Drudgereport More Centerist than other news sources

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    A Measure of Media Bias

    Tim Groseclose

    Department of Political Science, UCLA, and

    Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

    Jeff Milyo

    Harris School of Public Policy

    University of Chicago

    September 2003

    We are grateful for the research assistance by Aviva Aminova, Jose Bustos, Anya Byers, Evan Davidson, Kristina Doan, Wesley Hussey, David Lee, Pauline Mena, Orges Obeqiri, Byrne Offut, Matt Patterson, David Primo, Darryl Reeves, Susie Rieniets, Tom Rosholt, Michael Uy, Michael Visconti, Margaret Vo, Rachel Ward, and Andrew Wright. Also, we are grateful for comments by Mark Crain, Tim Groeling, Wesley Hussey, Chap Lawson, Jeff Lewis, and Barry Weingast.

    A Measure of Media Bias

    The editors in Los Angeles killed the story. They told Witcover that it didn't come off and that it was an opinionstory. The solution was simple, they told him. All he had to do was get other people to make the same points and draw the same conclusions and then write the article in their words. (emphasis in original) Timothy Crouse, Boys on the Bus, 1973, p. 116.

    Do the major media outlets in the U.S. have a liberal bias? Few questions evoke stronger opinions, and we cannot think of a more important question to which objective statistical techniques can lend their service. So far, the debate has largely been one of anecdotes (How can CBS News be balanced when it calls Steve Forbes tax plan wacky?) and untested theories (if the news industry is a competitive market, then how can media outlets be systematically biased?).

    Few studies provide an objective measure of the slant of news, and none has provided a way to link such a measure to ideological measures of other political actors. That is, none of the existing measures can say, for example, whether the New York Times is more liberal than Tom Daschle or whether Fox News is more conservative than Bill Frist. We provide such a measure. Namely, we compute an ADA score for various news outlets, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Drudge Report, Fox News Special Report, and all three networks nightly news shows.

    Our results show a very significant liberal bias. All of the news outlets except Fox News Special Report received a score to the left of the average member of Congress. Moreover, by one of our measures all but three of these media outlets (Special Report, the Drudge Report, and ABCs World News Tonight) were closer to the average Democrat in Congress than to the median member of the House of Representatives. One of our measures found that the Drudge Report is the most centrist of all media outlets in our sample. Our other measure found that Fox News Special Report is the most centrist. These findings refer strictly to the news stories of the outlets. That is, we omitted editorials, book reviews, and letters to the editor from our sample.

    To compute our measure, we count the times that a media outlet cites various think tanks. We compare this with the times that members of Congress cite the same think tanks in their speeches on the floor of the House and Senate. By comparing the citation patterns we can construct an ADA score for each media outlet.

    As a simplified example, imagine that there were only two think tanks, one liberal and one conservative. Suppose that the New York Times cited the liberal think tank twice as often as the conservative one. Our method asks: What is the estimated ADA score of a member of Congress who exhibits the same frequency (2:1) in his or her speeches? This is the score that our method would assign to the New York Times.
  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Dplear
    A feature of our method is that it does not require us to make a subjective assessment of how liberal or conservative a think tank is. That is, for instance, we do we need to read policy reports of the think tank or analyze its position on various issues to determine its ideology. Instead, we simply observe the ADA scores of the members of Congress who cite the think tank. This feature is important, since an active controversy exists whether, e.g., the Brookings Institution or the RAND Corporation is moderate, left-wing, or right-wing.

    Previous Studies of Media Bias

    One of the most curious and surprising statistics in all of American politics is that an overwhelming number of journalists are liberal. For instance, Elaine Povich (1996) reports that only seven percent of all Washington correspondents voted for George Bush in 1992, compared to 37 percent of the American public.1 Lichter, Rothman and Lichter, (1986) and Weaver and Wilhoit (1996) report similar findings for earlier elections.

    The reason this statistic is curious and surprising is that many consider the media the watchdog of government, sometimes calling it the Fourth Branch of American Government. If so, it is by far the least representative of the branches. These statistics suggest that journalists, as a group, are more liberal than almost any congressional district in the country. For instance, in the Ninth California district, which includes Berkeley, twelve percent voted for Bush, nearly double the rate of journalists. In the Eighth Massachusetts district, which includes Cambridge, nineteen percent voted for Bush, more than triple the rate of journalists. In the 14th California district, which includes Palo Alto, 26 percent voted for Bush, more than four times the rate of journalists.

    It is interesting to compare the unrepresentative nature of the media to the purported unrepresentative nature of the U.S. Senate. Some have noted that the U.S. Senate is unrepresentative of voters because small states are overrepresented. Further, since small states in the U.S. tend to be more conservative than large states, this causes a conservative bias in the Senate. However, even if the entire U.S. Senate were chosen only by voters from Mississippi, the most conservative state in the union in 1992 (50 percent voted for Bush), such an electorate would still be significantly more representative than the Fourth Branch of Government.2

    Of course, however, just because a journalist has liberal or conservative views, this does not mean that his or her reporting will be slanted. For instance, as Kathleen Hall Jamieson (2000, 188) notes,

    One might hypothesize instead that reporters respond to the cues of those who pay their salaries and mask their own ideological dispositions. Another explanation would hold that norms of journalism, including `objectivity and `balance blunt whatever biases exist.

    Or, as Timothy Crouse explains:

    It is an unwritten law of current political journalism that conservative Republican Presidential candidates usually receive gentler treatment from the press than do liberal Democrats. Since most reporters are moderate or liberal Democrats themselves, they try to offset their natural biases by going out of their way to be fair to conservatives. No candidate ever had a more considerate press corps than Barry Goldwater in 1964, and four years later the campaign press gave every possible break to Richard Nixon. Reporters sense a social barrier between themselves and most conservative candidates; their relations are formal and meticulously polite. But reporters tend to loosen up around liberal candidates and campaign staffs; since they share the same ideology, they can joke with the staffers, even needle them, without being branded the enemy. If a reporter has been trained in the traditional, objective school of journalism, this ideological and social closeness to the candidate and the staff makes him feel guilty; he begins to compensate; the more he likes and agrees with the candidate personally, the harder he judges him professionally. Like a coach sizing up his own son in spring tryouts, the reporter becomes doubly severe. (1973, 355-6)

    However, a strong form of the view that reporters offset or blunt their own ideological biases leads to a counterfactual implication. Suppose it is true that all reporters report objectively and their ideological views do not color their reporting. If so, then all news would have the same slant. Yet, few would disagree that Fox News or the Washington Times has a more conservative slant the New York Times.

    A large number of economic studies give theoretical reasons that bolster the view that the media does not have a systematic bias. (See xx, xx, xx and xx). The idea is that if there were a systematic bias, then an entrepreneur could form a new media outlet that does not have a bias. This outlet would drive the others out of business. This is a compelling argument, and even the libertarian Cato Journal has published an article agreeing with the view: In this article, the author, Daniel Sutter (2001), concludes that, although it might be possible for a systematic bias to exist in the network news (since, before cable television, there were strong barriers to entry in this industry), such a bias is impossible, or at least very unlikely, for the newspaper, radio, or magazine industry.

    However, contrary to the views and evidence cited above, we find a significant liberal bias in our sample of media outlets. This presents a challenge to economic theorists. Given that there is a systematic liberal bias the news market, at least one of the assumptions in the above theoretical studies must be inaccurate.


