One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented at The Paley Center for Media in New York as part of the James P. Jimirro Media Impact Series. This evening examines perceptions of media bias in journalism and politics.

A brief series of clips from the Paley Archive features prominent individuals such as Spiro Agnew, Ted Koppel and, in a televised "Viewpoint" debate on the subject, Geraldo Rivera, Sam Donaldson and David Brinkley, all of whom address issues of liberal or conservative bias.

After the clips, host Diane Lewis (chief programming officer, The Paley Center for Media) offers opening remarks and welcomes Jimirro to the stage. Jimirro briefly discusses the importance of freedom of the press before introducing Marie Hardin (dean, Bellisario College of Communications, Penn State University), who provides an "academic definition of bias." Hardin then moderates the following panelists: Sharyl Attkisson (author; host, "Full Measure"); Angelo Carusone (president, Media Matters); Tim Graham (Director of Media Analysis, Media Research Center); Michelle Malkin (author and commentator); Christine Quinn (politician and commentator); and Brian Stelter (host, "Reliable Sources," CNN). Written questions from audience members are interspersed throughout the commentary.

The panelists touch on such topics as: how trust – the "one currency" of journalists – has been "weaponized" against the American public in order to change behavior; social media as an important primary source of news for many citizens; examining journalistic "touchstones" like the Iraq War, the 2008 financial crisis and the issue of climate change to analyze bias or lack thereof; the Media Research Center's "systematic analysis" into the media's largely negative coverage of Donald Trump; Graham's sense that most media outlets are purposefully "not covering the good news," such as low unemployment rates; how opinionated advocacy journalism has blended with "straight news," and if journalism students should be taught to divest themselves from factual stories; the danger of obtaining brief quotes from subjects after a piece is written simply to "fulfill what you thought" about an issue; the importance of "checks and balances," including public opinion, to improve journalists' work; and repercussions from Trump's many comments about the press as "the enemy of the people."

Other topics include: Malkin's take on iconic journalist Cokie Roberts, who passed away earlier in the day, as an early purveyor of "fake news," with reference to an incident from Bill Clinton's 1992 State of the Union address; Malkin's sense of an "institutional bias" against certain political writers and bloggers; debate about the definition of "mainstream media" and its inclusion of a complex editorial system and a higher standard of quality; why journalists are not "stenographers" and must make educated choices about what to include; addressing the questionable accuracy of "facts" in Trump's speeches without appearing biased; comparisons of the press coverage of Trump and Clinton; why topics like climate change – perceived by many as indisputable – shouldn't be covered from multiple points of view; Attkisson's coverage of the Firestone and Ford tire controversy, and why she chose to avoid directly calling those involved "liars"; Malkin's belief in the media's "selective care and concern" about certain issues, including the imprisonment of undocumented families and children; how "lay citizens" can become their own fact-checkers; and poll results suggesting that Americans have more faith in publicly funded outlets like NPR, PBS and AP than in commercial programs.

The panelists then discuss: Attkisson's 2017 book "The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote" and why factual and opinionated programs should be differentiated; the impact of advertising, including the Washington Post's inclusion of ads from Communist China; the need to acknowledge the tenor of Trump's "hateful" comments about immigrants and the transgender community, among others; why bias, which "has its place" on op-ed pages and other areas, isn't the same as journalism; why outlets tend to create superlatives, rather than exploring the nuance of gray areas between liberal and conservative; Graham's sense of the "dramatic contrast" between coverage of Trump and Obama; increasing losses of local and regional news outlets; examining the "big tests" of ongoing, high-profile news stories rather than anecdotal evidence and individual quotes; whether the composition of newsrooms should accurately represent the country; the importance of "doing your own research" and increasing media literacy; maintaining civil relationships with those having dissimilar views; and why those dissatisfied with the current news landscape should "help make it better."

Note: This summary addresses clips that were only shown at the venue on the day of the event.


  • DATE: 6:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:16:37
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 137468
  • GENRE: Seminars


  • Diane Lewis … Host
  • Marie Hardin … Moderator
  • Brian Stelter … Panelist
  • Michelle Malkin … Panelist
  • Christine Quinn … Panelist
  • Sharyl Attkisson … Panelist
  • Tim Graham … Panelist
  • Angelo Carusone … Panelist
  • Jim Jimirro … Guest
  • Spiro Agnew
  • David Brinkley
  • Bill Clinton
  • Sam Donaldson
  • Ted Koppel
  • Barack Obama
  • Geraldo Rivera
  • Cokie Roberts
  • Donald Trump