EDITORIALS AS A MEASURE OF IDEOLOGY: ADA RATINGS ON DOMESTIC POLICY AND EDITORIAL POSITIONING
by Carl Grafton and Anne Permaloff
Department of Political Science and Public Administration Auburn University Montgomery PO Box 244023 Montgomery, AL 36124-4023 334 244-3698 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Paper Prepared for Presentation at the 2004 Meetings of the Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA, January 8-10, 2004.
Abstract Domestic policy editorial positions of the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and National Review are examined in relation to the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) policies commonly used to rate members of Congress. The editorials of the four publications in the years 1962-1998 not only correlate highly to ADA positions but represent a fuller set of public policy positions taken by both the liberal and conservative sides.
EDITORIALS AS A MEASURE OF IDEOLOGY: ADA RATINGS ON DOMESTIC POLICY AND EDITORIAL POSITIONING We are engaged in the behavioral study of the relationships between political ideology and public policy formulation, focusing on why ideological change occurs, how ideology and ideological change affect public policy, and the dynamic relationships between ideologies in the context of policy formulation. So far, we have examined public policy for business and economics (Grafton and Permaloff, 2001), domestic public policy formulation for areas other than business and economics (Permaloff and Grafton, 2003), and the application of signed digraphs to the study of ideology and public policy (Grafton and Permaloff, in press a). A major part of this work used newspaper and journal of opinion editorials as a way to measure ideology. Editorials include all policy areas on or near the public agenda and a wide range of issues. The eccentricities of individual authors are constrained by the institutional nature of publishing organizations. Temporary foibles can be restricted further by using more than one publication to
gauge a particular ideology (Lasswell, Lerner and Pool, 1952, p. 17). Like the vast majority of students of ideology and/or public policy in the US context we focus exclusively on liberals and conservatives. We conceive of liberals as the national political community whose thinking can be gauged by the editorials of the New York Times and Washington Post. Conservatives are the national political community whose thinking can be gauged by the editorials of National Review magazine and the Wall Street Journal. We assume that the editors of these publications will usually not reside on the leading edge of ideological development. Those on the leading edge will tend to be a diverse array of ideological theorists (who pay relatively little attention to public policy) and policy specialists (who are sometimes difficult to pinpoint ideologically). Although we have successfully used the editorials of these publications as barometers of main stream liberalism and conservatism, our approach has not met with universal approval. Few doubt that National Review and the Wall Street Journal are valid indicators of conservatism, but some question whether the Times and Post are consistently liberal. This paper is a response to these critiques. Defining Ideology Definitions and characterizations of ideology often aim to discredit ideology. For example, Russell Kirk (1993), a conservative, described ideology as "a dogmatic political theory which is an endeavor to substitute secular goals and doctrines for religious goals and doctrines; and which promises to overthrow present dominations so that the oppressed may be liberated.” (p. 5). He and many others of the right, center, and left along with some who claim to be above ideology come close to defining ideologies as the belief systems of rigid fanatics (McCarthy, 1996, pp. 7, 30). Following Parsons, we define a political ideology as an action-oriented model
of people and society (Parsons, 1951, p. 349; Johnston, 1996, p. 13; Van Dijk, 1998, p. 8). This definition is neutral and assumes neither virtues nor defects in ideology. Previous Tests of Editorials as Ideological Indicators In one article we tested the ideological bona fides of these four publications by comparing one element of their editorial policy to Mark A. Zupan’s (1992) translation of the ADA ratings of members of Congress into synthetic ADA support ratings for the presidents from Harry Truman through George Bush and using Zupan’s methodology we extended his synthetic ADA ratings through 1998 and linked them to our editorials (Grafton and Permaloff, 2001 and in press b).1 Our core database is a random sample of 1,377 days of the newspapers and 326 issues for the biweekly National Review for the years 1961-1998 for a total of 13,827 editorials. For those editorials that took a direct position for or against a presidential policy, we calculated yearly presidential support scores by dividing the number of each publication’s editorials supporting a stated presidential position by the total number of that publication’s editorials taking a stand on a presidential position. The squared multiple Rs between Zupan’s and the authors’ synthetic ADA scores and the presidential support scores for these publications in the years 1961-1998 are: New York Times .56; Washington Post .42; the Wall Street Journal .77; and National Review .63. All are statistically significant beyond .001. Needless to say, the relationships between the synthetic ADA scores and the presidential support scores of the last two publications were negative. We also used time series plots to establish the legitimacy of using these editorials with similar results. These tests satisfied some but not all readers. The linkages between the ADA’s approval of presidential policies and the publications’ approval of presidential policies are not perfectly tight: only a fraction of ADA positions and editorial positions can be related to presidential
positions; and the presidential positions that can be related to ADA positions are a somewhat different set than can be related to editorials. The Present Analysis The material presented here tightens the connection between editorials and ADA positions on domestic matters by removing the presidential support link. We compiled all ADA positions not relating to foreign or defense policy in even numbered years from 1962-1998. If there were two ADA positions on duplicate House and Senate votes we dropped one. The number of ADA positions per year included in our study is displayed in Table 1.