    The web site, www.wheretodoresearch.com lists 200 of the most prominent think tanks in the U.S. Using the official web site of Congress, http://thomas.loc.gov, we and our research assistants searched the Congressional Record for instances where a member of Congress cited one of these think tanks. We looked for instances where the legislator cited a view or a fact stated by a member of the think tank. We then counted the sentences in the citation. We also recorded the average adjusted ADA score of the member who cited the think tank.3

    Along with direct quotes, we sometimes included sentences that were not direct quotes. For instance, many of the citations were cases where a member of Congress noted This bill is supported by think tank X. Also, members of Congress sometimes insert printed material into the Record, such as a letter, a newspaper article, or a report. If a think tank was cited in such material or if a think tank member wrote the material, we counted it just as if the member of Congress had read the material in his or her speech.

    We did the same exercise for stories that media outlets report, except with media outlets we did not record an ADA score. Instead, our method estimates such a score.

    Sometimes a legislator or a media outlet noted an action that a think tank had taken e.g. that it raised a certain amount of money, initiated a boycott, filed a lawsuit, elected new officers, or held its annual convention. We did not record such cases in our data set. However, sometimes in the process of describing such actions, the reporter or member of Congress would quote a member of the think tank, and the quote revealed the think tanks views on national policy, or the quote stated a fact that is relevant to national policy. If so, we would record that quote in our data set. For instance, suppose a reporter noted The NAACP has asked its members to boycott businesses in the state of South Carolina. `We are initiating this boycott, because we believe that it is racist to fly the Confederate Flag on the state capitol, a leader of the group noted. In this instance, we would count the second sentence that the reporter wrote, but not the first.

    Also, we omitted the instances where the member of Congress or journalist only cited the think tank so he or she could criticize it or explain why it was wrong. About five percent of the congressional citations and about one percent of the media citations fell into this category.

    In the same spirit, we omitted cases where a journalist or legislator gave an ideological label to a think tank (e.g. Even the left-wing Urban Institute favors this bill.). The idea is that we only wanted cases were the legislator or journalist cited the think tank as if it were a disinterested expert on the topic at hand. About two percent of the congressional citations and about five percent of the media citations fell into this category.4

    For the congressional data, we coded all citations that occurred during the period Jan. 1, 1993 to December 31, 2002. This covered the 103rd thru 107th Congresses. We calculated the average adjusted ADA score for each member of Congress over the period 1993 to 1999.5

    As noted earlier, the media data does not include editorials, letters to the editor, or book reviews. That is, all of our results express the bias of news reporting of media outlets and not, e.g., the editorial pages of newspapers and magazines.

    In Table 1 we list the 20 think tanks that are most commonly cited in Congress. The third column of the table lists the average adjusted ADA score of the members who cited the think tank, where this average is weighted by the number of sentences that the legislator cited. The fourth column lists the average score weighted by citations. It is an open question whether the proper level of observation is a sentence or a citation. That is, for instance, if a journalist cites five sentences from the Economic Policy Institute in one story, it is unclear whether this demonstrates the same liberal bias as citing one sentence from the Economic Policy Institute in five separate stories. As a consequence, we report all of our analyses for both levels of observation, sentences and citations.

    As a comparison, in Table 2 we list the mean and median adjusted ADA scores of members of Congress for the period that we analyze. The average scores for the House and Senate were respectively 44.5 and 40.0. We calculated these by taking the average adjusted score for each year. Then, for the seven-year period for which we recorded adjusted scores (1993-1999), we calculated the average over these years. We did the same calculation for the median of the House and Senate. These were respectively 39.0 and 36.9.

    Table 3 lists the average adjusted ADA score of some well-known moderate members of Congress. It includes the scores of the most conservative Democrat in our sample, Nathan Deal (Ga.), and the most liberal Republican in our sample, Constance Morella (Md.). Although Nathan Deal became a Republican in 1995, the score that we list in the table is calculated only from his years as a Democrat.6

    The tables shed some light on some much debated topics about the ideological position of various think tanks. First, the table reveals that the position of the Brookings Institution clearly leans left. When we use sentences as our level of observation, the average score of legislators citing Brookings is 50.0, and when we use citations, the average score is 46.2. In contrast, the average score of the House, 44.5, and the average score of the Senate, 40.0, are both more right wing than the average legislator citing Brookings.7

    Second, contrary to conventional wisdom, the RAND Corporation is fairly liberal. The adjusted ADA score of the average legislator citing it is 53.6, using sentences as the level of observation, and 52.6, using citations as the level of observation. This is significantly to the left of the center of Congress, although not as far left as, say, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Children's Defense Fund, or the Economic Policy Institute. We mentioned this finding to some members of RAND, who told us they were not surprised. While RAND strives to be middle-of-the-road ideologically, the more conservative scholars at RAND tend to work on military studies, while the more liberal scholars tend to work on domestic studies. Because the military studies are sometimes classified and often more mundane than the domestic studies, the media and members of Congress tend to cite the domestic studies disproportionately. As a consequence, RAND appears liberal when judged by these citations. It is important to note that this fact that the scholars at RAND are more conservative than the numbers in Table 1 suggest will not cause a bias to our results. To see this, think of RAND as two think tanks: RAND I, the left-leaning think tank which produces the research that the media and members of Congress like to cite, and RAND II, the conservative think tank which produces the research that they do not like to cite. Our results exclude RAND II from the analysis. This causes no more bias than excluding any other think tank that is rarely cited in Congress or the media.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise of Table 1 is the average score for the ACLU. Weighted by citations, the average score, is 42.66, which is near the center of congressional scores. Weighted by sentences, the average score is 34.99, which is to the right of the average member of Congress. The primary reason that the ACLU appears so conservative is that it opposed the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance bill. Consequently, conservatives tended to cite this fact often. Indeed, slightly more than half of the ACLU sentences cited in Congress were due to one person, Mitch McConnell (R.-Kt.), who strongly opposed the McCain-Feingold bill. If we omit ACLU citations that are due to McConnell, then the average score, weighted by sentences, increases to 70.12. Because of this anomaly, in the Appendix we report the results when repeat all of our analyses but omit the ACLU data. This causes the average score of the media outlets to become approximately one % point more liberal.
  4. by   Dplear
    Because, at times, there is some subjectivity in coding our data, when we hired our research assistants we asked for whom they had voted in the last presidential election (or for whom they would have voted if they did not vote or if they voted for a candidate besides Bush or Gore). We chose research assistants so that approximately half our data was coded by Gore supporters and half by Bush supporters. We, the authors, did very little of the congressional coding, and we did none of the media coding. For each media outlet we assigned research assistants so that approximately half of the data was coded by a Gore supporter and half by a Bush supporter.

    Finally, for each media outlet we selected an observation period for the data that we estimated would yield at least 1200 sentences of data. Because there is less data to collect for magazines and television shows (e.g. a transcript for a 30-minute show contains only a small fraction of the sentences that are contained in a daily newspaper), we collected all the dates that were available in Lexis-Nexis for these two forms of media.

    Descriptive Statistics

    We use a fairly complex method to estimate ADA scores for media outlets it involves maximizing a likelihood function that is similar to a multinomial logit. However, some simple descriptive statistics generate the same general conclusions.

    Like we did in Table 1, for the remaining think tanks in our sample we computed the average adjusted ADA score of the legislators who cited them. Next, we split the think tanks into a liberal group and a conservative group, based upon whether the average score of legislators citing the think tank was above or below 42.2, the midpoint of the House and Senate averages.8

    In Table 4 we list how frequently members of Congress cite the conservative and liberal groups, based upon total sentences. The entire Congress cited the two groups of think tanks approximately evenly. Specifically, of the total sentences that members of Congress cited, 43.1% were from the liberal group. As expected, if we confine our analysis only to Republican members of Congress, then we find that they cite the liberal think tanks less frequently than the entire Congress. Specifically, they cited think tanks from the liberal group, 16.6% of the time. Finally, of the total sentences that the Democrats cited, 81.5% were from the liberal group.

