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Why Overt Media Bias Is Dangerous September 27, 2006

Posted by papundit in Uncategorized.

James Taranto  (see item “Pope Is Catholic, Media Are Liberal”) notes:

Something odd is afoot in America’s elite media–increasingly, journalists are unabashed about admitting their liberal bias.

But Taranto isn’t sure what to make of this trend.  My answer: Be very afraid. 

Robert MacCoun has a good overview of the reasons why.  In particular: Cain, Loewenstein and Moore (“The Dirt on Coming Clean: Perverse Effects of Disclosing Conflicts of Interest“) have demonstrated that:

Disclosures can actually increase the influence of bias in expert advice; apparently experts – having “come clean” feel they have full license to say what they want without caution or qualification. Making matters worse, their audience – having heard the expert come clean – no longer adjust their understanding of the advice to correct for possible bias from the source.

And compounding this hazard is the fact that people generally underestimate their own biases, as summarized by Pronin, Gilovich and Ross (“Objectivity in the Eye of the Beholder: Divergent Perceptions of Bias in Self Versus Others“)



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