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Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind Hardcover – July 19, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


With knowledge there is victory and power. This book helps Americans learn the truth and discover how we are being manipulated by the mainstream media. It is hard to understate how brilliant and insightful Left Turn is. It is, I believe, one of the most important books ever written about American politics. (Congressman Paul Broun, M.D. (R-Ga.))

I'm no conservative, but I loved Left Turn. Tim Groseclose has written the best kind of book: one that is firmly anchored in rigorous academic research, but is still so much fun to read that it is hard to put down. Liberals will not like the conclusions of this book, which in my opinion, is all the more reason why they should want to read it. (Steven Levitt, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago, and co-author of Freakonomics.)

This book--an evolution from the pioneering article in the 2005 Quarterly Journal of Economics by Groseclose and Jeffrey Milyo--uses a clever statistical technique to construct an objective measure of conservative or liberal bias in news coverage. This method and those now adopted by other serious researchers show clearly that most U.S. news outlets lean left. Most frighteningly, we learn that the media bias actually affects the ways that people think and vote. (Robert Barro, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution.)

This book serves up the most convincing evidence for media bias I have seen, ever. Tim Groseclose is the leading academic scholar in the area, but this is a smartly-written book which every person can read for enlightenment and also for pleasure. (Tyler Cowen, Professor of Economics, George Mason University, and co-author of the internationally acclaimed economics blog, MarginalRevolution.com.)

In writing this book Professor Groseclose has done a great service for our country. (Congressman Allen West (R-Fla.), (Lt. Col. U.S. Army, ret.))

About the Author

TIM GROSECLOSE is the Marvin Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics at UCLA. He has joint appointments in the political science and economics departments. He has held previous faculty appointments at Caltech, Stanford University, Ohio State University, Harvard University, and Carnegie Mellon University


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312555938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312555931
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

(from http://timgroseclose.com/)

Dr. Tim Groseclose is the Marvin Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics at UCLA. He has joint appointments in the political science and economics departments. He has held previous faculty appointments at Caltech, Stanford University, Ohio State University, Harvard University, and Carnegie Mellon University.

In 1987 Groseclose received his B.S. degree in Mathematical and Computational Sciences from Stanford University. In 1992 he received his PhD from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (specializing in the School's Political Economics field).

His research has focused on Congress, the media, and mathematical models of politics. He has recently published a book, Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind. He has published more than two dozen scholarly articles, including several published in the American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, and Journal of Politics.

He currently lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife and two children.

In Left Turn (Chapter 3: "But I've Been to Oklahoma"), Groseclose notes the following about his birthplace, upbringing, and political views:

"On September 22, 1964, Barry Goldwater made a campaign stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That morning, Tulsa residents awoke to read on the front page of their newspaper: 'Tulsa World Endorses Goldwater.'

"I was born on that day in Tulsa. To this day, I consider Goldwater one of my political heroes. Four others are Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, Bob Dole, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Four other heroes, in addition to being successful politicians, are true scholars: Newt Gingrich, Phil Gramm, Dick Armey, and Dick Cheney.[1]

"My own PQ is approximately 13. This means that I usually side with conservatives on controversial issues. For instance, I favor lower taxes, less government regulation in the economy, a stronger military, and fewer restrictions on guns. I believe that "Roe vs. Wade" was unconstitutional--namely, it violated the Tenth Amendment, which reserves abortion-law decisions for the states. On some issues, however, I agree with liberals. These include: (i) allowing the government to pay for stem-cell research; (ii) giving partial amnesty to illegal immigrants (as would have been required by the 2007 Comprehensive Immigration bill, sponsored by John McCain and Ted Kennedy, and endorsed by President Bush); and (iii) increasing gasoline taxes. Although it is based only on casual observation, I believe that if you conducted a systematic study, you'd find that my views are to the right of Bill O'Reilly's, while left of Sean Hannity's.

"Six politicians who have PQs similar to mine are (i) Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio) (PQ=14), (ii) former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) (PQ=16), (iii) Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) (PQ=15), (iv) former Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.) (PQ=12), (v) former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (PQ=11), and (vi) Senator John McCain (R-Az.) (PQ=16). Nearly everyone who has studied their voting records would agree that they are significantly more conservative than all Democrats currently serving in Congress. And they are more conservative than moderate Republicans, such as Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. Meanwhile, however, they are not as conservative as far-right Republicans such as Michele Bachmann or Jim DeMint.

"There. I have now done something that almost no journalist will ever do. I've given you a detailed account of my political views, including some information about my political heroes and the birthplace that influenced those views.

"Is this book biased? On one level, it matters not a whit where I was born or what my political views are. The methods that I use to measure media bias are completely objective--indeed, a computer executes them.

"But on another level my views and background do matter. As I will explain, the topics that journalists choose depend partly upon their political views and the views of the people who surround them. So let me admit, I don't think I would have written a book about media bias if I weren't conservative or if my parents hadn't instilled Central Time Zone values in me."