Table 1. Number of ADA Positions on Domestic Policy by Year Year 1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 Total ADA 12 25 22 19 28 17 21 20 22 21 Year 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 Total Total ADA 24 23 22 23 22 20 25 31 28 425
We related editorial positions in our samples to the ADA positions with the simple coding: agree with ADA (+1); disagree (-1); or no editorial position equating to an ADA position (0). For example, in 1962 we recorded 12 non duplicate ADA positions not relating to foreign or defense policy, four New York Times positions that agreed with ADA positions, zero Times positions inconsistent with ADA positions, and eight ADA positions for which there were no Times counterparts. We calculated the percentage of a publication’s positions that agreed with the ADA out of the total where there was a publication position. Figure 1 presents these percentages for each of
the publications. The mean percentages for the years 1962-1998 are: New York Times 97.2; Washington Post 92.0; Wall Street Journal 6.3; and National Review 2.5. The liberal and conservative publications could scarcely be farther apart. Figure 1. Editorial-ADA Position Agreement (Percentages)
100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998
One reason for using two publications for each ideological perspective was to catch positions when one publication failed to take one. Figure 2 shows the relationship percentage of agreement with ADA positions and those of either or both liberal publications and conservative publications. For the liberal publications combining the situations when one or both papers took a stand substantially reduces the number of ADA positions for which there were no publication counterparts from 238 and 220 for the Times and Post separately to 165 for both together. The percentage of positions that agree with the ADA continues to show overwhelming support for the ADA except in 1986 when the liberal score was an unusually low 78.6 percent. The mean was 93.7 per cent compared to the two newspapers’ separate means of 97.2 per cent and 92.0 percent. Combining the Wall Street Journal and National Review also reduces the number of ADA
positions for which there were no publication counterparts from 187 and 173 to 115. Combining Journal and National Review scores also made no substantial change; the mean was 3.5 per cent compared to the two publications’ separate means of 6.3 percent and 2.5 percent. Figure 2. Percent Agreement with ADA Positions When One or Both Papers Take A Stand
100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
19 62 19 64 19 66 19 68 19 70 19 72 19 74 19 76 19 78 19 80 19 82 19 84 19 86 19 88 19 90 19 92 19 94 19 96 19 98
NYTimes & Wash.Post
WallStJournal & Nat.Review
Figure 3 summarizes the same analysis from a different perspective. The percentage of agreement between the Post and Times and ADA positions when either or both papers take a stand is contrasted to the percentage of disagreement between the ADA positions and the Journal and National Review when one or both publications take a stand. With only two exceptions (1986 for the Times/Post Agreement score and 1972 for the Journal/National Review disagreement score), the agreement or disagreement scores remain above 80 percent. The two instances of lower scores still remain above the 70 percent level.
Figure 3. Contrasting Support and Opposition to ADA Positions (Percentages) 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
19 62 19 64 19 66 19 68 19 70 19 72 19 74 19 76 19 78 19 80 19 82 19 84 19 86 19 88 19 90 19 92 19 94 19 96 19 98
NYTime &/or Wash.Post Agree with ADA WallStJournal &/or Nat.Review Disagree with ADA
Despite the similarity of the liberal publications to one another and the conservative publications to one another and the overwhelming difference between liberal and conservative publications, the number of ADA positions with no editorial counterparts could be a problem especially for those disposed not to believe that the editorial policies of the Post and Times are similar to the ADA’s positions. To fill gaps we searched editorial pages beyond our sample. We began with the Times because of its index, but we soon discovered that subject searches based on ADA descriptions of its positions were not productive. We shifted to the tactic of searching editorial pages on the dates of congressional votes shown by the ADA plus and minus two days. In addition, we took advantage of occasional instances of serendipity when editorials addressed an ADA vote topic on dates not close to a particular vote. Table 2 shows the results of these searches. Again, the Times and Post are strongly supportive of ADA positions and the Wall Street Journal and National Review are not.
Table 2. Editorial Agreement/Disagreement with ADA Positions Combining New York Times/ Washington Post and Wall Street Journal/National Review (Original Sample and Added Data)
New York Times and/or Washington Post Total Year ADA 1962 12 1964 25 1966 22 1968 19 1970 28 1972 17 1974 21 1976 20 1978 22 1980 21 1982 24 1984 23 1986 22 1988 23 1990 22 1992 20 1994 25 1996 31 1998 28 Total
Wall Street Journal and/or National Review Agree with ADA 2 1 0 0 4 1 1 1 0 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 Disagree with ADA 7 17 17 13 11 15 15 14 16 15 15 20 18 18 18 16 17 25 24 WSJ & NR Disagree 0 4 2 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 2 1 1 1 0 % Agreement a with ADA 22.2 4.5 0.0 0.0 23.5 6.3 6.3 6.7 0.0 11.8 5.6 4.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 10.0 0.0 0.0 5.3
Agree with ADA 10 21 18 16 18 14 13 13 14 11 17 15 13 16 18 11 13 22 16
Disagree with ADA 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 2 2 1 3 1 3 2 1 3 2
NYT & WP Disagree 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 1
% Agreement a with ADA 83.3 100.0 94.7 100.0 94.7 100.0 100.0 92.9 77.8 84.6 89.5 93.8 76.5 94.1 85.7 73.3 92.9 88.0 84.2
425 289 26 7 89.8 16 311 18 Percent of total where there is an ADA position. The Times and Post took no stand on 103 ADA positions. The Journal and National Review took no stand on 80 ADA positions.
