NEWS MEDIA CONTINUES TO BULLY CONSERVATIVES
Ever wonder why Republicans always appear to be the villains on Capitol Hill? Easy. They have been cast in the role by the news media. As the GOP readies to overhaul Obamacare or confront a possible government shutdown, consider that broadcasters methodically portray the GOP — particularly such legislative entities as the House Freedom Caucus — in the role of villains or extremists. A representative new study of 141 news stories on the health care debate reveals that ABC, CBS, NBC did much to advance the public’s impression that Republicans are troublemakers.
“In 30 days of health care debate coverage — March 7 through April 5 — the broadcast networks consistently framed it as a fight between unreasonable conservatives versus more moderate Republicans and Senate Democrats by overwhelmingly applying ideological labels to one side of the argument,” writes Geoffrey Dickens, an analyst for Newsbusters.org.
“Overwhelmingly, the networks used conservative tags to talk about Republicans. Fully 80 percent of these labels talked about conservatives or those on the ‘right.’ Just 20 percent referred to ‘moderate’ Republicans,” he says, noting that 11 percent of the labels painted conservatives as “far right,” “hard line” or “ultra-conservative” combatants.
“Such deliberate labeling is designed to stigmatize conservatives, casting them as outside-of-the-mainstream ideologues, as compared to their usually unlabeled adversaries,” Mr. Dickens says, adding that Democrats “were never labeled” as liberal or progressive — though on two occasions, the Democratic lawmakers were referred to as “moderates.”