I find the Drudge Report to be a useful site for breaking news stories, but I find myself getting irritated over Matt Drduge's tendency to issue misleading headlines. Today I clicked on the site to find the following headline screaming at me:
THE GREAT DIVIDE: REPORTERS GIVE DEMS MONEY OVER REPUBLICANS 9 TO 1!
Ah, I thought: is the this smoking gun that points out the supposed liberal bias in the media? I clicked to learn more, curiosity piqued.
The hyperlink led to this story by MSNBC's Bill Dedman, an investigative piece that found 144 people linked with the media who donated to political campaigns, PACS, or political parties between 2004 and 2008.
And yes - the ratio of this pool of contributors is indeed 9 to 1.
Yet given the tens of thousands of people who work in American media, the sample size is quite small, while those on the list of journalists with political contributions worked in a wide variety of positions, including graphic artists, film critics, fashion editors, and sports copy editors.
Thus Drudge hooked me again, giving me a deliberately sneaky headline to an article that - while interesting - hardly proves anything, except that the vast majority of journalists avoid donating to political causes, and that the headlines on the Drudge Report should never be taken at face value.