Thursday, January 26, 2012

Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind by Tim Groseclose

I just finished Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind by Tim Groseclose and just want to record some initial thoughts. As most people, who read this blog, if there is anyone out there still, are aware I tend to lean left of center on most issues and so this is probably not a book you would see me reading. That said I really enjoyed it. 1.)I love anyone who can present evidence in a clear and logical way and Groseclose does that beautifully. I appreciate that all of his assumptions are on the table from his point of view to data collection and to be honest although I think everyone assumes the media to be liberally biased I found the results to be fascinating as to the extent and implication. 2.)I put this book down and walked away and was acutely aware at how sloppy and weak my critical thinking has become when it comes to the new I read and watch. 3.)There is an example in the book that has to do with the reporting of the Bush tax cuts and seeing the data presented from both sides (like reporting is supposed to do) I would have honestly sided with Bush on the issue had they been fully presented at the time. This leads me to wonder what other positions I am defending without knowing all of the facts. 4.)Surprisingly the offense that I took to this book was as an atheist not a liberal. I believe in data, I think the study is sound, but just because something is centrist doesn’t make it true. **Future possible study. One thing that I couldn’t shake was the weighting concept and the scope of items measured. Although I have no data to support this position I would like to jot down some thoughts for further possible study on the subject. In my personal life the book I finished reading prior to this was Boomerang by Michael Lewis about among other thing the European debt crisis. Now for example, like many people you can’t turn on the news these days without hearing Greece this and default that. I have probably heard 20 news reports on it, read 30 articles in the paper but how I now see that issue is framed by that book. Somehow that doesn’t seem to factor in to this. For example today is 1/26/2012 this is the New York Times Best Seller List. I guess you could pick any top reading list. How many are conservative? Liberal? Does that make a difference? What if the order of magnitude is so much bigger then reading a paper? ***I know it is also not included in the study but similar to watching a one hour special on TV what impact does a message you are getting from a one hour sermon in church have on a user? Listening to Midmorning isn’t going to send you to Hell but ignoring the message of a sermon might? This could impact elasticity, right? **If the free market principal is at play and there is more underlying demand for conservative news papers or balanced opinion. Why hasn’t the sector shifted to more of a balance? If more people are conservative , have conservative demand, shouldn’t the free market system sort this out?

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