Media bias

Published July 3, 2007

The media in the United States are more biased toward conservative religious leaders, according to Media Matters, a research and analysis group that monitors national media in the U.S.

The study, entitled Left Behind: the Skewed Representation of Religion in Major News Media, examined major television networks and print media outlets from the day following the 2004 U.S. election through December 2006.

“They discovered that television news programs interviewed, mentioned or quoted conservative religious leaders 3.8 times more than progressive or mainstream faith leaders. Major newspapers quoted conservative leaders 2.7 times more often,” the National Council of Churches (NCC) reported.

“I have long felt the media has given Americans a distorted view of what people of faith believe,” said Rev. Bob Edgar, NCC general secretary.  “This research from Media Matters proves that.”

“I know that news judgment is often affected by harshness of rhetoric or degree of conflict and scandal involved,” said Mr. Edgar, “but the vast majority of American faith groups are engaged in none of these, and thus won’t appear in the media unless enterprising reporters and editors balance their coverage with what the majority of faithful Americans are doing from time to time.”

The study concluded, “At a time in which political polarization is perceived to be intensifying, news media have a responsibility to accurately portray the body politic in all its diversity.”


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