08 August 2010

In the "Marketplace of Ideas" Working People Have Been Silenced: Media Bias in Reporting on the Recession

My co-conspirator Susan Orr points out that over at Crooked Timber my friend Henry Farrell has posted on this recent report from the nice folks at the Pew Research Center. Surprise! In their coverage of our "recession" (speaking of euphemisms) the "mainstream media" - more appropriately labeled corporate media - base their reporting overwhelmingly on sources from government and business while systematically ignoring trade unions.

In analyzing sources in stories, however, the fundamental pattern is the same. Those in government, and especially Obama administration staffers, dominated the conversation. Representatives of business and industry came next, followed by academics and independent observers. But the voices of ordinary citizens and people in the workplace trailed behind, appearing in only about one in every five stories.

The president himself or key staffers in the West Wing of the White House were sources in 28% of the stories. Representatives from federal agencies were in 25%. And fully 61% of stories included a government representative of some kind, including those from state and local government.

Representatives of business, those identified as clearly speaking on behalf of the company or corporation, were the next most prominent sources, figuring in about 40% of the stories.

In many of the economic storylines, ordinary citizens and workers were well down the rung of sources. For instance, they were heard in only 8% of the stories gauging the severity and trajectory of the recession, 9% of the stories about the financial sector and 11% of the stories about the stimulus program.

One subset of the American workforce was virtually shut out of the coverage entirely. Representatives of organized labor unions were sources in a mere 2% of all the economy stories studied (stress added).

I must say that this finding is hardly surprising.

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Blogger Stan B. said...

Yeah, and that aint the half of it:


08 August, 2010 17:59  

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