Table 2 combines editorial positions from the original sample and the searches. The number of ADA positions for which there is no editorial position drops to 103 and 80 for liberal and conservative publications respectively out of the total 425 number of ADA positions. The overall percentage of Times and Post editorials agreeing with the ADA is 89.8 percent where there is no disagreement between the newspapers, and the percentage of Journal and National Review editorials agreeing with the ADA is 5.3 percent. Disagreement between the Times and Post and between the Journal and National Review was small. There were only seven ADA positions (1.6 percent) for which the Post and Times disagreed with each other and 18 ADA positions (5.8 percent) for which the Journal and National Review disagreed with each other.
The Liberal Perspective: ADA, New York Times, and Washington Post In our previous publications we reported that liberal and conservative public policy prescriptions follow two different but loosely related decision rules for business and economics and domestic non business and economics. The area of international and defense policy, not covered in the present study, follows a third set of decision rules. Business and Economic Policy With regard to business and economics we found areas of near permanent liberalconservative dissensus, other areas of consensus, and instances of liberal movement toward conservative positions as well as conservative movement toward liberal positions. When liberals and conservatives disagreed we found a tendency for liberals to favor an expanded federal government involvement in the market economy or to defend existing federal programs in the face of conservative attempts to dismantle them. Thus the data in the previous section would lead us to expect the ADA, Times, and Post to favor an active federal government engagement in the market. It is convenient to divide public policy for business and economics into the following categories: consumer protection; economic policy; the environment, energy, and transportation; health care; labor relations; and tax policy. Table 3 lays out the basic ADA, Times, and Post positions on business and economic policy. Reflecting the macro data in the preceding section, the majority of ADA positions (68 positions or 54.4 percent) found editorial counterparts in the Times and/or the Post, and all but four all these positions could be characterized as liberals favoring increased federal activity in the market or no reduction in that activity.
Table 3. Business and Economics Policy: New York Times and/or Washington Post Agreement/Disagreement with ADA
Policy Area Agree With ADA Position When There Was Agreement All favored increased or no reduction in federal activity in the market. Disagree With ADA Position When There Was Disagreement ADA opposed capping punitive damages in product liability lawsuits; one newspaper disagreed ADA favored increased federal activity in the market. NYT and/or WP Took No Stand ADA Position When NYT & WP Took No Position ADA favored enhanced FCC control over broadcasting & emergency funding for the FTC. In 3 cases ADA favored increasing the minimum wage or breadth of its coverage. NYT & WP were generally positive. In 2 cases the NYT & WP positions were unclear. ADA favored increased federal power; consistent with basic NYT & WP positions (e.g., favoring designation of land as wilderness area, tighter emission standards). ADA favored making it easier for black lung claimants to obtain benefits — consistent with basic positions of both newspapers. ADA favored union position. Likely newspapers would take ADA side than not (e.g., ADA's opposed weakening coal mine safety enforcement). ADA favored increased or no reduction in federal taxes. Had the newspapers opposed ADA, they would have been inconsistent with other positions.
In 10 cases all favored increased or no reduction in federal activity in the market.
Environment Energy, and Transportation
In 16 cases all favored larger federal role or no reduction. In 2 cases all opposed the Super Sonic Transport (SST) and breeder nuclear reactor. In every case all favored increased or no reduction in federal activity in the market.
ADA opposed and the NYT favored nuclear fuel enrichment; disagreement between allies over best way to clean hazardous waste dumping sites.
In every case all favored increased or no reduction in federal activity in the market.
ADA took labor union position; one or both newspaper did not.
In every case all favored increased federal taxes or no reduction in federal taxes.
ADA favored increased federal taxes or no reduction in federal taxes. One or both newspapers disagreed.
Thirteen (10.4 percent) ADA positions saw disagreement from one or both newspapers. Generally, the ADA opposed capping punitive damages in product liability lawsuits, the ADA was more favorably inclined to labor unions, and the ADA favored tax increases or opposed tax reductions. In these cases of disagreement the newspapers had a more conservative stance. The 44 (35.2 percent) ADA positions on business and economic policy for which we could locate no newspaper editorials are each described in Table 4. Many of the ADA positions in Table 4 concern a single feature of a bill. Editorials often discuss the general principles of a bill or amendment without delving into the details addressed by many of the ADA positions in Table 4. For example, with regard to the ADA positions on economic policy, position S3 calls for minimum wage coverage for any domestic worker who earns more than $50 per employer per quarter. Throughout the time period of the study both the Times and Post nearly always favored an increase in the minimum wage level or a widening of coverage, but neither addressed this particular provision in any editorial that we could locate. The same problem arises regarding the next two economic policy items in Table 4 (H1 and H3). The last item in the economic policy category (S19) calls for an increase in the minimum wage. Again, both newspapers usually favored an increase in the minimum wage, but we could not locate an editorial that addressed this particular proposal at this specific time.
