So Much for the Liberal Media; Conservatives Rule Op-Ed Pages says MediaMatters

Washington, D.C. – Media Matters for America today released California data for its new report “Black and White and Re(a)d All Over: The Conservative Advantage in Syndicated Op-Ed Columns,” a comprehensive and unprecedented analysis of nationally syndicated columnists from nearly 1,400 newspapers, or 96 percent of English-language U.S. daily newspapers.  Because of the time, labor, and difficulty involved in gathering such a wide scope of detailed information about America’s newspapers, no one has ever before determined exactly where syndicated columnists are published. The report shows that conservative syndicated columnists are carried in far more newspapers, with much greater audience reach than their progressive counterparts, giving them a distinct advantage in the marketplace of ideas.  California: Key Findings  Conservative Syndicated Columnists Dominate California Daily Newspapers Each Week — Conservative syndicated columnists appear a total of 205 times per week in California newspapers. Centrist columnists appear a total of 72 times, while progressive columnists appear a total of 131 times. 

  • Conservative Syndicated Columnists Reach California Readers Over Five Million More Times Each Week Than Progressives — Conservative syndicated columnists account for 47 percent of the column impressions in California each week, while nationally syndicated progressive columnists account for only 34 percent. Conservative columnists reach California readers 5,091,954 more times each week than their progressive counterparts. 
  • Top Syndicated Columnists in California Are Mostly Conservative Each Week — The top nationally syndicated columnists published regularly in California consist of seven conservatives, one centrist, and two progressives.  

 Nationwide: Key Findings 

  • Conservative Syndicated Columnists Dominate Daily Newspapers — Sixty percent of the nation’s newspapers print more conservative syndicated columnists every week than progressive syndicated columnists. Only 20 percent run more progressives than conservatives, while the remaining 20 percent are evenly balanced. 
  • Conservative Syndicated Columnists Reach Millions More Than Progressives — In a given week, nationally syndicated conservative columnists are published in more than 153 million newspapers. Progressive columnists, on the other hand, are published in 125 million newspapers. 
  • Top Syndicated Columnists Are Mostly Conservative — The list of the top 10 columnists, sorted by the number of papers in which they are carried or by the total circulation of the papers in which they are published, includes five conservatives, two centrists, and only three progressives.
  • In Region After Region, Conservative Syndicated Columnists Enjoy Advantage — In eight of the nine regions into which the U.S. Census divides the country, conservative syndicated columnists reach more readers than progressive syndicated columnists in any given week. Only in the Middle Atlantic region (which includes New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) do progressive columnists reach more readers each week. 

“Together, these results prove that our opinion pages, nationally and even in a blue state like California, are consistently skewed to the right, allowing conservatives a disproportionate advantage in shaping public opinion,” said David Brock, President and CEO of Media Matters. “The integrity of our nation’s newspapers is at stake when the debate of today’s pressing issues is dominated by one side of the argument,” Brock said.  What’s Being Said About This Report “A Washington Post Writers Group executive agrees with Media Matters that conservatives do better than liberals on Op-Ed pages …” — Editor & Publisher, 9/17/07 “Like our count, the Media Matters study found that [George] Will is the king of the hill with his column running at least once a month in 368 newspapers.” — Houston Chronicle, 9/15/07 

“The Media Matters report on the play of syndicated columnists in American daily newspapers confirmed what everybody in the business already knows — that, statistically, newspapers publish more syndicated conservatives than liberals.” — The Washington Post Writers Group, 9/14/07 “The results of the Media Matters survey on the use of political pundits is welcome news, especially as a response to those who have long claimed that there is a liberal media bias.” — Keith Runyon in The Louisville Courier-Journal, 9/14/07 “Have you heard the one about the liberal media? It’s a big fallacy, according to Media Matters for America. Or at least it is on op-ed pages. The group produced a report last week suggesting America’s op-ed pages are dominated by conservative columnists. It’s an interesting finding, if true.” — The Denver Post, 9/16/07 “On Wednesday, the liberal group Media Matters for America issued a study that claims the op-ed pages of the nearly 1,430 daily English-language newspapers in the United States are dominated by conservative syndicated columnists.” — Chicago Tribune, 9/14/07 

“If you’re a George Will fan, and it seems that most of us are, then this won’t be a surprise. Media Matters, the progressive media watchdog, finds that he’s the king of newspaper columnists.” — U.S. News & World Report, 9/12/07 “Media Matters for America, the progressive journalistic watchdog group, is patting itself on the back today for discovering that most of the syndicated columns in the nation’s newspapers skew conservative. So much for the myth of the liberal media.” — Chicago Tribune, 9/12/07 “[Media Matters] found that 60 percent of the daily newspapers print more conservative syndicated columnists each week than liberals. Twenty percent of the papers are dominated by liberals and 20 percent are balanced.” — Associated Press, 9/11/07 About the Report & Media Matters for America 

Media Matters amassed information on 201 nationally syndicated columnists published by nearly every daily newspaper in the country. Contacting each paper individually to ask which syndicated columnists are published, we obtained information from 1,377 newspapers, or 96 percent of all English-language daily newspapers in the United States.  This study is unparalleled in its scope and level of detail. Despite the enormous influence of America’s op-ed pages, no one has ever before determined where syndicated columnists are specifically published. Previous examinations of syndicated columnists relied on data provided by the syndicates themselves, while Media Matters contacted each and every English-language daily newspapers to ensure the highest level of accuracy.  

  1 comment for “So Much for the Liberal Media; Conservatives Rule Op-Ed Pages says MediaMatters

  1. September 25, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Wow, now that’s reporting!

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