    We do a similar analysis with media outlets and list the results in Table 5. Specifically, for each media outlet we list the percentage of sentences that it cited from the liberal group of think tanks. From this percentage, we can compute a back-of-the-envelope estimate of the media outlet's adjusted ADA score. For instance, note that of the total sentences that the L.A. Times cited from the two groups, 63.5% were from the liberal group. Note that this percentage is approximately halfway between the percentage for the Democrats (81.5) and the percentage for the entire Congress (43.1). Consequently, the back-of-the-envelope estimate for USA Today should be about halfway between the adjusted ADA scores of the average Democrat and the average of Congress. This procedure is illustrated in Figure 1. More specific, the L.A. Times percentage was 53.1% of the distance between the percentages for the average of Congress and the average Democrat. Accordingly, we assign an adjusted ADA score which is 53.1% of the distance between 42.2 and 74.1, the scores of the average of Congress and the average Democrat. As Figure 1 illustrates, this analysis assumes that there is a linear relationship between the citation pattern of a media outlet and its adjusted ADA score. However, the analysis allows the slope to differ according to whether the media outlet is to the left or right of the center of Congress. Table 5 lists the back-of-the-envelope scores for the other media outlets. Figure 2 illustrates how these scores compare to various members of Congress.

    We repeat this analysis in Tables 6 and 7. However, here the level of observation that we use is the citation, not the sentence.

    Like results from the more complex method we execute later, Tables 5 and 7 show a strong liberal bias. All the media outlets except Fox News Special Report and the Drudge Report have a score that is left of the center of Congress. And this is true whether one uses citations or sentences as the level of observation or sentences, or whether one defines center of Congress by means or medians, or by House or Senate. Even the Drudge Report is left of center except in the case where we use sentences as the level of observation and we define center of Congress as the House mean. The fact that the Drudge Report is left of center is perhaps the most surprising of the table, given that it broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and its author, Matt Drudge has described himself as a libertarian.9 However, to understand this, it is useful to note the structure of the DrudgeReport. It is mostly a series of headlines with links to articles that are listed on other web sites. Also, it sometimes contains links to articles that Matt Drudge wrote himself. We included both types of articles when collecting data for the Drudge Report. However, in our sample no article written by Matt Drudge ever cited any of the 200 think tanks that we examine. Thus, all data for the Drudge Report comes from links to articles on other web sites. These other web sites included many liberal media outlets, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. Therefore, it is not so surprising that the Drudge Report leans left.

    The Estimation Method

    The back-of-the-envelope estimates are less than optimal for at least three reasons: (i) they do not give confidence intervals of their estimates; (ii) they do not utilize the extent to which a think tank is liberal or conservative (they only record the dichotomy, whether the think tank is left or right of center); and (iii) they are not embedded in an explicit choice model. We now describe a method that overcomes each of these three deficiencies.

    Define yi as the average adjusted ADA score of the ith member of Congress. Given that the member cites a think tank, we assume that the utility that he or she receives from citing the jth think tank is

    aj + bj yi + eij .

    We assume that eij is distributed according to a Weibull distribution. As shown by McFadden (1974; also see Judge, et. al, 1985, pp. 770-2), this implies that the probability that member i selects the jth think tank is

    exp(aj + bj yi ) / ∑k=1J exp(ak + bk yi ) , (1)

    where J is the total number of think tanks in our sample. Note that this probability term is no different from the one we see in a multinomial logit (where the only independent variable is yi ).

    Define cm as the estimated adjusted ADA score of the mth media outlet. Similar to the members of Congress, we assume that the utility that it receives from citing the the jth think tank is

    aj + bj cm + emj .

    We assume that emj is distributed according to a Weibull distribution. This implies that the probability that media outlet m selects the jth think tank is

    exp(aj + bj cm ) / ∑k=1J exp(ak + bk cm ). (2)

    Although this term is similar to the term that appears in a multinomial logit, we cannot use multinomial logit to estimate the parameters. The problem is that cm, a parameter that we estimate, appears where normally we would have an independent variable. Instead, we construct a likelihood function from (1) and (2), and we use the ml maximize command in Stata to obtain estimates of each aj , bj, and cm.

    Similar to a multinomial logit, it is impossible to identify each aj and each bj. Consequently, we arbitrarily choose one think tank and set its values of aj and bj to zero. It is convenient to choose a think tank that is cited frequently. Also, to make most estimates of the bj' s positive, it is convenient to choose a conservative think tank. Consequently, we chose the Heritage Foundation. It is easy to prove that this choice does not affect our estimates of cm . That is, if we had chosen a different think tank, then all estimates of cm would be unchanged.

    One difficulty that arose in the estimation process is that Stata takes an unwieldy amount of time to estimate all of the parameters. We estimated some versions of the model where we restricted the sample to only the top 15, 20, or 25 think tanks. We found that the time that Stata takes to estimate the parameters is approximately proportional to the number of think tanks squared.10 Using this formula, we estimate that it would take eight weeks for the program to finish when all think tanks are included. Worse, we want to estimate several versions of the model (eg sentences versus citations as the level of observation, including and not including citations where the legislator mentions an ideological label, etc.). Thus, it would take several months for our computer to produce all of the estimates.

    Instead, we estimate the aj s and bj s for only the top 25 most cited think tanks in Congress. These think tanks comprised 69.1% of the sentences cited in Congress, and they comprised 66.6% of the total citations. With the remaining think tanks we formed seven mega think tanks, based upon the average score of the legislator citing them, and we construct an additional aj and bj for each of these seven. In the case where we use sentences as the level of observation, if the average score of the legislator citing the think tank was less than 6.2 (and it was not among the top-25 most cited think tanks), then we placed it in the most conservative of the seven mega think tanks. We call this the strong conservative mega think tank. We formed six other think tanks, which we call weak conservative, moderate right, moderate, moderate left, weak liberal, and strong liberal mega think tanks. The cut points that we used to construct these were: 6.2, 12.6, 21.04, 45.5, 59.9 and 71.3. We chose these cut points so that the seven mega think tanks would each have approximately the same number of observations. For the case where our level of observation is citations, we used the cut points: 15.0, 27.7, 39.9, 48.5, 59.25, and 68.0. As a check, we also ran the model when we included only the top-20 or the top-15 think tanks and placed all the rest into one of the seven mega think tanks. We also estimated the model by constructing three or five mega think tanks, instead of seven. In each of these cases the results differed from our main results in only minor ways. For instance, in each case the average adjusted ADA score of the eight media outlets differed less than one-half ?? point from the average score of the results that we report. And in no instance, did a score of any media outlet differ by more than three ?? points from the score we report.

    In Tables 8 and 9 we list our estimates of cm , the adjusted ADA score for a media outlet. The two tables differ according to whether one uses, respectively, sentences or citations as the level of observation. The tables also list the standard errors of these estimates along with the period over which the sample is gathered. In Figures 2 and 3 we illustrate these estimates and show how the media outlets compare to members of Congress.

    The estimates in the table are very similar to the back-of-the-envelope estimates that we report in Tables 5 and 7. For instance, most differ by less than three points from the back-of-the-envelope estimates.

    As before, these results show a strong liberal bias among the media. When we use citations as our level of observation, all media outlets except Fox News Special Report are left of center. When we use sentences as our level of observation, all media outlets except Fox News Special Report and the Drudge Report are to the left of center. And, depending upon how one defines center, even the Drudge Report is to the left of center. Only if one defines the House mean as the center, is the Drudge Report right of center. If instead one uses the House median, Senate median, or Senate mean, the Drudge is to the left of center.

