Bias in media coverage

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on January 17, 2010

There’s lots of ways that the media can inject their biases into their coverage. Several years ago my case study of how The New York Times buried the lede in the the race for a Maryland Senate seat got me a mention in a media criticism textbook.

But burying bad news deep down in a story where fewer people are likely to read it is just one way the news media can slant the news – another way is in completely ignoring a story.

Now, 99 times out of 100 it’s inappropriate to chastise a blogger for what they do or don’t cover. Blogs are by and large still one man/one woman publications that reflect the interests of their authors, so you won’t see me complaining about how so-and-so wrote about A but didn’t write about B.

Fact-check sites that like to tout their Pulitzer Prizes are another animal all together.

On Tuesday, Massachusetts voters will go to the polls to vote on who they will send to Washington, D.C. to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. To date, has not run a single article on the race.

You’ll find plenty there on Florida’s Senate race for which the primary is months away. Okay, yes, Politifact is associated with a Florida paper, so maybe that’s why.

But you’ll find quite a bit on the Texas governor’s race too (Perry, Hutchinson), so it doesn’t appear to be a home-state issue or even a national vs. state issue.

Why hasn’t done anything on Martha Coakley’s and the Massachusetts Democrats’ ridiculous claims that:

I’m sure there are probably some fact-checkable statements by Republican Scott Brown too, but none of them have gotten quite as much press as Coakley’s gaffes.

Instead, Politifact has found the time to check less newsworthy statements by Karl Rove, David Axelrod, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.

Oddly enough, the non-Pulitzer Prize-winning fact check site, has managed to devote some resources to this race.

I’m not going to wholeheartedly endorse all of’s analyses, but I will say that of the two purported non-partisan fact-checking organizations, is worse – and they’ve revealed it again by their curious silence.

One comment on “Bias in media coverage”

  1. The Texas version of PolitiFact is even worse. SO BIASED it is hardly worth paying attention to. But because they hold themselves up as a pillar of knowledge, you can't help but respond. Gardner Selby, who does the PolitiFact checks, is either an idiot or a big ole communist.


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