Table 4 ADA Positions on Business and Economic Policy for Which No New York Times or Washington Post Editorials Could Be Located
Policy Area Consumer Protection Year ADA Code ADA Position Favors FCC setting standards governing length/frequency of TV & radio ads. Opposes extending broadcast licenses from present 3 yrs to 5 yrs. Favors temporary emergency funding for Federal Trade Commission. Favors reducing interest rates. Favors minimum wage coverage to domestic workers earning >$50 per employer per quarter. Favors continued price control of natural gas sold by large producers (100B cubic feet or more). Opposes amendment to allow US agri-business to import temporary foreign workers. Favors increasing minimum wage. Favors requiring final auto emission standards to take effect in 1981 & tighter interim standards. Favors requiring worker notification of toxic substance exposure risk. Favors Sikorski amendment to require 8 year/80,000 mile warranties for catalytic converters. Favors designating about 7.5M acres of California desert as wilderness & establishing Death Valley & Joshua Tree parks, etc. Favors designating 1.6M acres in Montana as wilderness, etc. Opposes establishing Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site. Favors Kennedy amendment to cut $42M to Forest Service for logging road construction. Favors Lautenberg motion to waive Budget Act, establish reserve fund for environment & natural resources. Favors bill to make it easier for black lung claimants to obtain benefits. Opposes right to work laws Opposes amendment exempting firms of <=25 persons from OSHA Act of 1970 Opposes amend to Labor-HEW Appropriations bill to prohibit salaries of OSHA inspectors for firms with <=25 employees. Opposes Helms amendment to ban food stamps to strikers. Opposes prohibiting 1st instance citations for OSHA violations against businesses employing <10 Opposes move to exempt from OSHA small businesses that employ <=10 & in category where injury rate is <7/100. Seeks to kill exemption of certain small businesses from OSHA inspections. For confirmation of William A. Lubbers as General Counsel of the NLRB. Opposes Helms amendment barring use of union dues for political messages to union’s members Opposes transferring mine safety from OSHA to lenient Mine Safety & Health Administration. Favors killing Helms amendment to Federal Election Campaign Act to bar use of compulsory union dues for political purposes. Favors Roybal amendment to delete employer sanction provisions & substitute new funding/requirements for enforcement of existing labor laws on wages, etc. Favors bill that would limit circumstances under which union contracts can be rejected by companies that file for bankruptcy.
1964 H4 1974 H4 1980 H3 1970 H1 1974 S3
1976 H1 1996 H3 1998 S19 1976 H13 1988 S4 1990 H5
Environment, Energy, and Transportation
1994 S15 1994 H12 1996 S16 1996 H15 1998 S4
Health Care Labor Relations
1994 H14 1966 S1 1972 H10 1974 H9 1974 S10 1976 H9 1978 S4 1980 S10 1980 S3 1982 S14 1982 H2 1984 S8 1984 H5 1984 H1
1986 H3 1988 S9 1990 S9 1992 S8 1998 S1 1998 S17 1964 S2 1964 S6 1970 S1 Tax Policy 1974 S1 1976 S8 1978 S11 1984 S4 1994 S18
Favors barring construction companies from circumventing labor laws to hire non union workers. Opposes Quayle amendment to exempt employers from 60 days notice of plant closing if workers are provided with severance. Opposes Hatch amendment to allow union members to request refund for any dues spent on political activities. Favors allowing employers to permanently replace strikers if employers agree to accept 3rd party mediation & workers do not. Opposes bill requiring labor unions or corporations to obtain voluntary authorization from members before using membership dues to fund political activities. Opposes bill that would permit employers to refuse to hire or to fire individuals who seek employ with primary intent of organizing workers into a union. Opposes retention of 4% dividend credit that allows deduction of 4% of dividend income over $300. Favors deleting law providing that income received from stock option plans go untaxed. Favors making the tax base on inherited property the same for the inheritor as it was for decedent. Favors Kennedy amendment reducing income tax exemptions of capital gains & other investment receipts. Opposes motion to kill amendment to reinstate limits on artificial loses except real estate. Favors Church amend to phase out law allowing US controlled corporations to defer taxes on foreign earned income. Favors Metzenbaum amendment to impose a 15% tax on corporate profits > $50,000. Favors higher spending cuts than those proposed by Senate Budget Committee
Although the high degree of specificity of some ADA positions sometimes makes it impossible to relate them to editorials, there are only two reasons why Times or Post might oppose most of the ADA positions in Table 4. One would be that the newspaper’s editorial policy unaccountably became erratic and inconsistent, a phenomenon that we have never observed. A second possibility would be that the newspaper disagreed with the ADA on the appropriate means to accomplish an end on which they agreed; ideological allies sometimes disagree on tactics while still agreeing on strategy. Domestic Non Business and Economic Policy In a recent publication the authors (Grafton and Permaloff, 2003) validated a model of liberalism developed by Janda, Barry, and Goldman (JBG) that held that liberals tend to value