[1] Gingrich, Gramm, and Armey earned PhDs--Gingrich in history, and Gramm and Armey in economics. All three began their careers as professors. Although Cheney was never a professor, nor obtained his PhD, he was once enrolled in the political science PhD program at University of Wisconsin. Unlike 66% of political science professors in the Ivy League, and 56% of the political science professors at Harvard, Cheney has published in the top academic journal in political science, the American Political Science Review. Another academic credential of Cheney is the fact that he has an Erdos number. Named after the great mathematician, Paul Erdos, who was famous for his prolific scholarship and his numerous co-authors--an Erodos number is calculated as follows. All of Erdos's coauthors have an Erodos number of one. Anyone who has co-authored with one of Erdos's coauthors has an Erdos number of two. Anyone who has co-authored with a co-author of one of Erdos's coauthors has an Erdos number of three. And so on. Cheney's Erdos number is no more than seven. He wrote his American Political Science Review article with Aage Clausen, who has coauthored with Greg Caldeira, who has co-authored with me, who has co-authored with Keith Krebiel, who has co-authored with John Ferejohn, who has co-authored with Peter Fishburn, who has co-authored with Erdos.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Note: Normally, when discussing a book with political implications, I attempt to present an opinion tailored to the sensitivities of members of each major political party concerning the work in question. In the case of Left Turn, I have forgone this formula due to the objective presentation of the book and the value it serves despite political affiliations.

The Author:

While reading this book, I experienced one constant mantra of thought: Dr. Groseclose is an unequivocal expert on the subject of media bias and relating politics. This book is not the construct of a sharp-tongued political analyst, but rather the work of an experienced and astute-observer utilizing a strong skillset in scientific reasoning and advanced calculation. When reading the author's biography, you will discover that Groseclose is a generally conservative professor of political science at UCLA and a visiting professor at several Ivy League universities. Those of us, who have been to university, know that such creatures (non-liberal university academics) are about as common as unicorns, leprechauns and a no-strings-attached weekend at a vacation timeshare. This facet alone might be reason enough to read Left Turn, but fortunately I can provide a few more motives.

Left Turn:

Left Turn, while written by an openly conservative author is riddled with examples, statistics, empirical data and careful-research in a valid effort to underscore the science of political science.
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Format: Hardcover
*Left Turn*, by Tim Groseclose, is a kind of alien artifact because there is not a single hint of rancor, hostility or disrespect toward those with whom he, assuredly, politically disagrees. Instead, this book is a refreshment for the intellect.

At the outset, Dr. Groseclose declares his political disposition: he is a conservative. However, his private views are rendered irrelevant by his research effort of many years. Most of his colleagues are left of center, yet they all share a devotion to scientific accuracy and good faith.

As a political scientist and economist, Dr. Groseclose's academic accomplishments are impressive. His research is data-driven, brought to life by mathematics, and has been critically- and well-received by his peers.

His book outlines his research. Specifically, Dr. Groseclose explains how he arrives at a numeric value identifying an individual's or organization's position in the political spectrum. Remarkably, 1. the author is able to establish this identification over a range of time; not merely a point in time; and, 2. his research yields an absolute value of political identification, and not a relative one (e.g, Fox News relative to MSNBC). The implications and effects of these discoveries are then addressed by the author.

The organizations given scrutiny, unsurprisingly, comprise news media sources--both print and electronic. It will no doubt be irritating to liberals that Dr. Groseclose's research shows most media to be slanted to the left. And, of course, some conservatives will find validation in the author's conclusion, while judging it as ridiculously obvious. Such reactions would miss the point, I think, because what Dr.
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Building on a seminal Quarterly Journal of Economics article, in this book, Professor Tim Groseclose outlines considerable evidence for left-wing bias in the US media and, perhaps more importantly, argues that the bias tilts the US political system to the left.

When, in the middle of the last decade, Professor Groseclose and his co-author provided innovative quantification of leftward bias in the US media, the thesis was controversial, eliciting extensive (and often mean-spirited) reaction toward the authors. Since then, however, Groseclose's argument has become more widely accepted. Indeed, Hillary Clinton's campaign advisors noted (probably validly) extensive media bias toward now-President Obama in the 2008 primary campaign.

Indeed, "now-President" is the key phrase in the last sentence. Not only is the media biased, but that bias matters, i.e., has affected political outcomes in this country. The importance of media bias is the central thesis of "Left Turn" and the methodological enhancement relative to Professor Groseclose's earlier research. He introduces what he terms "the media lambda," a fancy way of suggesting the leftward pull or power of a biased media.

"Left Turn" is not an excessively equation-laden exegesis (though it has very extensive end notes and references). Instead, it is built on anecdotes of how the media matters, i.e., changes the nature of the policy debate and, ultimately, government policies. The heroine of the book is Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Katherine Kersten, a rare conservative media member who broke the story of the "John Doe" litigation in which passengers on an airplane were sued by Muslim imams for reporting concerns about behavior the passengers perceived to be unusual and possibly threatening. As a result of Ms.
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