    Digression: Defining the Center

    In discussing left- or right- wing biases of the media, one should be careful how he or she defines center. We think the most appropriate definition refers to a central voter, as opposed to a central member of Congress. Accordingly, we think that it is more appropriate to compare media scores to the House as opposed to the Senate, since the Senate disproportionately represents small states. Next, we think it is more appropriate to use the median House member, instead of the mean. One reason is that, because of The Median Voter Theorem (Black, 1957), one should expect policy to be at the median instead of the mean. Another reason is that comparisons to a mean can be manipulated by the ADA's choices of roll call votes, whereas comparisons to a median are not subject to such manipulation.

    To see this, first note that the ADA has considerable leeway in the roll call votes that it chooses. For instance, suppose it chooses many roll calls such that the cut point of the roll call lies between moderates and extreme liberals. Such a cut point would cause moderates to form a coalition with extreme conservatives on the roll call. (An example of such a roll call would be a bill to ban partial-birth abortions. Here, moderates and conservatives favor the ban, and only extreme liberals oppose it. ) A prevalence of such cut points would cause moderates to have ADA scores more similar to conservatives than liberals. Meanwhile, if it predominantly chose cutpoints on the other side, then the ADA would cause moderates to have ADA scores more similar to liberals than conservatives.
    Because of this leeway, with one set of roll calls, the ADA could make a member of Congress or media outlet appear more left-wing than the mean score. However, with a different set of roll calls the ADA could make the same member of Congress or the same media outlet appear more right wing than the mean score. To see this, consider the following example. Suppose there are only five members of Congress. The most left-wing legislator is Member 1, who is more left-wing than member 2, who is more left-wing than member 3, and so on. Suppose media outlet A has an ideology identical to member 2. Consequently, its ADA score (that our method estimates) will be identical to member 2s score (at least in expectation).

    Now suppose that the ADA chooses four roll calls, such that the first roll call has a cut point between members 1 and 2, the second has a cut point between members 2 and 3, and so on. Because the distribution of cut points is uniform, member 1 receives 100 ADA score, member 2 and media outlet A to receive a 75, member 3 receives a 50, and so on. The mean ADA score of the legislators is 50. Thus, this set of roll calls makes media outlet A appear more left-wing than the mean score.

    Next, instead suppose that the ADA chooses four roll calls such that each has a cut point between members 1 and 2. This would cause member 1 to receive a 100 score. Media outlet A and members 2, 3, 4, and 5 would receive a 0 score. The mean ADA score in this case would be 20. Thus, this set of roll calls makes media outlet A appear more right-wing than the mean score.

    Meanwhile, for this example, regardless of the ADA's choice of cut points, media outlet A's score will necessarily be greater than or equal to the median s score (member 3). That is, unlike the case where we use the mean score as a comparison, it is impossible to make media outlet A appear more right-wing than the median score.

    The point of this example is not to suggest that the ADA might intentionally choose roll calls to manipulate a legislators or media outlets perceived ideology relative to the mean. Rather it is to demonstrate an arbitrariness that exists when one uses a mean score for comparison. The same arbitrariness does not exist with median scores. As a consequence, we think it is appropriate to compare the scores of media outlets with the House median, 39.0.

    Results: How Close are Media Outlets to the Center?

    We now compute the difference of a media outlets score from 39.0 to judge how centrist it is. Based on sentences as the level of observation (the results of which are listed in Table 8), the Drudge Report is the most centrist, Fox News Special Report is second, ABC World News Tonight is third, and CBS Evening is last.

    Given that the conventional wisdom is that the Drudge Report and Fox News are conservative news outlets, this ordering might be surprising. Perhaps more surprising is the degree to which the mainstream press is liberal. The results of Table 8 show that the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, USA Today, and CBS Evening News are not only liberal, they are closer to the average Democrat in Congress (who has a score of 74.1) than they are to the median of the whole House (who has a score of 39.0). Another interesting fact concerns the following claim: Although the New York Times and other media are liberal, they are balanced by conservative media outlets such as Fox News. Consequently, if one spent an equal amount of time watching Fox News and reading the New York Times, he or she would receive a fairly balanced view of the news. However, Table 8 shows that this is not quite true. Since the New York Times is twice as far from the center as Fox News Special Report, to gain a balanced perspective, one would need to spend twice as much time watching Special Report as he or she spends reading the New York Times. (Further as we shall see in Table 9, when one uses citations as the level of observation, one would need to spend an even greater amount of time watching Special Report to gain a balanced perspective.)

    A natural question is whether the differences in these rankings are statistically significant. We do not report the variance-covariance matrix of the parameters, however for any two estimated ADA scores of the media outlets, the covariance of the parameters was approximately .07. (The covariance between any two parameters varied between .055 and .079.) Given this, one can compute t-statistics to test the statistical significance of the difference in scores between any two media outlets. For instance, the variance of the difference between the scores of the Drudge Report and ABC World News Tonight is

    (1.98)^2 + (.99)^2 2 x .07 = 5.04

    The difference in their scores is 7.9. Thus, the t-statistic, testing whether the scores are significantly different is 7.9/sqrt(5.04) = 3.52, which is significant at the 1% confidence level. Similar calculations show that the Drudge Report is significantly closer to the center than all other media outlets; ABC World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News do not significantly differ; however, these two network news shows do significantly differ from all the newspapers in our sample and CBS Evening News.

    Using citations as the level of observation, Table 9 shows that Fox News Special Report is the most centrist news outlet in our sample, the Drudge Report is second, ABC World News Tonight is Third, and CBS Evening News is last.

    For these results, the covariance of the estimate between any two media outlets is approximately 1.0. Thus, for instance, to test if the Drudge Report's score is significantly different from the score of ABC World News Tonight, one uses the formula

    (58.7-54.7)/sqrt( 5.21^2 + 2.28^2 2 x 1) = 0.73.

    Thus, at standard levels of statistical significance, in this case, the scores of the Drudge Report and ABC World News Tonight are not significantly different. Similar calculations show that Fox News Special Report is significantly closer to the center than all media outlets except the Drudge Report. Other calculations show that NBC Nightly News does not significantly differs from CBS Evening News at a 5% confidence level, but it does at a 10% confidence level.


    We believe that the most innovative and important aspect of our method is our idea to compare news stories with congressional speeches. First, this allows one to provide a baseline for how liberal or conservative a media outlet is. Some previous studies have only tried to determine if a news outlet gave equal coverage to each side of an issue or gave equal treatment to two opposing politicians running for the same office. However, depending on the issue, a media outlet could give equal treatment to both sides, yet still be biased because of the issues it selects. For instance, suppose the issue is whether to make day-after abortion pills, like RU-486, illegal. Only the most ardent conservatives favor this position. Equal treatment would mean that the story had a conservative slant. Likewise, if a reporter gave equal treatment to the question of allowing partial-birth abortions, he or she would slant the story in the conservative direction. Further, depending on the candidates, equal coverage of the candidates could imply a bias. To see this, imagine David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, were running against a moderate Democrat. If news story gave equal coverage to the two candidates, this would be a right-wing bias. In contrast, if a researcher applies his or her method to congressional speeches, as well as news stories, this gives a baseline for determining how liberal or conservative is the news story. Namely, he or she can report how the media outlet compared to the center of Congress, the average Democrat, the average Republican, etc.

    Second, our idea helps researchers to discover when they have found a false negative result. For example, several researchers have conducted tests which conclude that there is no bias in the U.S. news media. (Xx, xx, xx.) Some of these tests strike us as extremely weak tests which could lead one to conclude no bias when a bias really exists. It is similar to a doctor saying Your hair looks fine, therefore you must be well, without examining the patient's nose, throat, blood pressure, etc. One could expose the doctors faulty treatment if he or she asked the doctor to perform the same examination on a patient who is known to be ill. We can apply a similar example to media research. Suppose that a researcher applied his or her method to the speeches of Ted Kennedy and concluded that Ted Kennedy does not have a liberal bias. This, we believe, would reveal a problem with that method.