equality over freedom and freedom over order (Janda, Barry, Goldman, 1992). JBG were not saying that liberals do not value freedom or order. It is a matter of emphasis. There are grounds for questioning aspects of this model, but it is adequate for our immediate limited purposes. In Table 5 we divide public policy for domestic matters unrelated to business and economic policy into the following categories: abortion; church-state; civil rights; crime; education; urban; and welfare. We omitted ADA positions concerning the arts, government operations (e.g., the budgetary process), and a miscellaneous category that includes several substantive categories (including appropriations bills that covered several of the above policy categories). Table 5 lays out the basic ADA, Times, and Post positions. The majority of ADA positions (193 positions or 80.1 percent) found editorial counterparts in the Times and/or the Post, and all of these positions could be characterized as favoring increased or no reduction in federal activity defending abortion rights, favoring separation of church and state; defending minority rights, privacy, freedom of expression, voting, etc.; favoring gun control; favoring elimination of the death penalty; favoring public school systems; favoring aid to urban areas; and favoring increased welfare spending. Only ten (4.2 percent) ADA positions had negative editorials from one or both newspapers. These points of ADA-editorial disagreement did not represent significant breaks with the ADA. For example, the ADA and both newspapers favored passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, but the ADA wanted to prevent states from changing their votes from favoring adoption to opposing while both newspapers felt that states should be able to change their votes. Also, the newspapers tended to favor experimentation with school vouchers (which the ADA always opposed and the newspapers usually opposed) where public school systems were
seriously short changing poor students. The newspapers also favored some experimentation with work requirements associated with welfare; the ADA always was opposed.
Table 5. Domestic Policy Other than Business and Economic Policy: New York Times and/or Washington Post Agreement/ Disagreement with ADA Positions
Agree Position When There With Was Policy Area ADA Agreement All favored increased or no reduction in federal power against state government power; defend abortion rights. All favored increased or no reduction in federal power against state government power favoring separation. All favored increased or no reduction in federal power to defend minority rights, privacy, freedom of expression, voting, etc. All favored increased or no reduction in federal power vis-à-vis gun regulations or elimination of death penalty. All favored increased federal funding for public education or opposed vouchers for undermining public education. All favored increased federal funding for urban aid or defense of such aid. All favored increased federal funding for welfare or defense of such aid. Disagree Position When There Was With Disagreement ADA NYT and or ADA Position When WP Took NYT & WP Took No Stand No Stand
ADA anti states rescinding ratification of ERA, for wider application of Davis-Bacon, for rights of workers who have communicable disease.
Either narrow policy details or ADA policies that appear to be consistent with 77 other positions taken by the NYT and WP.
Narrow policy details.
ADA opposed vouchers, but Post in recent years favored in narrowly defined situations of public school breakdown.
Narrow policy details.
Not Applicable NYT and/or WP tended to favor and ADA oppose experimentation with such policies as work requirements.
Narrow policy details.
The 38 (15.8 percent) ADA domestic policy positions for which we could locate no newspaper editorials are each described in Table 6. As with Table 4 many of the ADA positions in Table 6 concern a single small feature of a bill at a level of detail often not generally covered in editorials. The high degree of specificity of many of the ADA positions makes it impossible to relate the positions to the four publications’ editorial policies. Also like Table 4, it is much easier to imagine the Post and Times agreeing with the ADA than disagreeing. For example, the first ADA position in Table 6 concerns the ADA’s advocacy of increased funds to enforce HEW Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Both newspapers strongly supported the civil rights movement and enforcement of all civil rights laws. Even though we could not find an editorial agreeing with this particular point, it is entirely consistent with both newspapers’ editorial policies throughout the time period of the study.
Table 6. ADA Domestic Policy Positions Other than Business and Economics for Which New York Times/ Washington Post Editorials Could Not Be Located
Policy Area Civil Rights ADA Year Code 1966 S17 1970 S15 1970 H2 1964 S13 1966 H1 1970 SS6 1974 S11 1976 S14 1980 S5 1982 S2 ADA Position Supports increased funds to HEW to enforce Title VI of 1964 Civil Right Act (bars federal expenditures for racially discriminatory projects). Favors Mathias amendment to Labor-HEW appropriations bill to modify amendments that would cripple school desegregation. Favors instructing House conferees to accept pro civil rights Senate amendments to the Labor-HEW appropriations bill. Opposes increasing exemption from public accommodations coverage in motels of 5-10 rooms. Favors requiring that before Congress can cite individuals for contempt of Congress, citations must be screened by a committee other than the one requesting the citation. Opposes weakening Equal Employment Opportunities Commission by allowing federal court enforcement rather than through cease and desist orders. Favors strengthening Freedom of Information Act by limiting records compiled for law enforcement purposes that can be withheld from the public. Favors having prevailing party in civil suit brought to bring about compliance with civil rights in use of revenue sharing funds be paid attorney fees. Against funds for Selective Service System. ADA opposes Chafee amendment that people can be convicted of exposing US secret agents if they had "reason to believe" their acts would harm US intelligence, versus "intent" to harm.
