Despite evidence to the contrary, Salon claimed that a recent academic study proved that there was no liberal bias in journalism and the mainstream media. Salon based its claim on a joint study by professors at Florida State University, the University of Virginia, and Brigham Young University, which study ran with the title, “There is No Liberal Media Bias in the News Political Journalists Choose to Cover.” The study will be published in the academic journal Science Advances at a future unspecified date.
Salon repeated the study’s claim, which was that journalists were not biased in their coverage of political candidates and their issues. However, Salon missed two significant points about the allegations of liberal media bias.
First, Salon (and by extension, the study’s authors) did not acknowledge that word choice could expose journalists’ biases. Nothing related to word choice was included in the study. Conservatives allege liberal media bias is not only dictated by the amount of news coverage, but the word choice used in news coverage.
Second, news coverage did not insulate the news media from criticism. There are differences between fair news coverage compared to partisan news coverage, such as word choice, video footage, chyron titles, and panel discussion topics and comments.
Overall, Salon’s defense of the study was lackluster and missed important points about liberal media bias. It missed the mark by attempting to insulate the mainstream media from criticism. Instead, Salon should have acknowledged that there were flaws with the study’s conclusion and admitted the mainstream media was imperfect.