Decades later, Rosen still can’t back up his assertion that Denver Post has liberal bias

You could probably think of a lot of ways I could spend my time more productively than debating  KOA’s Mike Rosen about whether The Denver Post has a “liberal bias.” 

I mean, I could check Twitter. Then I could check Twitter again. And again. Or I could pet my unbelievably annoying cat. Or there’s a podcast of  Grassroots Radio Colorado on KLZ 560 AM waiting for me.

But I exchanged emails with Rosen anyway.

I started the thread by sending him a post I wrote about his former KOA colleague Steve Kelley.

Rosen: Jason, Just curious: have you ever complained about the left-wing line-up on AM 760? Mike

Jason: Hi Mike. I hope you’re well. I’ve praised the diversity of opinion on The Post’s editorial page. J

Rosen: I don’t think u answered my question.

Jason: Right. I didn’t. Sorry. I have not criticized AM 760 for its lineup. I think it provides a bit of balance in a talk radio world that tilts way right. But I don’t like all the talkers on AM760. I like Sirota, but he’s too hard on Obama and the Dems, even though I relate to him having voted for Nader myself in 2000. I don’t really like Ed Schultz. I think Thom Hartmann is generally excellent.

I’ve pointed out that talk radio on the major stations is dominated by right-leaning shows. I’ve suggested trying more left-leaning shows, maybe a Caplis-and-Silverman type show with a real lefty to counter a rightie like Caplis, though I would not dump Caplis and Silverman because I think it’s a good show. Nor would I suggest dumping your show, though your print column could go.  (I think you’re better on the radio than in print.)

I like diverse opinions, but the far right gets more air across the media spectrum these days than the far left. I don’t think that’s good. I’ve complimented the news department at KOA for its spot news coverage. I also support local programming, so KOA gets credit from me in that regard, even if the lineup is far from perfect for me. J

Rosen: I’d agree that there are more conservatives on talk radio than liberals. But that’s because they tend to attract larger audiences than left-wing hosts.  On the other hand, so-called news programming on network TV is dominated by liberals hosts and a liberal agenda.  Fox’s 3 million cable viewers is overwhelmed by the more than 20 million viewers of evening news shows on ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS.  Have you ever called for more balance there? The lineup on AM 760 isn’t just liberal, it’s radical left; farther left of center than the average conservative on talk radio is right of center.

Jason:  I don’t believe the mainstream media has a liberal bias. You make this accusation about local media, like The Denver Post, all the time, and you don’t have a credible study to back it up. You just assert it based on anecdotes, just like a leftie could do based on anecdotes. I’d say the lineup on AM 760 closer to the center than the lineup on KNUS.

Rosen:  That just says a lot about how far left you sit. For a credible, scientific study, read Tim Groseclose’s new book “Left Turn – How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind.” I’ll make a prediction.  Now that you have the study you’ve asked for, you’ll dismiss it.

Jason: So are you saying that book proves to you that The Denver Post has a liberal bias?

Rosen: No.  Groseclose’s study proves that, what you call, the “mainstream media” have a liberal bias, which you deny.   “Studying” the Denver Post is too small a target to justify a “studier’s” time.  Might be a good project for a grad student who doesn’t have a liberal bias. My thirty-year personal, informal study satisfies me about the Denver Post’s liberal bias.  It’s obvious.

Jason: So, again, you prove my point that your assertion that The Denver Post has a liberal bias is based on nothing, except because you say it it’s so. And you have anecdotes. Someone on the left could say The Post has a conservative bias, and point to anecdotes. You’re not better.

Rosen: That’s right.  It’s based on my credibility and personal observations over many years, which isn’t a formal “study” but it’s based on much more than “nothing.” That you would deny the obvious liberal bias of NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, NY Times, Time, Newsweek, etc. doesn’t say much for your credibility.  That those radically to the left of the liberal media, perhaps you,  regard them as balanced or conservative doesn’t make them balanced or conservative. Here’s a quote you might find instructive from Evan Thomas (a liberal and grandson of Norman Thomas, six-time Socialist Party candidate for president) when he was Newsweek’s Washington bureau chief in 1996: “About 85 percent of the reporters who cover the White House vote Democratic.particularly at the networks, at the lower levels among the editors and so-called infrastructure, there is a liberal bias.  There is a liberal bias at Newsweek,  the magazine I work for.(then ABC White House reporter, now Fox News anchor) Brit Hume’s bosses are liberal, and they’re always quietly denouncing him as a right-wing nut.” He didn’t conduct a study either.

Jason: So what if they vote Democratic. They can still be fair and accurate as reporters, just like a Republican could be. Judges can be fair, regardless of party. There may be exceptions, but these are professionals. In fact, reporters or judges could over-compensate for their personal view and tilt their coverage in the other direction. So you have to look at the content of the Post’s news pages.

Your view does indeed count for more than “nothing.” Sorry about that. But both right- and left-leaning readers can find anecdotes to prove their point about bias. So why is your opinion more valid than a leftists, unless you can support what you say with data? If you can’t, with due respect, you should tone down the destructive rhetoric and focus on your specific concerns about specific stories, rather than overstepping and asserting overall bias.

Rosen: Newsroom cultures are uniformly liberal and it does influence what they write and how they edit. We’re not getting anywhere. Read Groseclose’s book, then dismiss it just as you would any “study” I’d on the Denver Post’s news pages.

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