Do the electronic media, the principal source of political information for many if not most American citizens, present biased accounts of national affairs? Our analyses of network coverage of U.S. senators during the 1970s and 1980s find that the networks follow objective routines, which normally ensure balanced reporting of political affairs. During times of seismic change in the political landscape however, these very routines can produce what might be interpreted as biased coverage. The first four years of the Reagan administration, we show, is a striking example of this phenomenon. We label this the “paradox of objectivity,” a phenomenon that greatly complicates the evaluation of news reporting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science