    We think it is important for researchers of media bias to apply their method to speeches of members of Congress. Further, if a researcher uses a method that cannot be applied to congressional speeches, we caution that this is a weakness of the method. It would be similar to the above hypothetical doctor saying My method cannot be applied to the known sick patient. You'll have to trust my assessment without seeing the test you suggest.


    Although we expected to find that most media lean left, we were astounded by the degree. A norm among journalists is to present both sides of the issue. Consequently, while we expected members of Congress to cite primarily think tanks that are on the same side of the ideological spectrum as they are, we expected journalists to practice a much more balanced citation practice, even if the journalists own ideology opposed the think tanks that he or she is sometimes citing. This was not always the case. Most of the mainstream media outlets that we examined (ie all those besides Drudge Report and Fox News Special Report) were closer to the average Democrat in Congress than they were to the median member of the House.
    Our results contrast strongly with the prior expectations of many others. It is easy to find quotes from prominent journalists and academics who claim that there is no systematic bias among media outlets in the U.S. The following are some examples:

    Our greatest accomplishment as a profession is the development since World War II of a news reporting craft that is truly non-partisan, and non-ideological, and that strives to be independent of undue commercial or governmental influence....It is that legacy we must protect with our diligent stewardship. To do so means we must be aware of the energetic effort that is now underway to convince our readers that we are ideologues. It is an exercise of, in disinformation, of alarming proportions. This attempt to convince the audience of the worlds most ideology-free newspapers that they're being subjected to agenda-driven news reflecting a liberal bias. I don't believe our viewers and readers will be, in the long-run, misled by those who advocate biased journalism.
    New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines accepting the "George Beveridge Editor of the Year Award at a National Press Foundation dinner shown live on C-SPAN2 February 20, 2003.

    when it comes to free publicity, some of the major broadcast media are simply biased in favor of the Republicans, while the rest tend to blur differences between the parties. But that's the way it is. Democrats should complain as loudly about the real conservative bias of the media as the Republicans complain about its entirely mythical bias

    --Paul Krugman, Into the Wilderness, New York Times, November 8, 2002.
  5. by   Dplear
    "The mainstream media does not have a liberal bias. . . . ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek and the rest -- at least try to be fair."

    --Al Franken. (2003, xx) Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.

    The main conclusion of our paper is that our results simply reject such claims.


    Black, Duncan. 1958. The Theory of Committees and Elections. London: Cambridge

    University Press.

    Crouse, Timothy. 1973. Boys on the Bus. New York: Ballantine Books.

    Groseclose, Tim, Steven D. Levitt, and James M. Snyder, Jr. 1999. Comparing Interest

    Group Scores across Time and Chambers: Adjusted ADA Scores for the U.S.

    Congress, American Political Science Review. 93 (March): 33-50.

    Jamieson, Kathleen Hall. 2000. Everything You Think You Know About Politics and

    Why You're Wrong. New York: Basic Books.

    Judge, George G., W. E. Griffiths, R. Carter Hill, Helmut Lutkepohl, and Tsoung-Chao

    Lee. 1985. The Theory and Practice of Econometrics. New York: John Wiley and


    Lichter, S.R., S. Rothman, and L.S. Lichter. 1986. The Media Elite. Bethesda, MD: Adler

    and Adler.

    McFadden, Daniel. 1974. Conditional Logit Analysis of Qualitative Choice Behavior,

    in P. Zarembka, ed. Frontiers in Econometrics, pp. 105-42. New York: Academic


    Povich, Elaine. 1996. Partners and Adversaries: The Contentious Connection Between

    Congress and the Media. Arlington, VI: Freedom Forum.

    Sutter, Daniel. 2001. Can the Media Be So Liberal? The Economics of Media Bias.

    The Cato Journal. 20 (Winter): 431-51.

    Weaver, D.H. and G.C. Wilhoit. 1996. American Journalist in the 1990s. Mahwah, NJ:

    Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Table 1. The twenty think tanks most cited by members of Congress

    Ave. Score,
    Ave. Score,

    weighted by
    weighted by

    Think Tank

    Heritage Foundation

    American Civil Liberties Union

    Brookings Institution

    Cent. on Budget & Policy Priorities

    Amnesty International

    National Taxpayers Union

    Citizens Against Govt. Waste

    American Enterprise Institute

    RAND Corporation

    National Right to Life Committee


    Cato Institute

    Alexis de Tocqueville Institute

    Nat. Fed. of Ind. Businesses

    Common Cause

    Family Research Council

    Center for Security Policy

    Council on Hemispheric Affairs

    Economic Policy Institute

    Children's Defense Fund

    Note: Think tanks are listed in order of the number of sentences that members of Congress cite them.

    Table 2. Mean and Median Adjusted ADA Scores, by Chamber and Party, Averaged over the Period 1993-1999

    Ave. of House

    and Senate

    Republican Mean

    Democrat Mean

    Chamber Mean

    Chamber Median

    Table 3. Average Adjusted Scores of Some Well-known Moderates

    Joe Lieberman (D. - Ct.)

    Constance Morella (R.-Md.)

    Ernest Hollings (D. - S.C.)

    Arlen Specter (R. - Pa.)

    Tom Campbell (R. - Ca.)

    Sam Nunn (D. - Ga.)

    Dave McCurdy (D.- Ok.)

    Olympia Snowe (R.- Me.)

    Charlie Stenholm (D. - Tex.)

    Nathan Deal (D - Ga.)

    Table 4. Citation Patterns of Members of Congress, Calculated by Sentences


    From Liberal
    From Conservative

    Think Tanks
    Think Tanks




    Table 5. Citation Patterns of Media Outlets, by Sentences

    Sentences from

    from Liberal

    Think Tanks
    Think Tanks
    ADA Estimate

    Fox News' Special Report

    (6/1/98 to 6/26/03)

    Drudge Report

    (2/8/03 to 8/15/03)

    ABC World News Tonight

    (1/1/94 to 6/26/03)

    Los Angeles Times

    (6/28/02 to 12/29/02)

    NBC Nightly News

    (1/1/97 to 6/26/03)

    USA Today

    (1/1/02 to 9/1/02)

    CBS Evening News

    (1/1/90 to 6/26/03)

    New York Times

    (7/1/01 to 5/1/02)

    Table 6. Citation Patterns of Members of Congress, Calculated by Citations

    Citations Of

    Of Liberal

    Think Tanks
    Think Tanks




    Table 7. Citation Patterns of Media Outlets, by Citations

    Citations Of
    Citations of


    Think Tanks
    Think Tanks
    ADA Estimate

    Fox News Special Report

    (6/1/98 to 6/26/03)

    ABC World News Tonight

    (1/1/94 to 6/26/03)

    USA Today

    (1/1/02 to 9/1/02)

    Drudge Report

    (2/8/03 to 8/15/03)

    NBC Nightly News

    (1/1/97 to 6/26/03)

    Los Angeles Times

    (6/28/02 to 12/29/02)

    CBS Evening News

    (1/1/90 to 6/26/03)

    New York Times

    (7/1/01 to 5/1/02)

    Table 8. Maximum Likelihood Results--Sentences as Observations



    ADA Estimate
    ADA Estimate

    Fox News' Special Report

    (6/1/98 to 6/26/03)

    Drudge Report

    (2/8/03 to 8/15/03)

    ABC World News Tonight

    (1/1/94 to 6/26/03)

    NBC Nightly News

    (1/1/97 to 6/26/03)

    Los Angeles Times

    (6/28/02 to 12/29/02)

    New York Times

    (7/1/01 to 5/1/02)

    USA Today

    (1/1/02 to 9/1/02)

    CBS Evening News

    (1/1/90 to 6/26/03)

    Note: Standard errors in parentheses.

