So far, however, none of these studies has proved unassailable and whether they favor the liberal or conservative hunches, they are uniformly burdened with an avalanche of criticisms. For instance, despite the revelation that a very large percentage of journalists self-identify as liberal, the effect of this on their neutrality in reporting is still supposition.
I'm not suggesting these studies are all useless, just suspect. Mostly what I am saying, though, is that despite 30 years of research, we are still no closer to a definitive position on bias in media. Like the the news sample based evidence, what can be said is that, flawed or not, when viewed collectively the widely varying results of these studies still aggregate into a net-neutral conclusion.
As I hope I've made clear, I do believe that media bias is alive and well. It is sometime egregious and clumsy, as in the Zimmerman edit, but is more often quite subtle. Imagine Glenn Beck spending a tearful hour decrying the horrors of socialized health care which is not news but is editorial content (to be generous). Following Beck, the news opens with a laboriously objective story about the legislative state of the Affordable Health Care Act. Can that story be considered objective if it has been potentially poisoned by the preceding editorial? Obviously, I'm picking on a popular cable news network in this example but in all truthfulness, I believe that this kind of cross pollination of news and editorial is not unique to Fox.
Actually, it is my opinion (not allegation) that this is an industry wide practice. Naturally, news organizations noisily boast of their neutrality and fairness. And while performing this very public song and dance, they actually quietly expect us to see through their disguise. Why wouldn't they? What better way to for a news organization to brand themselves in a competitive MSM market. If Fox viewers took a bizarre seismic shift to the left then I have every reason to think that we will soon see a soggy face tearfully lamenting how the social order ordained by the constitution is being undermined by greedy corporate interests. Rupert Murdoch may have a political agenda but his prime directive is profit.