Bias recognition

Sometimes there’s no way to know the backstory. Saturday morning about 9.

The tendency to see bias in the news—now the raison d’etre of much of the blogosphere—is such a reliable indicator of partisan thinking that researchers coined a term, “hostile media effect,�? to describe the sincere belief among partisans that news reports are painting them in the worst possible light.

—writes Shankar Vedantam in today’s WashPost. Later Vedantam notes that two researchers working separately found fundamental differences between partisans, offering further insights when paired with observations I have noted previously regarding authoritarian conservatives.

Ross and Perloff both found that what partisans worry about the most is the impact of the news on neutral observers. But the data suggest such worry is misplaced. Neutral observers are better than partisans at seeing flaws and virtues on both sides. Partisans, it turns out, are particularly susceptible to the general human belief that other people are susceptible to propaganda.

Over in the NYT, Robert Pear notes that even the fairly conservative ABA is worried about certain behaviors of the current administration:

The American Bar Association said Sunday that President Bush was flouting the Constitution and undermining the rule of law by claiming the power to disregard selected provisions of bills that he signed.

Sounds like a combo of the authoritarianism and partisan paranoia that’s near-toxic for most of us residing in this republic—hell, maybe even across the globe….

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