Objective. This study is an effort to produce a more systematic, empirically-based, historical-comparative understanding of media bias than generally is found in previous works.

Methods. The research employs a quantitative measure of ideological bias in a formal content analysis of the United States' two largest circulation news magazines, Time and Newsweek. Findings are compared with the results of an identical examination of two of the nation's leading partisan journals, the conservative National Review and the liberal Progressive.

Results. Bias scores reveal stark differences between the mainstream and the partisan news magazines' coverage of four issue areas: crime, the environment, gender, and poverty.

Conclusion. Data provide little support for those claiming significant media bias in either ideological direction.