see if I could find not just a journalism professor who also thought the media was liberal, but simply one who would talk on the subject.

But it's tough, because if a liberal professor says the national media is not liberal, he would be lying, in my view, and if he said that the media is liberal and biased, he would be fired from his liberal institution.

The University of South Carolina's school of journalism, where I attended, had no comment. I asked Kent Middleton, head of journalism at the University of Georgia, what the top problems of the national media were. He said, "Economics, lowering (and) decline (of profits)." So you can look at the national media (CBS, NBC, ABC, Associated Press) without worrying about bias. Right.

As for the charge of media liberal bias, Mr. Middleton said that premise was "a mistake," and that "The New York Times is more than objective." Off campus, that paper is considered very liberal. Mr. Middleton was not so kind when asked about conservative Fox News, saying "Fox is not as objective as some of the other media" and that "(Bill) O'Reilly is not a journalist. I don't listen to him." His show, for some reason, has the largest audience on cable, likely none of them journalism professors.

When asked if he had ever done a scientific study on the news media, Mr. Middleton said: "No."

Why does this sound like a pre- 9-11 ruse by the liberal media, that implied that fellow Democrat Bill Clinton had the terrorism problem under control? That is the crux of the problem: The liberal media cannot criticize a liberal politician, even if the nation is in danger, and liberal journalism professors cannot criticize the liberal media. ...

Tom Hunter, Augusta

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