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Friday Edition: A Demonstration of Media Bias

Plus: The truth about job growth.

1. A Demonstration of Media Bias

Conservatives are always saying the media skews left — but do they have any hard data to back up their claims? (Media Research Center)

The latest: According to a new Media Research Center study, from October of last year to June of this year, 94% of political guests on late-night shows were liberal.

  • Liberal guests on five major late-night programs (ABC’s "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," NBC’s "Late Night with Seth Meyers" and "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," CBS’s "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," and Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show”) outnumbered conservative guests 137 to 8.

That’s not all:

  • A Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications study released last year found only 3.4% of U.S. journalists are Republicans.

  • An Economist study from December found that mainstream media outlets are far more likely to use language favored by Democrats (such as “undocumented immigrant” instead of “illegal alien”).

  • Media watchdogs, like misinformation experts and fact checkers, tend to lean liberal, studies have shown.

  • George Mason University professor Tim Groseclose used a “political quotient” model to determine the media has a liberal bias.

  • Using donation data, the political analytics firm CrowdPac showed that people working in media are overwhelmingly liberal.

Chart: CrowdPac

Bubba’s Two Cents

A couple thoughts here:

1) It’s easy to sound like you’re screeching if you’re claiming the media is biased towards liberals and Democrats, but there is a real impact in neglecting this perspective. What’s more demonstrative of this than the past week’s news cycle on Biden’s age? The right had been saying it for years, and the left acted like it snuck up on them.

2) This is my personal opinion to be clear, but the right-wing media options are generally awful. There are certainly decent items in right-wing media at times, but I’ve long said that they over-index in commentary, sensationalism and outrage.

2. A Hidden Truth About Job Growth

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently bragged that his state accounted for 16% of all national job creation in May, but that number comes with a big caveat. (The Center Square)

A new report from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office: Since September 2022, California's private sector has lost 154,000 jobs, while the public sector has gained 361,000 jobs.

  • That means a net increase of 207,000 jobs, entirely from government-related hiring.

Government is playing a big role in pumping up job growth on the national level, too.

  • Government hiring accounted for 25% of new jobs in early 2024, compared to 11% in the same period in 2019, according to Labor Department data from April.

What economist Jeffrey Roach told Fox Business:

It’s a little bit disconcerting when you see the fact that job growth is in sectors that are not necessarily your productive sectors. … You never want to see the government be the major engine for hiring. They are quick to furlough, so it can kind of go both ways. You may see this massive rebound in hiring, but once there’s a slow patch, you might see a reversal of that trend.

Bubba’s Two Cents

I don’t want to overstate this, but this is just one example that complicates the mainstream consensus that President Biden’s economy is roaring. Critics, some of them on the left, have pushed back against this narrative. Many of the arguments — like the Wall Street Journal’s comparison of inflation-adjusted household net worth between Trump and Biden — are more than a little persuasive.

3. Money in Politics

Does splashing big money on a cause or candidate always count as dirty politics, or only when it's the other side doing it? (Politico)

Now: The progressive group Demand Justice plans to spend $10 million combating the conservative lean of the Supreme Court.

  • Specifically, the campaign aims to counteract far-right groups that have supposedly influenced the Supreme Court's conservative majority.

Then: Last month, progressives were up in arms over the tens of millions of dollars spent by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to defeat Rep. Jamaal Bowman in the Democratic primary in New York’s 16th District.

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo.: 

AIPAC and their allies — backed by far-right Donald Trump megadonors — poured a tidal wave of cash ($14.5m) into this primary race showing us just how desperate these billionaire extremists are in their attempts to buy our democracy, promote their own gain, and silence the voices of progress and justice. There should be no question about the need to get Big Money out of politics.

National Review contributor A.G. Hamilton:

Somehow the people who pretend to be concerned about money in politics and attacks on our institutions don’t seem to have any issues with one group spending tens of millions to undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. Instead, their attacks get parroted by media allies.

4. Notice a Pattern?

Amid the reckoning over the national press’ failures in covering President Biden’s mental decline, National Review senior political correspondent Jim Geraghty has done an excellent job compiling other major media whiffs. (National Review)

Geraghty:

“How did we miss that Covid was dangerous to the elderly and immunocompromised, but much less dangerous to the young and healthy?”

“How did we miss that closing public schools for at least a year would be catastrophic to children’s education and development?”

“How did we miss that the lab leak wasn’t a crazy conspiracy theory or racism?”

“How did we miss that the Hunter Biden laptop was real?”

“How did we miss virulent antisemitism spreading on America’s college campuses?”

“How did we miss that Joe Biden is too old to function as president?”

Bubba’s Two Cents

Geraghty attributes this pattern to reporters being in the tank for Democrats and abandoning basic journalistic principles. That’s surely part of it. But I also think much of it is explained by the blind spots journalists share because they tend to be a pretty homogenous group of elitists.

As I mentioned to Ben Smith the other day at Semafor, journalists are objectively out of step with the American people when it comes to what deserves to be covered.

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