1982 H6 1986 S9 1986 S13 1986 H12 1988 H12 1994 S12 1996 S7 1996 H2 1998 S8 1998 H3 1998 H7 1968 S12 Crime 1970 S8 1988 H3 1994 S3 1974 H8 Education 1994 S1 1998 S12 Urban None
Opposes denying federal loans to university students who fail to register for Selective Service Opposes Helms amendment to kill DC law barring insurers from refusing coverage to persons with HIV. Favors requiring seniority protection with airline merger. (Date Approx.) Favors barring discrimination based on citizenship status and setting up new office in Justice Department to investigate bias. Favors creating commission to study whether federal job classification prohibits discrimination based on gender, race, and national origin. Opposes amendment that limits Davis-Bacon to contracts where federal contribution exceeds 25% of cost. Favors Davis-Bacon. Favors Conyers amendment to delete provisions restricting habeas corpus appeals by death row prisoners plus other antiterrorism provisions. Favors Kennedy amendment to prohibit employers from sponsoring foreign workers if they laid off US workers with similar skills in preceding 6 months. Favors Burton amendment to treat Puerto Rico same as states and recognize primary language as English but not preclude use of others. Favors Becerra amendment to permit point of order against provisions which remove or make less stringent legal requirements to protect civil rights. Opposes providing juvenile delinquency funds to states in block grants. Favors creation of Assistant Attorney General for Organized Crime Control. Favors requiring Justice Department to collect hate crimes statistics. Favors shifting money from Strategic Defense Initiative and ABMs to anti-drug activities and deficit reduction. Favors increased appropriations for Comprehensive Employment & Training Act by $300M. Favors Clinton Goals 2000 -- $422M for schools, national education goals, & establish tests. Favors Wellstone amendment to allow states to count up to 2 yrs of post secondary and vocational education toward work requirements for welfare recipients under 1996 welfare law. Favors motion to override Nixon's veto of FY70 Labor-HEW appropriations. Against legislation to prevent children residing in public housing from being counted for aid to federal impacted areas. Against channeling child care funds to state governments instead of local groups Favors an open-ended authorization for FY 1969-72 for food stamps. Favors earmarked public housing contract authority. Favors Javits position deleting provision that requires applicants for unemployment to take a "reasonable" job instead of any "suitable" job. Against McClure amendment to cut food stamp benefits to families with kids eligible for federal subsidized school lunches. Favors Heinz amendment to make $700M available to provide health benefits to long term unemployed. Favors cap on amounts for which Medicare beneficiaries will be financially liable. Opposes Brown motion to limit the cost of welfare reform to $2.8M & to "permit no impediments" to work requirements beyond those in Senate version.
1970 H5 1970 S12 1972 S7 1968 H12 1976 H5 Welfare 1980 S8 1980 S4 1984 S3 1988 H5 1988 H8
Wall Street Journal and National Review Editorials Disagreeing with the ADA A total of 311 out of 425 ADA positions were opposed by the Journal and/or National Review. Only 16 ADA positions were supported by either or both conservative publications and an additional 18 saw Journal-National Review disagreements implying that only one of the publications had supported the ADA position. The conservative publications have lower numbers of ADA positions for which there are no editorial counterparts (80 such ADA positions versus 103 for the Times and Post). The reason quickly becomes apparent upon reading the editorials: greater ideological distance between the ADA and the publication produces clearer ideological differences. For example, ADA position H12 on a House vote that occurred on July 30, 1968 favored a four year open-ended authorization for food stamps. We were unable to locate a Times or Post editorial on this vote although both publications were favorably inclined toward food stamps and every editorial on that topic by either newspaper that addressed funding favored increased spending authority. Nevertheless, we could find no Times or Post editorials that took a position on this specific proposal and it was coded as lacking a corresponding Times or Post editorial. Liberals can agree that food stamps are a useful tool for ameliorating the effects of poverty but disagree on tactics, and it is possible that one or both newspapers would have disagreed with the ADA on this particular point. On the other hand, every Journal and National Review editorial that we located that addressed the subject of food stamps was hostile (emphasizing waste and fraud in the program) and opposed funding increases and often advocated funding reductions whenever the topic of funding was addressed. Although we located no Journal or National Review editorial on this particular vote, the editors of both publications would certainly have opposed an open-ended
multi-year authorization for food stamps. A similar proposal voted on in 1977 produced a sharply negative Journal editorial (“M-1, M-2...M-USDA,” July 26, 1977). Wall Street Journal and National Review Editorials Agreeing with the ADA Either the Journal or National Review agreed with the ADA in only 35 instances. In 19 of the 35 they disagreed with each other. In 12 additional cases only one publication took the pro ADA position while the other took no position that we could locate. In only two cases did both conservative publications agree with the ADA. These two instances both concerned international trade: in 1962 and 1970 the ADA and the conservatives both favored free trade. The ADA has since stopped supporting unfettered free trade, so there is now substantial disagreement between the ADA and both publications even in this area. The policy area most represented in Table 7 is civil rights with the Journal agreeing with the ADA in 10 out of 11 instances and National Review disagreeing in 7 out of 9 cases. This profile fits most of the policy areas in the table with the Journal largely agreeing with the ADA and National Review either disagreeing or taking no position that we could locate. Infrequent readers of the Wall Street Journal might be puzzled by that newspaper’s position with regard to the Balanced Budget Amendment that brought it into agreement with the ADA and disagreement with National Review. Here the numerical data are misleading. The Journal was sympathetic to National Review’s support of the amendment, but the Journal argued that it would not work and that a line item veto would be a more effective tool against wasteful congressional appropriations. The ADA and the Wall Street Journal could be characterized as agreeing with regard to the Balanced Budget Amendment in only a narrow and meaningless sense.
