Media bias is real, admits Politico’s founding editor — it’s just not what you might think it is

The jig is up: Political bias in the mainstream media is real. It’s just not what critics think. There is no slant to the left, according to Politico founding editor John F. Harris, nor is there a rightward lean. The true bias, in his view, is no bias at all:

‘[A] quarter-century covering national politics has convinced me that the more pervasive force shaping coverage of Washington and elections is what might be thought of as centrist bias, flowing from reporters and sources alike. It is a headwind for Warren, Sanders, the “squad” on Capitol Hill, even for Trump. This bias is marked by an instinctual suspicion of anything suggesting ideological zealotry, an admiration for difference-splitting, a conviction that politics should be a tidier and more rational process than it usually is.’

— John F. Harris, in Politico Magazine

Harris, editor-in-chief of the Beltway publication for a decade-plus before swapping the role for that of columnist, admits that he himself suffers from, if you’ll pardon the oxymoron, this bias toward centrism: “I’ve got it,” he writes in Politico Magazine. “A pretty strong bout, actually.”

In One Chart:After checking out this chart of media bias, we might have to agree to disagree

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The malady, if it is one, is said to be widespread, taking in not just the press but policy makers, and certainly the Washington establishment. Harris posits, that, in contrast with the conventional wisdom that polarization, of late, keeps the people’s business from being conducted on Capitol Hill, representatives of the two sides — stripped of labels and gathered somewhere away from the critical gaze of party activists — “would not have an especially difficult time striking a comprehensive agreement on immigration reform, or modifying Obamacare, or a long-term budget accord.”

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