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October 25, 2004

UMBC Panel to Explore Media Bias

As the subject of media bias continues to be a storyline in the homestretch of the 2004 presidential election, an interdisciplinary group of faculty media and political critics will debate "Bias and the American Media" on Oct. 27 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

UMBC's 2004 Interdisciplinary Studies Mosaic Roundtable, "Bias in the American Media," will bring together four UMBC faculty experts on the media and politics along with special guest Terry Eastland, publisher of The Weekly Standard and a contributing columnist to The Dallas Morning News.

The panel will discuss the issue in light of recent controversies such as Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcasting Group's plans to air a film criticizing Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's protests of the Vietnam War (the final broadcast was altered after pro-Kerry protests hurt Sinclair's stock price), and the retraction of a "60 Minutes" story questioning President Bush's National Guard service that lead to an on-air apology by CBS News anchorman Dan Rather.

Faculty experts include:

Christopher Corbett, a former reporter and news editor with The Associated Press, has been a journalist for over 30 years. His latest book, Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express (Random House/Broadway Books, 2003) is in its seventh printing and was published in paperback this fall. In 1990, Corbett was the James Thurber Journalist-in-Residence at the Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio, where he also taught in the Ohio State University's journalism school. Since 1994, he has written The Back Page for Baltimore's Style magazine, which received the City and Regional Magazine Award for best column in 1998 and 1999. At UMBC, Corbett serves as faculty advisor to The Retriever Weekly and teaches journalism courses in the English department.

Susan Dwyer (moderator) is a specialist in moral psychology and ethics and public policy, and has published on reconciliation, moral development, feminist theory, free speech and cyberpornography. She is editor (with the late Joel Feinberg) of The Problem of Abortion and The Program of Pornography. Dwyer is associate professor of philosophy and director of the master's program in applied and professional ethics at UMBC and is an adjunct member of the philosophy department at the University of Maryland College Park.

Jason Loviglio is co-editor (with Michele Hilmes) of Radio Reader: Essays in the Cultural History of Radio (Routledge, 2002) and is author of the forthcoming The Intimate Public: Network Radio and Mass Mediated Democracy ( University of Minnesota Press). In 2003, he was awarded the J. Franklin Jameson Fellowship by the Library of Congress and the American Historical Association to conduct research in the NBC archives at the Library of Congress. Loviglio is a founding member of the North American Radio Studies Network, a member of the international Radio Studies Network and a member of the International Advisory Board of Radio Journal. At UMBC, he is assistant professor of American studies and teaches courses in media, popular culture and multiculturalism.

Thomas Schaller has published commentaries and op-ed features in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Baltimore Sun, Salon.com and the American Prospect online, and is frequently interviewed on public television and radio. He is co-founder and executive editor of Gadflyer.com, a progressive Internet magazine. Schaller has published academic articles in American Review of Politics, Constitutional Political Economy, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Public Choice and Publius: The Journal of Federalism. He is co-author of a forthcoming book on black state legislators (State University of New York Press). At UMBC, Schaller is associate professor of political science.

"The notion of a liberal media is largely a myth," says Schaller. "There is a liberal tilt to university faculty, some print reporters and the Internet blogging community. But most everywhere else--among think tanks, on network and especially cable television, among print editors and publishers, and certainly on talk radio--the bias is decidedly and often unabashedly conservative."

"The news media's role in the circulation of the attacks [between the presidential candidates] has become highly controversial," Loviglio says. "More and more, Americans are becoming turned off and distrustful of media bias in political coverage."

"Americans live in a free society--and they are free to choose," says Corbett. "They have chosen not to be well informed."

The Mosaic series is the creation of UMBC's Interdisciplinary Studies (INDS) program, with a goal of bringing diverse expertise together twice per year to examine a controversial societal issue.

"What we hope students will come away with after this forum is the ability to look at media with a critical eye," says Patricia La Noue, chair of the INDS program at UMBC.

The 2004 Mosaic Roundtable forum is open to the public. The event will be held Wednesday, October 27, from 1 to 3 p.m. on the 7th floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery on the UMBC Campus.

Posted by dwinds1 at October 25, 2004 12:00 AM