Leaning Left

Two articles caught my attention today. This article from the Christian Science Monitor talks about College professors political leanings and how they might not be as unbiased as one would hope. And again this year the Pew Research Center finds that liberals and moderates dominate News outlets, especially on the national level.

Both of these articles should come as no suprise to anyone who has lived in this country and/or attended higher education anytime recently. Although I know a couple of students who considered my College was too conservative; the vast majority of the students I knew thought Drury was dominated by liberal politics and professours. I personally know a student who was banned from using a well known conservative author as a reference because, “those views are not valid.”

5 thoughts on “Leaning Left

  1. Jason Post author

    First, while the reporters themselves may be liberal, the media is a moneymaking venture. Conservative outlets like Fox News are dominating ratings, while CNN, traditionally a liberal news source, has gone centrist and ratings are struggling. Al Franken can\’t stay on the air for a month, but Limbaugh\’s putting away fiften mil a year. So don\’t feel justified as yet because people who work in the news happen to be liberal – the true bias lies in the way the news is reported.

    As for college, here\’s a question: can you point out for me a large number (it would have to be in the tens of thousands) of unemployed conservative professors out there? The five hundred English professors who can\’t find a job because their dissertations referenced conservative sources? Or the one thousand philosophy professors destitute and unemployed NOT because of their choice of major, but because they stubbornly hang on to Rand as their philosopher of choice? If there\’s a disroportionate number of liberal professors, doesn\’t that mean that there\’s gotta be a large number of conservative profs out there being descriminated against?

    There\’s not?

    Wanna know why?

    Because liberals happen to be attracted to professorial positions. Form your own conclusions as to why – perhaps liberals tend to be smarter than conservatives. Perhaps liberals enjoy more intellectual occupations than conservatives. I\’m sure there\’s a multitude of possibilities, but the first two feed my ego, so like a good American, I\’ll stick with those conclusions. :)

    For whatever reason, you can\’t make the case that there is some kind of bias or descrimination occuring unless you can dig up tens of thousands – literally – profs who can\’t get a job because of their politics. Sorry.

  2. Bobby Rockers Post author

    First, I don’t feel justified or unjustified by the studies of the Pew Research Center. I also don’t consider either Al Franken or Rush Limaugh to be News. :) The reality of the world is that it is fundamentally impossible to be unbiased; otherwise reporters would unable to even identify what news is. The problem is that for years the national media has tried to identify themselves as unbiased while clearly being so. It would be much better if everyone from Fox News to National Public Radio were to be honest about their views. In that way the viewers could more accurately evaluate the news in light of its sources. I don’t have a problem with the New York Times being liberal. I don’t have a problem with The New Republic being conservative. I have a problem with them denying it.

    As for college, you will note that I said college professors “many not be as unbiased as one would hope”. I don’t believe my comment makes any statement about the College itself being bias and/or discriminating. I entirely believe that, for whatever reason, people attracted to professorial positions are more likely to be liberal then the general population and that the hiring practices of Colleges have little (or nothing) to do with the cause. Therefor I do not have to provide any such proof as my claims are not aimed at workplace discrimination, but were aimed at professors themselves discriminating in their teaching practices. There is however plenty of evidence that colleges have a disproportionate number of liberal professors vs. conservative professors. See:
    http://www.academia.org/campus_reports/2002/october_2002_5.html

  3. Jason Post author

    Fair enough, but professors admitting to be liberal (which I do not doubt) or reporters admitting to be liberal (which I also do not doubt) does not necessarily mean that the curriculums they teach and the news they report cannot be objective.

    I have yet to see a word-by-word, sentence-by-sentence breakdown of a single news story from a \”liberal\” point of view, a \”conservative\” point of view, AND an objective point of view, for comparison\’s sake. Although it would be amusing to try something like that on my blog. Not a bad idea…

  4. Bobby Rockers Post author

    I agree that is possible to admittedly liberal/conservative professors/reporters can also be fairly objective. In fact I believe that the vast majority of them try and are successful at being fairly objective. But the reality of the matter is that some will not, and that lack of objectivity shows up enough to make people notice.

    Its my guess that these “bad apples” stand out disproportionally from the majority of professors/reporters that are honestly trying to be as objective as possible.

  5. Jason Post author

    Indeed, as this is my problem with Fox News, and my complaint about some of our professors at Drury.

    I forget her name, but she was a religion teacher before she was fired – the dyke who made everything into a patriarchal gender issue, ad infinitum, ad nausem. That was an example of a liberal (extremely) prof. letting a personal agenda get in the way. But profs. Browning, Esposito, and Ess could all probably be considered liberals as well, but in my exerience were very objective in their teaching styles.

    I always thought this would make a good research project – to define exactly what \”liberal bias\” and \”conservative bias\” would be in the media (I suspect it would be a combination of language, use of visuals, time given to multiple points of view, and so forth) and then using that criteria rate which news shows and stations really display a liberal and/or conservative bias in their programming.

    Someday when I have money and time to spend and have already purchased my dinosaur theme park, I\’ll do it. ;)

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