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July 16, 2004
Liberal Media, Uncloaked

Capital Eye, the newsletter of the Center For Responsive Politics, last year published a chart of political contributions from the 25 largest media companies in the last two major election cycles, and the percentage of their support that went to each political party. The general results will not shock too many people, but the extent of the bias surprised me, and might surprise you too.

Capital Eye based its report on public filings with the FEC in April 2003, and it shows that twice as many of the top 25 corporations gave more to Democrats than Republicans, 16-8; in fact, only one company (Hughes Electronics) managed to split their donations 50-50. Even apart from the number of companies on either side of the divide, the companies that tend to give more to Democrats tend also to do so more dramatically.

Most companies (with one notable exception) managed to give some significant percentage of their donations to both parties, although the difference between what was given each varied widely. The gap between percentage of donations given to each party for Dem-leaning companies was 35.1, while GOP leaners had a narrower gap of 27.1 points. Not surprisingly given that analysis, those companies with the widest gaps leaned Democrat. The top 5 gap companies all leaned Democrat, as did eight of the top 10, more than the 2-1 ratio that we see overall:

* New York Times - 92 D (94%/2%)
* Discovery Communications - 81 D (90/9)
* Viacom - 62 D (81/19)
* USA Interactive - 60 D (80/20)
* NBC - 54 D (77/23)

In comparison, the oft-reviled News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdoch and the parent of Fox Broadcasting, only has a gap of 24 R (38/62) and comes in 13th, just past halfway down the list. AOL Time Warner, parent of CNN, comes in just ahead of News Corp at 27 D (63/36). Except for Disney (ABC's parent) with its gap of 10 D (55/45), all other television broadcasters have larger gaps than News Corp -- and all lean Democrat.

Of the companies that had the largest amount of contributions, the top six all leaned Democrat. These six corporations donated almost $20 million during the last two election cycles with an average gap of 25.5 (in millions of dollars):

AOL Time Warner** - 6.2
Vivendi Universal - 3.4
Viacom - 3.2
Disney - 2.7
EchoStar Communications - 2.0
Cablevision Systems - 1.9

The next four positions are held by half of the Republican-leaning corporations, but only two of them spent more than a million dollars (News Corp and Comcast). Comcast only barely leaned GOP, with a gap of 6 R (47/53).

Of the print parents, most of them leaned Democrat to the extent they contributed much at all. Six out of ten listed lean Democrat, but interestingly, the Washington Post (Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus notwithstanding) isn't one of them. The Post gives slightly more to the GOP, with a gap of 16 R (42/58), but since they only gave $8200, it hardly made much of a dent. Ditto for the solid-Dem New York Times, whose atrocious 92 D gap (94/2) is only mitigated by its parsimonious $11,683 in political donations. Gannett, Hearst, and Tribune all run large dailies in scores of American cities, and all go Democrat. In fact, if you leave out News Corp, which owns the New York Post and several overseas newspapers, no primarily print-media corporation gave over $200,000, and the average contribution total is just $71,307. In other words, newspapers are cheap.

When people tell you about how liberal-media bias is just an urban legend, just refer them to this study. And if you wonder why people like Joe Wilson can suck up all of the media oxygen when he's making allegations but suddenly disappears from the media when proven wrong, these political donations should remove any doubt about the motivation behind story selection. (Thanks to reader William S. for the link!)

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 16, 2004 8:07 PM

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» Journalists only support Democrats from Media Lies
UPDATE: ThatLiberalMedia published a story today that provides further evidence of the leftward bias of the major media. (Originally posted at Captain's Quarters.) [Read More]

Tracked on July 17, 2004 2:31 PM

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A report by the Center for Responsive Politics details the political contributions and tho which party for the top 25 media companies. Not surprisingly there was a heavy tilt towards the Democratic Party. As reported Captain's Quarters: (Center... [Read More]

Tracked on July 17, 2004 11:28 PM

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