Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bias Contrast - Small Sample size

I have had two conversations each with intelligent liberals and conservatives, and a whole lotta FB sharing and blogreading added in this week.  Small sample size, but I think I notice something.

When something is reported in liberal media and conservatives read it, their response is "this is one-sided...this leaves out important facts...this is trading on what things can be made to look like, not what is actually so..." and then degenerates into the usual rants that partisans engage in.

When something is reported in conservative media and is read by liberals - and this seems to be entirely in the context of an item reported by a liberal site quoting a conservative site in limited context - the response is "this isn't true...this didn't happen...I can't believe how ridiculous/bigoted this is that anyone would even believe this..."  At best, there is the suggestion that this is a one-off event, which conservatives are putting an enormous amount of emphasis on. Then there is no rant, just dismissal, down the memory hole.

If even mostly, rather than invariably true, this would still be a profound difference.

For the record, this is on the following currently-fashionable topics: Syrian refugees (there are no others, it seems), the unraveling of Obamacare, and campus racism.


Sam L. said...

Perhaps you could provide examples?

Christopher B said...

I think you're seeing something that is substantially true, and something that extends far beyond analysis of current news/opinion.

As far as an example, this might be close if you squint a bit, and is part of what leads me to conclude that AVI's observation is true not just for recent analysis but for historical memory.

Powerline's John Hinderaker got into it on Twitter with WaPo's Glenn Kessler regarding a '4 Pinocchio' rating given to Donald Trump's comments about thousands of (presumably) Muslims in NJ celebrating the 9/11 attacks.

While it's pretty obvious that Trump's comment was an exaggeration, Kessler went farther than that in his column by including the claim that there were no reported celebrations. Hinderaker had previously written a post on Trump's comments that used a story in the WaPo itself from 18 September 2001 to show that some activities characterized as celebrations were investigated by authorities in NJ on 9/11.

You can follow the Twitter exchange at the link. It's pretty clear that Hinderaker is pointing out that Kessler's column "leaves out important facts" about reports from law enforcement and Kessler is defending himself with "how bigoted ... that anyone would believe" any celebrations occurred.