Table 7. Positions on Which Either the Wall Street Journal or National Review Agreed with ADA
Policy Area Abortion Church-state Year ADA Code Opposes ban on abortion Opposes constitutional amendment to allow prayer in public school Opposes constitutional amendment to allow prayer in public school Opposes constitutional amendment to prohibit physical desecration of US flag Favors reporting Civil Rights Bill to floor of Senate Favors invoking cloture on Senate civil rights filibuster Favors allowing federal courts to hear state reapportionment cases Favors allowing federal courts to hear state reapportionment cases Favors one person one vote. Favors strengthening Open Housing Act. Opposes putting Carswell on US Supreme Court. Opposes Post Office intercepting communist propaganda Opposes amendments that would cripple school desegregation Against funds for Selective Service System Opposed to no-knock procedure under Controlled Dangerous Substances Act Favors reducing penalties for marijuana usage Favors amendment to reduce inflation to 3% Favors new tariff cuts Opposes Trade Act: import quotas, oil quota freeze, etc. Opposes creating agency with power to waive state environmental laws Opposes the Super Sonic Transport (SST) Opposes use of funds for the Clinch River breeder reactor Opposes balanced budget amendment Opposes balanced budget amendment Opposes balanced budget amendment Opposes balanced budget amendment Opposes balanced budget amendment Opposes balanced budget amendment Favors expanding disclosure of lobbying Favors smaller appropriations for DC than Clinton Admin. Favors killing rule allowing a single senator to prevent a committee meeting Favors no fault auto insurance Favors a national no fault insurance system Favors no fault auto insurance Favors Family Assistance Act replacing AFDC N Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y ADA Policy Position Agrees with ADA WS J Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N N N N NR N N
1982 S10 1966 S16 1984 S2 1990 S5 1964 S8 1964 S11 1964 S19
1964 H12 1966 S2 1968 S1 1970 S15 1962 S12 1970 S4 1980 S5
1970 S10 1970 S11 1978 S14
1962 H2 1970 HS2 1980 H9
Environment, 1970 HS6 Energy, and Transportation 1982 S12 1982 S8 1986 S1 1990 H8 Government Operations 1992 S9 1994 S2 1996 S8 1994 S14 1994 S17 1964 S1 Protection of Safety Welfare 1972 S13 1974 S8 1976 S4 1970 H10
Publications’ Positions with No ADA Counterparts Earlier we made the point that the number of non duplicate ADA positions per year cannot cover the ideological range spanned by the editorials of the four publications represented here. The brevity of ADA positions--typically one sentence long--supports this assertion. Voting ratings for each year are accompanied by a short essay characterizing that year’s congressional session, and the ADA distributes other materials consistent with the congressional ratings, but even this cannot match the sheer volume of editorial positions of these four publications. As we matched editorials and ADA positions we also noted editorial positions with no ADA counterparts. Here we took into account all ADA positions for all of the years (odd and even) in the 1960-1998 span of our editorial data base. The list (shown in Table 8) contains 81 items covering a substantial range of issues. Based on our extensive reading of ADA positions and the bills to which they apply, we believe that in at least 34 instances the ADA position on these issues could have been extrapolated from previous ADA positions, but in many of these cases an ADA position taken by itself lacked nuance and detail.
