Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Looking For Conservative Facts

I like reading most of the articles on Media Matters for America. They have a nice format where they will outline the claim(s) of some conservative, then detail some facts in rebuttal. In addition to factual errors, they'll discuss biased reporting, misleading on-screen graphics, or anything else they take issue with. There is apparently enough misinformation out there for them to write several research articles and several blog posts a day.

The blog posts, incidentally, are less fun to read. They often use name calling in their arguments and are lighter on the facts. It's where the quicker and smaller updates happen, though, so I still give them a read most of the time.

Media Matters is definitely a liberal website. For example, almost all of their articles are debunking claims made on Fox News. I don't think this is a complete picture of the world. I'd really like to hear conservatives countering liberal reporting with supporting facts.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find those facts. The closest thing I've been able to find is the Media Research Center. Mostly, their articles are just reporting that some reporting was done, and we are supposed to recognize the liberal bias - somehow. They rarely counter with facts, which is a bit disappointing. There's also (a project of the Media Research Center), but that has the same problem of being light on facts.

Maybe that's just the way things are, currently. Perhaps liberals have facts to back up their positions - or at least tear down the opposition, and conservatives just complain that reporting they don't like is liberal. But there have to be some facts somewhere, right?

Amazingly enough, the best source I've found for "liberal-media" bashing is The Daily Show. However, most of their media bashing is showing the ridiculousness of the reporting and not usually an issue with the facts or arguments. Except when they cover Fox News. is useful in fact checking politicians, but they rarely cover the media directly, so they are usually only active around election time. They do an excellent job of remaining impartial, though. FiveThirtyEight does an excellent job of discussing political bias in polls, among other things, but this only helps indirectly. I know that Rasmussen tends to favor conservatives, so Fox News uses it a lot, but there aren't always matching polls from other institutions readily available to compare to.

Which is another problem entirely - facts themselves are often biased. People choose the poll with the results they want to report. Conservative think tanks will make certain assumptions in their studies to yield facts that support the conservative point of view. I imagine there are probably some liberal think tanks that are similarly biased in their studies, but there doesn't appear to be anyone calling them out on it. So, I humbly ask for help. Where do you go when you want to be informed (with facts) on the conservative side of things, and how can you trust those facts?


Anonymous said...

Another possibility, Mark, is that "liberal" media is really the mainstream. Their "liberal" moniker isn't because they drifted left, but rather the result of an attempt to redefine the center so what used to be middle-ground unbiased media with proper journalistic standards gets labeled as "liberal". Anyway, think of the two most famous organizations in the so-called "liberal" media: NPR and the NYT. Both of which have strong journalistic standards. Both of which generally present things in neutral and unbiased terms. Both of which are quick to acknowledge and publicly correct their own errors. Yes, there are clearly liberal-biased media, but for the most part, most of the "liberals" that I know get their news from the likes of NYT/WP/NPR/etc.

eis271828 said...

I almost completely agree, Anonymous. I'm a bit worried that my perception might be skewed because I've only been reading Media Matters and watching The Daily Show. So, I'd like to find something from the other side that is based on logic before I officially call the mainstream-media-except-for-Fox objective. =)