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Blogosphere Reality Has a Liberal Bias

It’s probably not really worth compiling international roaming charges to comment on this, but it’s one of the more thoughtless conservative memes I’ve heard in some time: the fact that liberal blogs are cited more often in the mainstream media is evidence that the media has a liberal bias. The Maureen Dowd-Josh Marshall plagiarism incident is even being cited (such as by the usually smart Hot Air) as evidence of this.

No. The reason that liberal blogs are cited more often in the mainstream media is because they are more plentiful and more widely-read than conservative blogs. Traffic on the Internet in general tilts toward the young and the more highly educated, demographics which — at least for the time being — are associated with more liberal politics. And yes, I do think that liberal blogs are “better” on average than conservative ones (with plenty of exceptions on both sides) but you can reach this conclusion without having to invoke qualitative conclusions at all.

The analogy to liberal blogs is not conservative blogs but conservative talk radio, a medium where conservative hosts maintain a multifold advantage over liberal ones. How much more does Rush Limbaugh drive the conversation than, say, Randi Rhodes. A *lot* more. So does this mean the media has a conservative bias?

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.