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Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Dr. Tim Groseclose, a professor of political science and economics at UCLA, has spent years constructing precise, quantitative measures of the slant of media outlets. He does this by measuring the political content of news, as a way to measure the PQ, or "political quotient" of voters and politicians.

Among his conclusions are: (i) all mainstream media outlets have a libera
ebook, 304 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by St. Martin's Press
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Bojan Tunguz
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a different universe, a book like this one would never have been written. Not because it’s in any way false (it’s as far from it as it is intellectually possible), nor because its subject matter is uninteresting or boring. No, this kind of book ought not to have been written because in a perfectly honest world there would be absolutely no need for it. The fact that most of the media outlets lean heavily to the left should be so patently obvious to any intellectually honest person that a book ...more
Billie Pritchett
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: liberalism
Tim Groseclose's Left Turn pushes one main thesis: that news media outlets are overwhelmingly liberal, at least as liberalism is understood in American politics. Here's how he establishes the thesis. First, he identifies what would constitute liberalism, and he defines it in terms of what the liberal advocacy group Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) identifies as the set of key concerns for liberalism. The key concerns for the ADA are promoting unions, promoting pro-choice, opposing the Iraqi ...more
David Broussard
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
An amazing read, and one that everyone who consumes the new should read. Why? Because there are two competing views of the media in the US. one is that it is slanted (Left or Right depending upon one's particular politics), and the second is that the slant of the media has little to no effect on the average voter. the author takes on both of these issues head on and through a strong analysis of whether or not the news is biased and how much. Note, he does not analyze opinion pieces, but specific ...more
Aug 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, seriously
Shelves: read-2011
I wish that the cover of this book included this: "(And I can prove it -- with Science!)"

See, sometimes I wonder: When I find conservative political arguments convincing, is it only because I (usually) already believe the propositions, or is it because the arguments are factually and logically sound? Above everything, I am interested in the truth and reason; personal feeling and "agenda" come second (and hopefully are subject to what is true). Often, when considering a particular political or t
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dispassionate layman's explanation of peer reviewed academic research on the bias of the media and its impact on the political views of the country.

Books claiming a liberal bias in the media are hardly new. I've read several. What sets this book apart is its academic approach and the complete lack of an ax for the grinding. Groseclose lays out at the beginning exactly where he's going to take us in this book, and then does a reasonably entertaining job of explaining the scientific research tha
Feb 10, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political
I've read excerpts, and I can tell you the methodology is simply wrong. The author starts with arbitrary "left" and "right" points that don't come close to reflecting the complexity of political thought. He does not account for "right" and "wrong" -- or "correct" and "incorrect." Stephen Colbert may be joking when he says "the facts have a liberal bias," but we are living in an era in which the leading cable "news" network encourages birtherism and couldn't come to grips with Romney being behind ...more
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title may be a little strong, but this book is a solid demonstration of the ideological slants of mainstream media relative to the average voter. It's not a surprise to anyone remotely familiar with the average national journalist and the average voter, but you'd be surprised how few people understand both groups. Groseclose is a true conservative - not a libertarian like myself, but a social and fiscal conservative - in a liberal field (academia) who is very good at showing the pernicious e ...more
I mean I actually liked this book, this book that I had to read for school. It was pretty cool. This book for school.
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Very interesting study! The book is very well laid out and the data is presented well. Clearly the results are going to be more palatable to the politically conservative, but I think everyone who reads this will find useful information, regardless of political persuasion.

The numbers and conclusions about the amount of liberal-leaning people in the media is very convincing. 93% supporting Democratic candidates is a huge tilt! The supporting information showing how this impacts media bias is convi
Matthias Whitney
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read that gives hope to a closet-conservative or anyone else who thinks the country as a whole too liberal and past the point of no return. Groseclose provides some solid scientific analysis in Freakonomics style to show that political preference and bias can be quantified, that the media's preference is wildly liberal, that this has an affect on their reporting, and that this does in turn affect the populace's political preference. I was pleased to find out that on a scale of 0 to 100, ...more
Jeff Raymond
The idea of the media having a decidedly liberal bias isn't (or shouldn't be) news. The problem has been the lack of real ability to prove it in anything resembling an objective way. Groseclose, a professor at UCLA, has some pretty significant success in doing so, creating an algorithm that is able to not only chart where the American center sits, but where people and media outlets sit in comparison to it.

A very worthy book to try and dive into the issue, even if it's imperfect.
Micki Smith
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Massive amount of information but presented in an organized fashion. Nice to have the statistics to back up what so many of us have thought for years but now have a "source" to refer to when arguing that the media is biased towards the left. Highly recommend if you are interested in this topic. Even if you are left-leaning, give it an objective read. The facts can't be disputed. ...more
Jeff Koloze
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: college students, Democrats, English majors, high school students, Journalism majors, Republicans
Readable, often humorous, and thoroughly documented, a masterly work on contemporary media bias.

