The Drudge Report and Fox News are famous for their partisan slant in news coverage while maintaining the façade of honest news coverage.  This is done most insidiously not by printing biased news articles, but in the choices the media makes in which stores to cover.

It’s called Agenda Setting.

A great example is found in Sunday’s  The editors of the Dispatch hold the ability to drive the Ohio political conversation with what they chooses to highlight in their paper and – more importantly – on their webpage.

So how are our friends at the Dispatch covering Ohio politics this weekend? Here is a screen grab of the lead politics stories on last Sunday morning:


Notice anything about the headlines?  If this is a snapshot of the political news on the day Barack Obama is sworn in for a second term (officially), here is what America looks like:

  • Democrats are “divided” and abortion rights are losing public support. 
  • A town is thinking of taxing students. 
  • Guns may be controversial, but a rally in favor of gun rights draws “hundreds.”
  • Immigrants are coming to America just to have “anchor babies”

If you read the Dispatch, the most important issues facing Ohio are abortion rights, guns, taxes, and immigration?  Yes, we care about these issues, and they receive lots of coverage on Plunderbund, but . . . geesh.  That sounds more like a 2012 Republican Presidential debate than the real issues facing Ohio in 2013.

There is no mention of the biggest issues facing Ohio:  manufacturing jobs, income inequality, global warming, transparency and corruption in government, and the environmental risk posed by fracking.

Marge Simpson once famously said, “You know, Fox turned into a hard-core pornography channel so slowly, I barely even noticed.”  One of the things we will be watching in the run-up to the 2016 elections here in Ohio is how the legacy media will use editorial choices to shape perceptions and set the agenda.  Will we wake up after the 2016 election and wonder how it happened that the Dispatch has more in common with Drudge than a real newspaper?

The comments are open.  What issues would YOU like to see the media cover in the next two years.

  • I’d like to see the media cover media consolidation! Oh wait…

  • Guest

    I live in Ohio and frankly, I am sick & tired of the political games & the waste of time spent trying to find ways to get inside my uterus, or spend millions to catch the precious few illegals who are actually working, or God forbid – ding college students after the for profit colleges have been given full access to federal funds. It’s high time state media did hard hitting stories demanding leadership from this cast of fools they endorsed for office while they still have the ability to print all the news that’s fit to print.

  • DublinIrishBob

    I believe that The Dispatch does this to hold on to their dwindling subscriber base. Whenever they run stuff like this, the comment section goes wild, mostly from their conservative readers. They allow name calling (lib-tard) and permit people to state things that have no basis in fact. You are right about them setting an agenda for 2016, but the people they are writing for are diminishing. The majority of voters in Central Ohio don’t bother much with The Dispatch.


    Is this a liberal blog maintaining the façade of honest news coverage?

  • Jack Lee

    How much can you put on one page? Agenda setting my ass!

  • I cannot explain it to you. It’s a progressive riddle, wrapped in a gun owning mystery, inside a fact-based reporting enigma.

  • Ravel

    “The Drudge Report and Fox News are famous for their partisan slant”. OK content analysis from perfectly sober institutions like the Columbia School of Journalism show an equally leftist slant on MSNBC and CNN. CNN ran 24 hours of a headline on a accidental shooting at a gun show in which a few people were injured at, complete with picture of someone on a stretcher who it turns out had graze wounds and was released form the hospital within an hour, ABOVE and dwarfing the situation in Algeria for a full 36 hours this weekend. The injuries were less than from rides at a typical state fair on a weekend.

    And democrats are seriously divided on gun control. Recent studies show it, up to them minute polls show it, and submitted legislation drafts show it. And a civil rights rally in the local area in support of second amendment may have drawn hundreds in the Times area, but they were part of a nationwide series of rallies drawing tens of thousands.

    On pro life, I personally am pro-choice but exactly what is wrong with noting the recent polling showing that Americans identifying as pro life is has gone from 32% 15 years ago to 50% today (with those identifying as pro choice now down to 41%. Gallup, which is certainly middle of the road issued a press release on this a couple of days ago given that the last few months saw the sharpest increase ever since the election (a 5% increase in pro life). The Times is agenda setting for noting findings polling companies find starting but MSNBC is not when they spiked the story?

  • Ohio news media should regularly cover the influence that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has on GOP lawmakers and the legislation they promote.

  • mrgavel

    And yet, if I remember right, Barack Obama carried Franklin County in both 2008 and 2012, which, given the philosophical bent of the Dispatch’s editorial staff, must drive them insane!!

  • Plunderbund: You’re an idiot, hiding behind an anonymous identity as you try to ride the coat tails of others.

    The Drudge Report generally just links to stories from other sources. How is it a “partisan slant” if Matt Drudge links to a story on Yahoo! News, Google News, Agence France Presse, etc.? Does your hate mongering blind you to even this most basic truth? Or does your odd love affair with — and peculiar need for a sugar daddy from — the worst president in the USA’s history just make you delusional? Maybe the only benefit of BHO’s takeover of the healthcare industry is that the pharmaceutical companies might actually start researching drugs to cure this strange “Obamalove” syndrome.

  • dmoore2222

    Are you referring to George W. Bush?

  • Mitchell

    Name one time you (the writer) has bad mouthed anything your Lord and fucking savior has said or done? Obama is literally god in your eyes and the rest of the media. If I say anything against him I’m either a racist, ignorant, uneducated, or a religious nut-job. Well I’m done being a conservative. My name is Mitchell Wolstein, proud registered gun owner and small-government enthusiast. I’d love to hear why I’m wrong because I’m white, not poor, and educated. Let’s talk about the partisan-censorship on the fact Obama has flip-flopped on EVERYTHING he’s stood for in the past, or should we talk about the lack of gun enthusiasm in the media, or how about neither Obama nor Hiliary have been even slapped on the wrist for the Benghazi cover-up? I’d love to hear your thoughts of ANY of those? The answer is of course, “No, I’m going to ignore everything he’s saying because I’m better than you”.

  • Anon0

    Why don’t you do reports like this on CNN or msnbc? Isn’t fox just a equalizer to the two of them?

  • I completely agree with everything in this reply except the word credible should have been in quote when describing the media.

  • dave

    Quit your bitching and get your news from a variety of sources … not just what you want to hear. Then you might have something worthwhile to say …

  • Yes, because Drudge only aggregates news and makes no commentary. SMH

  • No. Actually MSNBC’s current coverage is in direct response to Fox. CNN is just trying to remain relevant in a world dominated by agenda media.

  • Easy there tiger…

  • quitcherbitchin has long been my favorite retort. nice usage.

  • Again, MSNBC and their slant was in direct response to Fox News. You are correct on guns and dems. If you’ve read this site for any amount of time you’ll note even we are divided. The issue, however, isn’t just “guns”, it’s our approach to them. I think you’ll find a bigger divide on this more nuanced question.

    The author’s point remains.

  • Anon0

    When they practally gargle balls of the left I consider that bias to the left. Honestly I don’t watch either of the channels but I read about their positions and responses in relation to what has happened or said. Then I draw the conclusion of who is on what side. It seems fox talks more abou the truth than “Gettysburg” type speaches.

  • One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

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