    Table 9. Maximum Likelihood Results--Citations as Observations



    ADA Estimate
    ADA Estimate

    Fox News' Special Report

    (6/1/98 to 6/26/03)

    Drudge Report

    (2/8/03 to 8/15/03)

    ABC World News Tonight

    (1/1/94 to 6/26/03)

    NBC Nightly News

    (1/1/97 to 6/26/03)

    USA Today

    (1/1/02 to 9/1/02)

    Los Angeles Times

    (6/28/02 to 12/29/02)

    New York Times

    (7/1/01 to 5/1/02)

    CBS Evening News

    (1/1/90 to 6/26/03)


    So there you go..the Drudgerprot is a right wing rag according to everyone... :rolleyes

  6. by   gwenith
    Dave - this might or might not be a valid research method - personally with the quick scan I made of this it does not sound that valid. It still ignors an important point - what are you going to do about "bias".

    Are we going to stifle freedom of speech because of percieved bias??

    In our society we EXPECT the media to be biased against WHOVER IS IN POWER!! Why? Because the media is our voice.

    When our goverments were first framed and constructed it was easier to get your voice heard now it is harder to actually see and speak ot a local representative. Easier to do so if you are a person of importance. So how then, can the "average Joe/Jill be heard and have thier concerns brought before the parliment - the answer is through the media.

    The question should not be whether or not the media is biased but whether it does it's job and speaks for the common people.
  7. by   donmurray
    Ha Ha Ha Ha! Good one Dave! I nearly believed it.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Thank you Gwenith. Sorry Dave ole boy, I was not gonna read all that, bias exists everywhere, even in Drudge's world.
  9. by   Dplear
    How typical...You give the left facts that disprove one of their standings...afacts from reputable left leaning institutions...albiet VERY REPUTABLE AND EXCELLENT schools and then they say well we knew that but it does not say what to do about it...or they say thats toomuch to read or just laugh like it does not matter....Sometimes it takes abit of reading to get to the bottom of things...if you take the time you might actually diswcover the truth instead of the fallacies of blindly following beliefs or hating someone

  10. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from Dplear
    How typical...You give the left facts that disprove one of their standings...afacts from reputable left leaning institutions...albiet VERY REPUTABLE AND EXCELLENT schools and then they say well we knew that but it does not say what to do about it...or they say thats toomuch to read or just laugh like it does not matter....Sometimes it takes abit of reading to get to the bottom of things...if you take the time you might actually diswcover the truth instead of the fallacies of blindly following beliefs or hating someone

    Well said..do Libs really read past the headlines anyway?
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    Sorry but any study that believes "the left" is represented by elected Democrats is ignoring true liberal media.
    This is an example ot liberal media:

  12. by   Q.
    Quote from Dplear
    Sometimes it takes abit of reading to get to the bottom of things...if you take the time you might actually diswcover the truth instead of the fallacies of blindly following beliefs or hating someone

    That would require waaaayyyyy too much effort Dave. In fact, I am still amazed at the extreme judgement of validity that is based upon a "quick glance." For heaven's sake, read the whole paper thoughtfully and carefully and THEN comment.
  13. by   pickledpepperRN
    Quote from Dplear

    A Measure of Media Bias ...

    Few studies provide an objective measure of the slant of news, and none has provided a way to link such a measure to ideological measures of other political actors. That is, none of the existing measures can say, for example, whether the New York Times is more liberal than Tom Daschle or whether Fox News is more conservative than Bill Frist. We provide such a measure. Namely, we compute an ADA score for various news outlets, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Drudge Report, Fox News Special Report, and all three networks nightly news shows.

    Our results show a very significant liberal bias. All of the news outlets except Fox News Special Report received a score to the left of the average member of Congress. Moreover, by one of our measures all but three of these media outlets (Special Report, the Drudge Report, and ABCs World News Tonight) were closer to the average Democrat in Congress than to the median member of the House of Representatives. One of our measures found that the Drudge Report is the most centrist of all media outlets in our sample. Our other measure found that Fox News Special Report is the most centrist. These findings refer strictly to the news stories of the outlets. That is, we omitted editorials, book reviews, and letters to the editor from our sample.
    The majority in Congress are Republicans and centrist or timid Democrats. To cite Tom Daschle as an example of a liberal is to ignore true liberal thinking.

    Liberals criticize both parties. The one truly liberal on air media, Pacifica Radio & Democracy Now! TV present all sides of a story, admittedly with a "progressive" bias. (They don't call themselves "liberal".

    Also many topics are presented that the average person does not care abour. Such things as the war crimes of Henry Kissinger, the 'School of the Americas' teaching torture, the US control, armimg, and training of anti democratic coups against elected leaders in Central & South America and the Carribian.

    More from the "progressive" media. NOT the mainstream entertainment shows passing as 'news'.

    Thursday, April 1st, 2004
    The National Security Archive recently obtained declassified U.S. intelligence reports that show the Clinton administration knew as early as April 23, 1994 that the slaughter in Rwanda amounted to genocide. Senior officials used the word genocide in private but chose not to publicly to justify not intervening. [includes rush transcript]

    From the National Security Archive
    U.S. intelligence reports concluded that the slaughter in Rwanda ten years ago amounted to genocide as early as April 23, 1994, while policymakers debated for another month over whether to use the word publicly, according to a new report and declassified documents posted on the Web by the National Security Archive.
    Obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, the documents illuminate the vast array of 'information and intelligence' available to Clinton Administration officials during the crisis, as well as the policymaking committees and working groups that used the information.
    The documents reveal:
    The CIA's top secret National Intelligence Daily, circulated to President Clinton, Vice President Gore and hundreds of senior officials, featured the slaughter in Rwanda on a daily or near-daily basis in April and May 1994, including an April 23 analysis that Rwandan rebels will continue fighting to "stop the genocide, which...is spreading south";
    The State Department's intelligence briefing for Secretary Christopher and other top officials saw in Rwanda "genocide and partition" as early as April 26, reporting declarations of "a 'final solution' to eliminate all Tutsis", but the U.S. did not officially declare the killing genocide until May 25;
    U.S. officials, including Secretary Christopher and Secretary Perry, met with and telephoned counterparts such as UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali, Gen. Romeo Dallaire, and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe throughout the crisis, with Gen. Dallaire pleading with USAID head Brian Atwood that "without U.S. equipment, UNAMIR can do virtually nothing" to save civilians in Rwanda;
    U.S. officials met throughout April and May with human rights and humanitarian agency representatives concerned with Rwanda, including a May 17 meeting where International Committee of the Red Cross official Jean de Courten told State Department Under Secretary Timothy Wirth the "mass killings" in Rwanda compared to the "genocide in Cambodia".
    William Ferreggiaro, consulting fellow at the National Security Archive which recently obtained classified US intelligence reports that concluded as early as April 23, 1994 that the slaughter in Rwanda amounted to a genocide. He is a also a consultant to a new PBS Frontline documentary about Rwanda entitled "Ghosts of Rwanda" premiering tonight.

    AMY GOODMAN: Title Experiment One. This is Democracy Now!, and Democracynow.org. I'm Amy Goodman with Juan Gonzalez as we talk on this tenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide where over 800,000 Rwandans were killed. We are talking to Stephen Lewis who investigated the genocide for the Organization of African Unity, part of a panel of eminent personalities to investigate the genocide in Rwanda; and William Ferreggiaro, who is a consulting fellow with the National Security Archive which recently obtained classified US intelligence reports that concluded as early as April 23rd, 1994, the slaughter in Rwanda amounted to a genocide. Also a consultant on a new PBS Frontline Documentary called "Ghosts of Rwanda," which is premiering tonight. William Ferreggiaro, can you outline the documents that you have gotten recently declassified?

