Conservatives have suspected for years that traditional journalists take news cues from liberal bloggers. Stories about secret, online gatherings between said bloggers and journalists have fueled those suspicions.
Now a Brigham Young University political scientist has confirmed that the axis of liberal media bias runs straight from lefty blogs into the mainstream press. He surveyed journalists about their blog reading habits. Here’s the summary (via Instapundit):
[Professor Richard] Davis also queried more than 200 journalists to learn how they use blog content in their coverage of political news. Most journalists were aware of influential blogs on both sides of the political spectrum, such as Daily Kos and Talking Points on the left and Michelle Malkin and Instapundit on the right. Despite equal awareness, journalists spend more time reading posts in the liberal blogosphere.
For example, more journalists know about Michelle Malkin than Talking Points. Yet twice as many journalists actually read Talking Points than read Michelle Malkin.
“When journalists take story ideas from blogs, those ideas naturally will come from blogs they read,” Davis said. “These reading patterns suggest journalists may be getting primarily one view of the blogosphere.”
Lefty bloggers and liberal journalists undoubtedly will dismiss the finding because it does not, and cannot, prove cause and effect. But the hostile online encounter I had recently with a former co-worker is all the proof I need.
Our discussion started on Facebook when conservative friends of mine criticized Obama in the comment section of an article I had posted to my profile. My colleague took offense that people would mock the president. I agreed that some Obama-bashing has been shameful but wondered why he hadn’t voiced the same concern during the eight years of vicious ridicule heaped upon President Bush.
His response: “Mean things were said about Bush, but they do not come close to some of the things that talk radio has said about Obama and his wife!!!” (Yes, he used three exclamation points.)
Doesn’t that sound like something he might have read on a liberal blog — the sweeping generalization about talk radio with no evidence to support it? I thought it did, so I suggested that he expand his information horizons by reading all about the “Bush Derangement Syndrome” documented so thoroughly by Malkin, Charles Krauthammer and others. I was sure my colleague wouldn’t continue claiming that Obama has had it worse than Bush if he just saw the evidence.
I was wrong. He promptly cussed me and dumped me as a friend on Facebook.
I’ve worked with dozens of journalists inside the Beltway over the past 18 years, and I’m glad to report that most of them aren’t that close-minded. But my former co-worker’s hostility to the mere suggestion that he gather information from sources on both sides of the political spectrum speaks volumes about how willing some journalists are to parrot the talking points of the nation’s left wing.