Both conservatives and liberals know that the media is biased, and Groseclose’s masterly analysis brings an Economics professor’s reasoning and documentation to the issue.

Moreover, pro-life activists can use his ideas not only to understand, but also to fight against journalists’ pervasive and (as we now see in every White House press briefing) aggressive liberal attacks. Every pro-lifer should maste
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is interesting in that it presents statistical methods to determine mainstream media bias, and it concludes that the media is biased toward leftist viewpoints. Unfortunately, the book was published in 2011 so is dated, and the mainstream media has moved a lot farther to the left now in 2020. When this book was published people were arguing whether the media is liberal or not, while in 2020 you would have to be an extreme radical leftist to think that the media isn't biased. The media r ...more
Jim Dowdell
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy to read and yet an excellent text book on political and media bias. I would have enjoyed being able to study in any course that Tim Groseclose leads.
My one complaint about this decade old book is that the world has changed and most readers did not live through events and politics that he uses to build his case. However, he did accurately describe the trends and momentum that have lead to the present political civil war. If only we had followed his prescriptions things might have been diffe
Michael Springer
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a serious book, as rigorous in its research as it is entertaining to read. Virtually everyone admits that the media lean left, but Dr Groseclose and his colleague, Jeff Milyo, have done the research to quantify precisely how far left. More than that, they explore why this makes a difference and how the narrative the leftist journalists spin really does influence the way people vote. I can't wait for the next liberal who says to me, "Yeah, but Fox leans right." I'll be ready. My only wish ...more
Chris Moates
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew this book would be difficult to read because it would use statistical analysis to prove its points. Otherwise Tim Groseclose was spot on when analyzing the bias of news media and specifically reporters compared to the population they serve through their work. Groseclose confirms what many suspected: that the media is overwhelmingly liberal, that they influence people's opinions by the stories they choose, the number and type of people and organizations they quote, and the number of times ...more
Michael Smith
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an important book if you care about the irresponsible reporting of the news media in America. This proves with data and research that the news is extremely biased towards the left.

Even though this book was published in 2011 it is still relevant. There were a few sections of the book where the author goes deep into the data and research to explain his methodology and conclusions. He counterbalances this with some very good plain English 'thought experiments' to put difficult concepts int
Diane Faulkner
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read for all serious journalists

I've been a freelance journalist for 21 years, and this is the first book I've read that fairly argues the point that there is and always has been a liberal media bias. The math chapters took a while to digest, but they were a solid proof.
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Published 10 years ago and even more relevant today
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't the first book I've read on this topic, but his arguments were probably the most persuasive. One main reason is that they are backed up with peer-reviewed research by himself and others. Groseclose does an excellent job at showing how bias exists and how one might recognize it when comparing news sources. The book is well-written and engaging, and I would certainly recommend it.

This book was exceeding my expectations and I was thinking of giving it 5 stars, but the final section on th
Jimmy Liu
The political science models he brings up are pretty interesting. I do wish he had more restraint regarding his political opinions (not that I think they taint his analysis). Seems kind of quaint given recent events in 2017, though...
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew! It's tough to be non-bias isn't it? I think Tim Groseclose does as good a job as I try to do when talking about the issues. That being said the first 200 pages of this book are great and exactly what I expected. However, Tim takes it a step further and actually PROVES his work. The proof is a bit dry and full of real math and real examples to back up what he is talking about.

However, I found myself bored with the last 100 pages and skimmed through his proofs. Most people who pick up this
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book continues to amaze me the more time that passes since I've read it. The impact it has had on me and knowledge it has provided has really altered my outlook on the media and what we are all being fed by them on a daily basis. I feel much more armed against the nonsense and have a deeper understanding of how very possible it is to be told the truth on all news stations, yet have a completely different emotion or action evoked by those truths which are often not explained and left in a si ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Didn't quite finish it, but it was due back at the library. Interesting topic, very well explained and supported. Surprisingly interesting, given the topic. I recommend it, but it's not one of those books you stay up too late reading saying to yourself, just one more chapter and then I'll go to bed. ...more
Jeremy Hatfield
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tim translates his peer-reviewed (and so far, unchallenged) research on the matter for laymen. He gets a little bogged down in statistical arcana towards the end of the book, but overall, it is an excellent treatise on what we've known all along: that most media are biased towards the left, and it affects tge mindset of the nation. ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
needed a book for a book review for my Media & US Politics class. This fits the bill. Lots of math, lots of thought experiments and a little dry at times. However, it does lay out the evidence of left-leaning media bias.
Matthew Goben
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating book that I believe every person needs to read. It was very insightful and I would say it was very un-biased. It really does give you a way to actually look at and see the bias that the media has, and the bias that everyone has as a result. I recommend it to everyone.

Great book! Truly revealing!
Jonathan Rea
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i am a sucker for economic studies...
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