    WILLIAM FERREGGIARO: Yes, Amy. And thank you for calling them declassified, because I obtained them under the Freedom of Information Act and the agencies declassified them, so just a short plug for the efficacy of Freedom of Information. The documents themselves, I think, are important, really, in two ways. I wrote a report, and there are 53 documents on the website of the National Security Archive, which for your listeners is www.nsarchive.org, singular. I invite everyone to visit the website. I think the importance of the material is this - first, it shows the vast array of information and intelligence inputs available to senior policymakers. In other words, they had the capability to know and they did know. Some of the information that I have published up there, that you mentioned, the April 23rd report was in the National Intelligence Daily, which goes under another name now, but back then was distributed to the top several hundred policymakers within the US government. And Rwanda was an item in there, in very graphic terms, almost daily, from the onset of the crisis through the US humanitarian relief operations in July. I guess the second main point about the material is that this is really the first pieces of official evidence of senior leadership knowing and in fact meeting on Rwanda. We're still trying to find out just exactly how many meetings there were of Clinton's Principles Committee, which would be his National Security Council, minus his involvement and the vice president's involvement. But there were numerous meetings of the Deputies Committee, which is the number two or three officials at each agency, meeting at the White House, and they were specifically tasked for crisis management, and Rwanda was on their agenda numerous times. So, it's really, I think, the importance of this information shows that these individuals were not out of the loop on Rwanda, in fact, met on it. The fact that they decided not to do anything owes to other interests and other perspectives, but it's not a question of not knowing.

    JUAN GONZALEZ: Could you talk a little bit about Richard Clarke, and his role during those crucial months, and what he advised or didn't.

    WILLIAM FERREGGIARO: Sure. Mr. Clarke was a senior staff person in the National Security Council, and headed the controversial Peacekeeping Review Policy which culminated in -- was promulgated as Presidential Decision Directive 25 in May of 1994, right at the height of the genocide. But it was under review from March of 1993. Clarke, as we witness now on the terrorism debate, was a very able and effective and hard-nosed bureaucratic insider, and coordinated the review of this policy. But what I would say is that he came up with the structure, and I think the intent of the structure in fact had some positive motivations. It was to say that the UN, at that point in early 1993-94, had already embarked on 18 peacekeeping missions worldwide. There just weren't the resources for it. The US was still stuck, as Ambassador Lewis said, like much of the rest of the world, in a Cold War mindset, and was not about to undertake all additional operations. There just were not enough resources to go around, if you're paying attention to the Koreas, the Bosnia, Russia, Haiti, for example. So, I think what happens here is Clarke leads this review, and is very effective and brings this policy forward. The president signs it. It's promulgated. But by no means, he coordinated the policy. It was not his instigation. He served additionally on a structure under the National Security Council called the Peacekeeping Corps Group, which was comprised of mid-level officials involved with peacekeeping. So, it was his brief on the National Security Council as a senior staff member. But even to his credit, I think Mr. Clarke, who said in Samantha Power's article, he's not embarrassed about his role, one of the documents that I published from April 29 where he is in preparation for a Deputies Committee meeting, one of his papers going up to the representatives for that meeting says the deputies should provide direction to the Interagency Working Group on the degree of activism that they wish to encourage on further international steps aimed at addressing the slaughter and assisting refugees. In other words, the senior officials did not want to intervene, but even officials such as Mr. Clarke needed direction, and had to go back, because the information they were getting from below was so horrific that they were still -- they wanted clarification on the guidance and just how active they needed to be.

    AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to William Ferreggiaro, consulting fellow at the National Security Archives, who obtained the declassified US intelligence reports. On Rwanda, can you talk about the significant of using the term genocide? If the US Ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright or President Clinton, or any of a number of US officials had used that term, how it would have triggered international action, and so while privately using the term, would not publicly use it?

    WILLIAM FERREGGIARO: Right. I think what's interesting is my research has indicated, that as Ambassador Lewis said and you said at the outset, that within a week, ten days, people had a real good idea that this was something of a completely different nature. So, the question of using the term, I tend to think, and others as well, that this might not have -- the Genocide Convention of 1948, ratified by the US Senate in 1988, obligates signatories to prevent and punish genocide. Does that mean setting up a force to go in to places like Rwanda and stopping the genocide? I don't think that the US or other countries would have interpreted it that way. What it would have done was created rather than a legal obligation, a political obligation. And so I think that the use of secrecy here, and the restriction of discussing this in these terms, meant that there was no political impetus from the public that would pressure Clinton into doing anything. As Samantha Power notes in her book, no president has ever suffered from not intervening to stop genocide. So, it's really a question of raising a public pressure. You know, we have to look back. The US public was divided on Bosnia at that point. And as Ambassador Lewis mentioned at the outset, Somalia cast a huge pall over Washington, particularly with regard to peacekeeping. I think the White House, Anthony Lake and the National Security Council were very involved in the Somalia operations and the Somalia engagement, and so we're particularly burned by that. That really sealed the deal, after acknowledging that the cold war mindset and the traditional interests in geopolitics still reigned within the Clinton administration.

    JUAN GONZALEZ: Finally, I'd like ask Stephen Lewis, the former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, a final word on the issue of reconciliation, that there are many of those who committed these atrocities, who are now being let out of jail in Rwanda, and how does a nation reach some kind of reconciliation over such a horrible past?

    STEPHEN LEWIS: Let me first say that I both agree with and am fascinated by all that has just been said by your other guest because I think it is so completely corresponds with what everyone thought and assumed and intuited at the time, and yet no one would acknowledge. It's a sad commentary on human affairs that even now people pretend that they didn't know, that that was the fundamental problem, it wasn't a problem of policy, it was a problem of knowledge. It was like the old business that no one knew what those trains were, or where those trains were going as they rumbled down the tracks to Auschwitz in 1944. It's sad the way human behavior repeats itself. In terms of reconciliation, Rwanda is making actually a superhuman internal effort. It's fascinating because it's only ten years. Blood is still on the soil and in the hands of the killers. Yet, within the country, you have to acknowledge Kagame's tremendous efforts using human rights commissions and truth and reconciliation commissions, using peace-education in the schools, moving heaven and earth to try to overcome the sense of fratricidal polarity in the country, and you know, they're making real progress, it's stunning. And because a lot of the laws being dispensed at the grassroots through a legal system called Gacaca, it's having some effect, because it penetrates down to community level. They may make it against all odds, they may make it.

    AMY GOODMAN: Well, we will continue to cover this story next week on this tenth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda that saw up to a million Rwandans killed. I want to thank you both for being with us. Stephen Lewis, former Canadian ambassador to the UN, as well as William Ferreggiaro, consulting fellow at the National Security Archives.
  14. by   pickledpepperRN



    South Korean Man Beheaded in Iraq
    A South Korean man, Kim Sun-Il, who was kidnapped in Iraq, has been beheaded. Officials at the South Korean foreign ministry confirmed the report. The 33-year-old Kim worked with a South Korean contractor that provided supplies to the U.S. military forces in Iraq. The kidnappers, reportedly members of the groups Monotheism and Jihad, said Kim would be released if South Korea agreed to stop an expected deployment of 3-thousand additional soldiers to Iraq. Government leaders in Seoul rejected the demand. Video of Kim pleading for his life and wearing an orange jumpsuit in the style of U.S. prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, has sent shock waves throughout the South Korea.

