Bias in Election Coverage

October 16, 2000

Whenever the subject of liberal bias is raised during an election year, reporters groan and roll their eyes. But when Charles Krauthammer raises the question in the Washington Post, some people begin to pay attention. He points out in his September 28 column that examples of bias are mounting.

The famous Roper poll of 139 Washington Bureau chiefs and correspondents uncovered a definite liberal tilt. It found that in 1992 those in the Washington media voted 89 percent for Bill Clinton and 7 percent for Bush. Americans voted for Clinton over Bush 43 percent to 38 percent. In other words, for every seven Bush voters among the American people, there were eight Clinton voters. But for every seven Bush voters in the Washington media, there were 89 for Clinton. This is a stark difference.

Krauthammer points out that the standard response to such numbers is to argue that this bias does not influence coverage. He believes that this might be true for some journalists with superhuman self-control, but most journalists are not superhuman.

He then begins to list all sorts of examples of biased coverage in this campaign. Let me pick just a few from the New York Times. The newspaper decided to run on the front page, a two-week-old story about the RATS commercial. Many journalists ranging from Howard Kurtz (Washington Post media critic) to the Weekly Standard have been critical of that decision.

On the other hand, a story about Al Gore's concoction about his mother-in-law's arthritis medicine and his dog ran on page A18. And the story opened with "The Republicans continued a sharp assault yesterday on Vice President Al Gore ..."

His column provides a public service by documenting media bias during this election year. So if you feel election coverage has been biased, you aren't the only one.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.