Table 8. Topics Not Covered by ADA Positions
Policy Area Abortion Churchstate Civil Rights Description of Topics Not Covered by ADA Makes it a federal crime to transport minors across state lines to evade parental notification or a consent requirements of state New Jersey law on removal of mention of God from state courtroom oaths Opposition by some black groups to whites adopting black children Black Muslims assert Jews, Arabs, Koreans, & Vietnamese doing business in black communities are a “bloodsuckers” Requiring the use of English in governmental documents Free speech on the Internet
a a b a b a
State ban on advertising liquor prices struck down by US Supreme Court based on 1st Amendment Indecent material on cable TV
Ideology among university faculty
Censorship of pornography on any media Court decisions with regard to public figure’s ability to sue news media for slander/libel
Illegal aliens' entitlements to public benefits covered by ADA, but ADA position focuses on just one aspect (Food and Shelter Program) Immigration: balance between opportunity for poor immigrants vs. citizen poor, etc. Authority of federal judge to order state/local tax increases to produce racial balance in schools Constitutional concerns about federal intrusion into stat/local government/people's lives for civil a rights Stopping Haitian refugees on high seas and returning them without hearing Taking race into account re legislative redistricting Term limits on members of Congress
a a a a a
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's approach to crime control Insider trading Crime
Illegitimacy as cause of crime, poverty, and other social problems Keeping powerful computer encryption programs out of the hands of terrorists and criminals Clinton judicial appointees soft on crime Admission of evidence illegally obtained
Details of procedures for police searches Details of procedures that can be used against potential terrorists Agriculture subsidies Distribution of wealth
Market economy recovery in Poland Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 Federal Reserve's responsibility regarding inflation and economic growth Humphrey-Hawkins Act
Labor unions and inflation fueling union demands Wage and price controls Economic growth and what is needed to facilitate it Detailed debates of tax policy
a c a c a
Reform of Glass-Steagall bank laws of the 1930's Credit card interest rate cap The Economy
Need to regulate dishonest foreign banks (e.g., BCCI)
Dollar dropping against mark and yen--debate re government intervention Deregulation of US electrical generation and distribution system Telecom mergers Abolition of FCC
Proposal to allow property owners get disputes with local authorities into federal court faster
Industrial policy--specifically government selecting/supporting industry or technology winners End ICC regulation of transportation Rent control
Antitrust with regard to many specific areas including baseball and Microsoft Use of benefit-cost analysis for evaluation of new regulations International trade barriers
a c a
Subsidies to businesses including agriculture Use of dynamic analysis to evaluate tax reductions The effect of taxes on incentives to work
Value added tax to fund national health care Taxation of free parking given to employees Education Same sex schools
Subsidy of ethanol Global warming
Impact of Endangered Species Act on developers Environment, Trading pollution rights in 1991 Clean Air Act Energy, and Transportation Delaney Act
Vagaries of federal environmental protection law requiring town with no industry to install unneeded water treatment plant
Interstate Highway System repair, possible tolls and other ways to finance Highway funding vs. mass transit. ADA pro mass transit, but no nuance regarding funding to avoid a c high losses Low gasoline prices encouraging imports and hurting environment Rural electrification a.k.a. electrical power subsidies. Political fund raising and conflict of interest
a c a c a
Damage done by federal regulatory activities
Make congressional discharge petitions public Government Operations Congressional investigations as star chambers (ADA has positions over years, but both parties used committees this way) Tort reform Racial gerrymandering Hatch Act Labor Relations Protection of Safety
Use of sampling in U.S. Census
Government intervention in public employee strikes and strikes by critical people such as airline mechanics FDA's slow drug approval process Entitlement caps Public housing vouchers
Medicare: doctors prevented from treating patients on private basis Medicare: means testing
Guaranteed annual income ADA position easily extrapolated. b ADA does not cover court decisions, state legislative acts, etc. c Not covered by ADA with the nuances found in the editorials.
Conclusions The Americans for Democratic Action support ratings are used as the leading standard of liberalism and conservatism in many congressional roll call vote analyses that include ideology. By this standard the New York Times and Washington Post editorials examined in our study are consistently liberal. Congressional roll call vote studies that use ADA indexes regard members of Congress with low ADA scores as conservative as does the ADA itself. By this standard the
Wall Street Journal and National Review magazine editorials studied here are consistently conservative. In the relatively uncommon instances in which the Times and Post disagreed with the ADA regarding business and economic policy the newspapers held more conservative positions. In other areas of domestic public policy where there was disagreement some Times and Post inconsistencies with the ADA concerned an appropriate means to an end while others again placed one or both newspapers slightly to the right of the ADA. In the rare instances in which either conservative publication agreed with the ADA that publication was usually the Wall Street Journal not National Review. In many cases where there were no positions taken by the publications corresponding to ADA positions. These ADA positions were specific to a level of detail that editorial writers tend not to address. Whether to use editorials to measure ideology depends on the uses to which they are to be put. The research documented here shows a relationship between the ADA indexes and editorial positions taken by four major printed media outlets just as other research cited (Grafton and Permaloff, 2001 and in press b) linked Zupan’s presidential support scores measure to both. It also documents placement of the New York Times and Washington Post editorials in the liberal (ADA supported) position and the Wall Street Journal and National Review in the conservative (ADA opposition) position. And, the Times and Post clearly agree with each other ideologically as do the Journal and National Review.
The use of ADA scores as a measure of the ideologies of members of Congress has been
a source of debate. The basic argument as rendered by Jackson and Kingdon (1992: 809) is that ADA scores are based on roll call votes so that including ADA scores in a statistical analysis of roll call votes may be “tapping the same or related dimensions.” This criticism is not entirely warranted because ADA scores are not based on a random sample of congressional votes. The votes, usually numbering 20 per year, are carefully selected by the ADA and make intuitive sense. For example, in 1999 Senators Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer received 95 and 100, respectively (out of a possible perfect score of 100); Trent Lott and Jesse Helms both received zero. Burden, Caldeira, and Groseclose (2000: 250) compare ADA scores with eight other measurements including some that are not based on roll call votes. They conclude that the ADA scores are as valid as any and better than some noting: “roll-call measures tend to pick up confounding forces such as constituency and party, but [we] find that the effects of these factors are overwhelmed by ideology.” Zupan (1992) has linked ADA scores with presidential support scores, and we have extended his scores beyond the years of his original analysis (Grafton and Permaloff, in press b) and have successfully related both to our editorial analyses.
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