    Lynn Stewart on Trial
    A well-known civil rights attorney is on trial in New York for issuing statements on her clients' behalf. The government charges her actions amount to conspiracy. From WBAI, Ginger Otis reports.

    Bill to Provide Voter Paper Trail
    A small band of Congressional Representatives are trying to introduce a bill that would provide voters with a paper trail, but the lawmakers are getting no where. Amrutha Nanjappa reports from D.C.

    Sex Discrimination Suit Against Largest Retailer
    The largest retailer in the United States is now facing the largest sex discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history. Kellia Ramares explains.

    Anti Depressants in Nigeria
    A multi-national pharmaceutical company is set to launch an anti-depressant drug in Nigeria. The drug Paxil was pulled off the market in the United States. And, the New York State attorney general is suing the company for concealing
    drug trials showing the drug could harm children and teens. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.


    Wolfowitz Testifies on US Role in Iraq Post June 30th (4:07)
    As senior coalition official says the United States will hand legal, but not physical, custody of Saddam Hussein to the interim Iraqi government as soon as Iraqi courts issue an arrest warrant and request the transfer. In Washington today, the White House and Pentagon are expected to release a series of memos on the U.S. policy for prisoner interrogations from Guantanamo Bay to the Iraqi Abu Ghraib detention facility. The memos reportedly indicate that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved interrogative procedures that include mild, non-injurious physical contact. They purportedly disprove a CNN report that claimed Rumsfeld approved a controversial method in which detainees were made to feel as though they were drowning. And Mitch Jesserich reports that on Capitol Hill today, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz testified on the U.S. role in Iraq after June 30th.

    Iraqi School Reconstruction (3:36)
    United Nations-mandated auditors have sharply criticized the US occupation authority for the way it has spent more than $11 billion in Iraqi oil revenues and say they have faced "resistance" from coalition officials. An interim report, obtained by the Financial Times says the Development Fund for Iraq, which is managed by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority and channels oil revenue into reconstruction projects, is "open to fraudulent acts". In just 8 days, some powers will be transferred from the occupation authorities to the interim Iraqi government, but as David Enders reports from Baghdad's schools, things are in many cases no better than they were when the occupation authority set up shop last April.

    HIV/AIDS -- Tanzania (4:04)
    In April, the U.S. government disbursed the first 350 million dollars of an unprecedented foreign aid package to fight HIV/AIDS. But skepticism abounds among health care experts and professionals in Sub-Saharan Africa, the epicenter of the pandemic and the focus of the U.S. assistance. Reed Lindsay reports from Arusha, Tanzania.

    Guantanmo Detainee Sues Bush and Rumsfeld (3:34)
    Yesterday, a military court ruled that the top American commanders in Iraq must testify in the case of two servicemen accused in the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal. Defense lawyers say they would also like to put President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on the stand. And in Seattle, a high profile law firm has joined forces with a military lawyer to challenge the power of the president to indefinitely hold a prisoner at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo. The case pits a Yemeni prisoner, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a driver for Osama bin Laden; against Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, commanders at Guantanamo and President George Bush. The issues at stake are nothing less than the balance of power between the president, Congress and federal courts; the equal protection clause of the Constitution and military versus civilian justice. The case has "monumental significance", wrote US District Judge Robert Lasnik in a recent ruling, and is reminiscent of the Japanese interment cases decided six decades ago in the same courtroom.

    Youth Issue Report Card on Adults (3:54)
    While young people across the country have finished up school for the summer, some youth took this time to issue a report card on adults. Selina Musuta reports adults were graded on key subjects like education, violence and abuse, and terrorism.
    Juneteenth: Reparations on the Table
    Today leaders of the African-American community and a newly created coalition of Caucasians gathered separately to discuss reparations on the anniversary eve of Juneteenth. John Ball reports from D.C.

    Governor Bush Deals with Ex-Con Voting
    Florida's Governor Jeb Bush announced that the state has restored the civil rights of nearly 21-thousand ex-convicts as civil libertarians rush to cope with the state's election rolls before the Presidential elections. Mitch Perry reports from WMNF.

    India Cuts Protections
    The Indian government is poised to ease foreign ownership restrictions, causing a shift and potential rift in the new coalition government. Binu Alex reports from Ahmedebad.

    Clemency for Chinese Journalists
    Two editors of China's liberal newspaper had their sentences reduced. Analysts believe the Chinese government is trying to show the punishments are for corruption rather than clamping down on free speech. From Beijing, Severine
    Bardon has the story.

    U.S. Hostage Beheaded
    Please be cautioned to the graphic nature of the following report: At deadline, news stations are reporting that U.S. contractor Paul Johnson has been beheaded in Saudi Arabia. Johnson was kidnapped last weekend. A message from people who claim to be his captors demanded that all al-Qaida prisoners be released. In return, the message read, Johnson would be freed. Saudi authorities rejected the demand. Saudi authorities have been searching throughout the capital of Riyadh for Johnson. The country's Interior Minister admitted they are ill prepared to cope with such situations.


    Corporate Tax Bill Passes With a Buyout for Tobacco (4:26)
    The U.S. House on Thursday passed a corporate tax bill, which started out as a repeal 5 billion dollar a year export subsidy to end European Union sanctions against the US and turned out to be 155 billion dollar tax cut for domestic businesses. Critics contend it will add an additional 34 billion dollars to the deficit. The measure passed by a large measure as it garnered support from Democratic representatives from Tobacco growing states as the measure also includes a 9.6 billion dollar tobacco buyout. The Senate version of the corporate tax bill is drastically different, and the two legislative bodies still must work out a compromise. Our Capitol Hill correspondent Mitch Jeserich brings us an update on the continuing Senate debate on the military budget and on new allegations that the U.S. has 14 secret detention facilities worldwide.

    9/11 Commission - Analysis and Reaction (4:47)
    The 9/11 Commission concluded their 12th and final set of hearings yesterday. In this last installment, Commissioners heard testimony regarding rampant communications failures on the morning of the attacks and learned of the lack of preparedness to deal effectively and in a timely manner with suck attacks. The Commission issued their 17th preliminary report that says they found no credible evidence linking Saaddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks. President Bush did acknowledge last fall that there was no evidence of collaboration between Iraq and al Queida in connection with the attacks - but it is clear that the intimation of such a connection existed influenced the invasion of Iraq. President Bush maintains his assertion that Iraq and al Q were connected at some level. FSRN Spoke with Sheldon Rampton -- research director for the Center for Media and Democracy and co-author of Weapons of Mass Deception and Banana Republicans and Colleen Kelly with 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

    Latino Worker's Advocates Sue Department of Labor (3:54)
    A lawsuit filed by a coalition of groups alleges the US Department of Labor failed Spanish-speaking workers in El Paso and elsewhere along the Mexican/American border. Attorneys say the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, is to blame. Erika McDonald reports:

    Biotech in Africa (3:41)
    Agriculture plays a predominant role in the socioeconomic life of Senegal. The rural population represents 73.7% of the total Senegalese population active in the agricultural sector which contributes more 20% to the gross domestic product (GDP). Agriculture faces a number of ecological constraints like salinity, acidity, erosion and deforestation. One of the most important is the shortage of water -- even with a three month long rainy season. To find solutions, researchers turn to biotechnology. Numerous scientists gathered at Cheikh Anta Diop University to weigh pros and cons of the implementation of biotechnology in agriculture, breeding and other development sectors. From Senegal, Ndiaga Seck reports.
    Juneteenth (1:55)
    Tomorrow, African Americans in the south commemorate the day slaves in Texas were notified of their freedom. Commonly called Juneteenth, the holiday is marked with celebration by some and temperance by others. From KPFT in Houston, Richard Hanna reports...