Liberals Get Labeled More Often

By: Greg Mitchell

In his current best seller, Bias, Bernard Goldberg is the latest critic to charge that the media repeatedly identifies politicians and writers as “conservative” while failing to properly label their liberal counterparts. Such critics usually make the charge without backing it up with hard facts.

Geoffrey Nunberg, a commentator on the popular National Public Radio show, “Fresh Air,” actually took the trouble to find out if it was really true. Using a major online database he searched for articles about 10 well-known politicos in 30 major newspapers, and came back with 100,000 references.

He confirmed the charge that there is a disparity in labeling — but in the opposite direction of what is often charged. Liberal lawmakers had a 30% greater likelihood of getting tagged with a partisan label as did the conservatives, Nunberg revealed on the show last week. This even held true at three of the more “liberal” newspapers — The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.

And Warren Beatty, he found in another search, gets the liberal label twice as often as Arnold Schwarzenegger gets called a conservative.

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