Not new news but certainly topical around here, "Fairness and Accuracy in Media" (not to be confused with the misleadingly named right wing group "Accuracy in Media") looked at Citations of Think Tanks in Media. Reported in May/June 2006 the study found a drop in think tank cites, primarily from progressive groups.
40 percent of such citations in 2005 were to conservative or center-right groups, 47 percent were to centrist groups and only 13 percent were to center-left or progressive groups.
More below the fold
FAIR’s annual survey of think tank citations in the mainstream media focuses attention on the groups that media turn to for “expert” sources. Rarely described politically when they are quoted (Extra!, 5–6/98), think tank sources often appear as neutral observers of the news, in contrast to partisan politicians and representatives of advocacy groups. If the media have a “liberal” bias, as conservatives have long claimed, then one would expect news outlets to seek out progressive think tanks as sources. However, in the history of this study, begun in 1996, we have instead found a consistent preference for conservative think tanks over progressive ones.
The study found that a precipitous drop in progressive cites coincided with more centrist cites and more cites of far right groups such as the Discovery Institute that rejects scientific evolution.
Of perhaps greater concern to those looking for a more diverse media diet is that citations of left-leaning groups are increasingly from center-left groups rather than unambiguously progressive groups.
Anglico has exposed this bias locally and this study shows it is a national trend. Some of the displacement comes from more centrist groups. Not in itself a bad thing but when media follow the same old pattern of "two sides" and pair up a "far right" think tank with a "centrist" think tank the center of gravity of the artificial debate obviously falls to the right.
A modest suggestion? How about a minimum of "three sides to every story"?