Networks Label Conservatives More Than Liberals, Study Says

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

( - A new study by a media watchdog group reveals that networks label conservatives four times as often as they label liberals.

The Media Research Center, parent company of, found 992 instances where network reporters labeled conservatives compared with only 247 instances where liberals were labeled.

The study was conducted over a five-year period from January 1, 1997 through December 31, 2002. It examined ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts.

"It seems unbelievable, but the numbers don't lie," said MRC President L. Brent Bozell, referring to CBS newsman Bernard Goldberg, author of "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How The Media Distort the News."

"No network labeled Vice President Al Gore as a liberal during the entire 1999-2000 election cycle, yet they labeled George W. Bush as a conservative 19 times. Bernard Goldberg is absolutely right," he said. "Network anchors and reporters label conservatives because they think they're out of the mainstream, but don't label liberals because they think liberals are completely mainstream."

For example, the group Concerned Women for America was called conservative in 41 percent of stories, while the National Organization for Women was only labeled liberal two percent of the time.

The study found that U.S. senators were labeled conservative 66 percent of the time, U.S. congressmen 87 percent, national candidates 96 percent and Supreme Court justices 67 percent.

Jesse Helms was labeled more than any other senator. In fact, CBS branded him an "ultra-conservative" on January 27, 1998, while on July 18, 1997, NBC's Andrea Mitchell called him a "crusty, courtly conservative."

Only eight congressmen, all of them Democrats, were identified as liberals, compared with 34 who were called conservatives.

No network referred to Vice President Al Gore as liberal during the 1999-2000 election cycle. Compare that to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who was labeled a conservative 19 times. On August 14, 1999, NBC's David Bloom described Bush as "a tax-cutting, anti-abortion, pro-business, pro-school vouchers conservative."

Even Supreme Court justices did not escape being labeled. Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and William Renqhuist were labeled "conservative" 13 times each, compared to Justice John Paul Stevens was labeled liberal seven times.

In addition, ABC World News Tonight used the conservative label 79 percent of the time, CBS Evening News used it 82 percent, and NBC Nightly News 80 percent.

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