September 10, 2018

The Ideological Blindness at the Heart of Media Bias

NBC's Chuck Todd "doesn’t adequately acknowledge that much of the distrust of the mainstream media is both organic and justified—and, even worse, there is no sign that the media are doing anything meaningful to deal with the root cause of that distrust," David French writes.
To understand the origin of distrust, let me ask my media readers three questions:
First, how many members of your newsroom believe that Caitlyn Jenner is a man?

Second, how many members of your newsroom own a firearm for self-defense, much less possess a concealed-carry permit?

Third, how many members of your newsroom believe life begins at conception and should receive legal protection from that moment?
I picked those issues very deliberately. Each reflects an area of disagreement among tens of millions of Americans. Each side of that disagreement is supported by serious scientific, historic, or legal arguments. And yet I daresay that most of our mainstream-media newsrooms are overwhelmingly populated by people who hold the progressive position on these issues. Moreover, in newsrooms, the number of people who believe that no decent person can disagree with them on these issues probably far outpaces the conservative dissenters.

Now, let’s compound that media monoculture with a related problem: Ideological monocultures foster friendships and social networks (including marriages) from predominantly one side of the ideological spectrum. That means that reporters tend to be intimately familiar with progressive arguments, and they’re also bound together in close personal relationships with progressives. Taken together, these factors lead at the very least to a problematic degree of ignorance about the other side and a problematic degree of sympathy for the real people they know on their own side.

Finally, let’s also acknowledge that the problem is getting worse. As the shame campaigns after the hiring even of opinion writers illustrate, there is a growing cohort of “woke” members of the media who can’t abide working with, say, a known Christian conservative. They don’t want him working beside them three cubicles away—or even remotely from a laptop many states distant.

August 14, 2018

There Is No 'Hate Speech' Exception to the First Amendment

"'Hate speech' is a phrase with no settled or determinate meaning," writes Princeton professor Robert George.
Although certain forms of expression (defamation, obscenity, threats, false advertising, etc.) are unprotected under the First Amendment, there is no "hate speech" exception to the Amendment. ...

I encourage students to defend any view they hold, so long as they are prepared to do business in the proper currency of intellectual discourse—a currency consisting of evidence, reasons, and arguments. My Princeton colleague Peter Singer defends the morality not only of abortion but even of infanticide—the deliberate killing of newborn babies. I find his position appalling and even scandalous. But because he is ready, willing, and able to make his case by adducing evidence, providing reasons, and making arguments, I believe he has a right to make it and, indeed, should be encouraged to do so. That I am unpersuaded (and appalled and even scandalized) by such advocacy is neither here nor there; nor does it diminish his right. ...

Of course, someone could say: “Professor Singer is advocating the license to kill an entire class of human beings. That is hate speech. It should not be allowed. His tenure at Princeton should be revoked. He should be fired.” But such a person would receive no support from me. On the contrary, I would insist that Professor Singer’s right to state and defend his views—with evidence, reasons, and arguments—must be strictly respected and protected.

Story Selection as a Form of Bias

It's easy enough to spot media bias when a story quotes spokesmen for only one side of an issue. But some biases "arise earlier, in the process of deciding which stories are newsworthy enough to deserve coverage in the first place."

This according to Hal Pashler of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Department of Psychology and Gail L. Heriot of the University of San Diego School of Law in a new study titled "Perceptions of Newsworthiness are Contaminated by a Political Usefulness Bias." The results of their study suggest that gatekeeping biases "might be strong and insidious."
The results clearly show that judgements of newsworthiness—specified as importance to a hypothetical newspaper readership—are contaminated by an ideological bias: news stories that offer good "ammunition" for the views of the rater are assigned a higher news value than those providing ammunition for the opposing view.

July 30, 2018

Oklahoma Profs Push Back Against Campus Groupthink, Identity Politics

"For many university professors in Oklahoma, the fear of retaliation for questioning left-leaning ideology is very real," Staci Elder Hensley reports. Some professors say many of their conservative-leaning students feel intimidated too.

Seton Hall, UCO Scholars: Only 2% of Sociology Profs Identify as Conservative

"A new study of sociology professors found that only one out of 50 academics in the field self-identifies as conservative," Campus Reform reports.
Even after adding libertarians to the mix, only four percent of the sociologists surveyed reported holding right-of-center political views. 
The study, “Sociology’s Sacred Victims and the Politics of Knowledge,” was led by Seton Hall University professors Mark Horowitz and Anthony Haynor, along with University of Central Oklahoma professor Kenneth Kickham.

July 16, 2018

Thanks Coach

June 21, 2018

'Left-Wing Activists Shamelessly Construct False Narratives'

"[I]t is difficult to explain Oklahoma’s economic and social condition," Andrew Spiropoulos writes today, "in a world in which the commanding heights of the culture are largely manned by left-wing activists who shamelessly construct false narratives and distort data in order to persuade us that, despite the evidence of our own senses, Oklahoma is doing poorly."

The Ideological Blindness at the Heart of Media Bias

NBC's Chuck Todd "doesn’t adequately acknowledge that much of the distrust of the mainstream media is both organic and justified—an...