Newspaper Bias Study Questioned

After reviewing "two University of Chicago economists' findings about the political slant of American newspapers," reporter Chris Adams concludes that the study "has structural flaws." For instance, the study counted the Washington Post's mentions of "real estate tax" as "estate tax," a phrase identified as Democratic (as opposed to its Republican counterpart, "death tax"). Many of the Democratic-leaning phrases the study found in the New York Times, such as "bring our troops home" and "tax cuts for the rich," appeared not in news reports, but in opinion pieces or letters to the editor. Moreover, the "partisan phrases" used the most by the New York Times -- which the study gave a partisan score similar to "a fairly liberal congressperson" like Senator Barbara Boxer -- were "credit card" and "Justice Department." The study's supposedly-Republican phrases include "assistant secretary" and "urge support." Adams further cautions, "Among the most liberal newspapers in the study: the Times-Picayune of New Orleans. Among the most Democratic phrases: 'Hurricane Katrina.'"