Friday, August 03, 2018

Media Bias

I made a claim of longstanding media bias, as many conservatives do. It occurred to me that I could give quick evidence of it. I will let the Time and Newsweek covers speak for me.

But, you say, we didn't take those magazines at our house. Or, those were a long time ago, they didn't affect me. Then they affected your teachers and parents, and the people around you who found it very important to keep up with current events. Did you never have dental care, visit a friend, go to the doctor?  Were there no pharmacies, newsstands, grocery checkouts in your town?

Or perhaps you think that even though those were around you, they didn't affect you.  You were objective, you saw through those things.  Well yes.  I would say you either consciously saw through them and were offended by them, or you were affected whether you admit it or not.  For myself, I mostly didn't notice until the late 80's and was affected. After that I did notice and was offended. These weekly covers were ubiquitous, and I contend you were affected.  This was the air that you breathed.

If you still think not, then how is it that you arrived at the same opinion of these figures as the editors wished you to?

I started at Ford, as the Nixon covers would be too dominated by Watergate discussions and not a clean sample.  I strongly favored solo pictures of a president, taken during his years of office.  I stuck with Time and Newsweek. When there was a shortage of these, I chose covers from the campaign, as close to the date of election as possible.  I avoided retrospectives after the president had left office, as those are often mellowing.  I didn't have that many choices for Gerald Ford, however. I took them in the order that Duckduckgo, or sometimes Bing images presented them to me.  I did not pick and choose for effect. With Clinton, I did limit myself to three covers related to Lewinsky. I back-published all in last month's archives rather than clutter up my two front pages with pictures of presidents. Notice also what words are on the covers, the expressions captured, the black-and-white.

Res ipsa loquitur

Magazine Covers - Gerald Ford
Magazine Covers - Jimmy Carter
Magazine Covers - Ronald Reagan 
Magazine Covers - George H W Bush
Magazine Covers - Bill Clinton
Magazine Covers - George W Bush
Magazine Covers - Barack Obama


Donna B. said...

I just have time for a quick glance tonight... but Stand and Deliver will send me to bed laughing. Out Loud.

Sam L. said...

Yep: Pro-Dem, Anti-GOP, which is as I remembered it.

james said...

Nice work. The bias in presentation is quite clear.
The other half of the presentation--the things left out--is much harder to illustrate, though it shows up if you watch long enough.

Tom Bridgeland said...

Ford and Reagan were certainly portrayed as dopes. GHWB also was rather negative. Carter, and Clinton seemed to be positive.

Obama? Hard to judge. Some were so over-the-top that they appear to be tongue in cheek rather than accolades.

Donna B. said...

Though Gerald Ford got a lot of grief for supposedly being clumsy, the bias was much more subtle way back then.

I also remember photos of Kerry. I thought he must be an awful person because so many photographers apparently hated him. Perhaps that was because I was in an echo chamber then... How did covers of other opponents look? Photography can be powerful.

But Stand and Deliver? Surely I'm not the only person to perceive that as Bill Clinton, highwayman.

Christopher B said...

I thought the contrast was greatest between Ford and Carter. Ideologically abd in temperament they were probably close to equal but Ford was clearly more pictured more negatively.

The Obama covers are just bizarre, though they do come after Time and Newsweek gave up any pretenses to be actual journalism and became 'People' for politics.

HMS Defiant said...

Roll left and die really does still hold true here. Newsweek was sold for $1.00. Time is virtually worthless. Some could lay that at the feet of the digital onslaught but I think not. Weekly viciously partisan publications lost roughly half their subscribers and they were largely the ones having the kids that populated the next generation and the following one. When they used to say the future belongs to the people that show up, nobody had in mind all of Central and South America 'showing up.'