PoliticusUSA has covered this subject in this space before. But never in the depth you’re about to witness. The “Liberal Media”, is a tiresome and wholly inaccurate screed that is the centerpiece of right-wing propaganda.
Of course the fact that Beyonce’ lip-synching the Star Spangled Banner was the preferred and obsessive media takeaway from Barack Obamas’ splendid inauguration speech is ironclad proof of a “Liberal Media.” Not to mention the virtual absence of editorial support from any major media for the President’s thoughtful gun initiatives
And we mustn’t forget UCLA political science professor Tim Groseclose’ book “Left Turn”. Groseclose claims that “all” mainstream news outlets have a liberal bias in their reporting as proved by quoting a report in which so-called mainstream reporters headquartered in Washington declared that they voted for the Democratic presidential candidate 93 percent of the time compared to 7 percent Republican, while the nation was split about 50-50. As a result, Croseclose concludes that most reporters write with a liberal filter.
Not so fast, prof. The numbers are from the 1996 Media Studies Center and Roper Report. It’s a small point, but the actual higher number was 89%, not 93%. The percentage differential reflected third-party candidate Ross Perot. The report was based on 139 responses out of a mailing of 323 questionnaires to D.C. Bureau Chiefs and Congressional Correspondents. When you consider the report was based on the 1992 election it’s actually 20 plus years old.
And further studies demonstrated that regardless of political leanings back then, content analyses showed that in 2 of the 3 Presidential races of the period (’88, ’92 and ’96) there were no discernible differences in coverage for Democrats and Republicans. The only exception was a Clinton race when he was painted favorably 54% of the time. Pew research had a rather interesting last minute contradictory finding in a 1992 poll response. This response was where 39% of the voters indicated they had heard the most about Ross Perot in the last week of the campaign as compared to 26% who named Clinton and 22%, the elder Bush.
Another fascinating finding, a 1996 American Society of Newspaper Editors found that all the presidential votes aside, editorial writers were more likely to be conservative or independent than staffers. So, those who could mold opinion were in fact, not liberals.
My challenge is to fast-forward 20 years and prove that,indeed, there is a media bias but it’s weighted heavily, yea, overwhelmingly, in favor of the right. And it has nothing to do with the vote. Nowhere in my research was I able to find any writings or verbiage from the 139 media types back in the day that indicated their alleged biases were reflected in their work in the same percentage as their votes. In other words, unlike the irrefutable proof I’m about to present, there is nothing to back up the professor’s assertions.
An obvious starting point indicative of massive political bias on the part of the media is talk radio. This medium is well over 90% right-wing, or more accurately, extremely right-wing. The 2010 (the year of the GOP massive increases in the House) Pew Research Center’s “State of the News Media” identified the top 14 radio talkers in the nation. None were liberal. NONE! There were 10 arch right-wingers along with a finance guy, a libertarian and 2 independents (mostly general topics with actor and athlete guests). Cumulatively, the top five hosts reached a weekly total (with some duplication) of 56 million listeners.
As I’ve written before, reprising the Fairness Doctrine should have been an imperative for the President. It wasn’t. In the words of his press secretary in June of 2008; “Senator Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters”. Barring an unanticipated House turnaround, Republicans have a stranglehold on virtually all of his initiatives and a Fairness Doctrine in useless tatters is one of key reasons for our current legislative gridlock.
On TV, Fox News is extraordinarily right-wing to the point of providing a stage to further the fortunes of Republican Presidential candidates by hiring them as commentators.
Lies and misrepresentations are the coin of the media realm on Fox. Just as Sarah Palin is probably not fully forthcoming when saying it was her decision to leave her $1 million yearly stipend at the Network. Whoever turned the knob, she might benefit from leaving what appears to be a sinking ship. Ratings have plummeted over the last few years with the nosedive especially impacting the vital 25-54 year old demographic. The prime benefactor? MSNBC.
MSNBC is almost as left-wing as Fox is right, only they don’t have to repeatedly lie and distort to objectively present the issues and they broadcast conservative fare as well. Current TV, just sold to Al Jazeera English, also leans heavily to the left and has never denied it. How about giving Palin a go with the newbie for a little fairness and balance?
So let us examine a real averment of bias, compliments of a citizen investigative reporter who dug into a local newspaper’s agenda and provided more highly credible and applicable bias conclusions that all the other studies I’ve sited put together. My friend, whom I shall not identify, spend 17 months from April 1, 2011 to August 21, 2012 tracking the number of times conservative and liberal nationally syndicated columnists appeared in the local paper. The totals are impossible to refute. The conclusion is impossible to justify as objective journalism.
Here are the numbers as compiled and I will quote them exactly. As for conservative columnists; Cal Thomas was featured 106 times, George Will 73, David Brooks 72, Charles Krauthammer 53, Richard Lowry 42, Ross Douthat 41, Kathleen Parker 32, Michelle Malkin 29 (an insult to those who seek factual accuracy), Walter Williams 25, Paul Greenberg 18 and Mona Charen 14.
Liberal columnists who somehow found their way onto the right-wing Editorial page of the paper were; Thomas Friedman 65, Nicholas Kristof 47, the redoubtable Maureen Dowd 26, the closest pen we have to Molly Ivins; that’s a huge compliment. Molly will have been gone six years come January 31st. I do miss her musings. Other liberals given occasional space were Paul Krugman, another great, 24 and Clarence Page 15. Simple addition reveals the total number of conservative columnists given guest spots to be 505. For the liberals that number was 177 or 74% vs. 26 percent. That’s three-fourths for right-wingers; one-fourth for liberal/progressives. How embarrassing and anti-American.
Most egregious was the tally based on Obama cartoons. Pro-Obama 3; Anti-Obama 90. There’s also an ongoing “Other Voices” feature that reproduces invariably right-wing editorials from a handful of other reliably conservative newspapers from around the country.
The local paper is owed by Halifax Media Group. Its two big dogs are both hard-core Republicans. The major investor is a big supporter of Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. Halifax purchased 16 New York Times properties (mostly Southern-based) in January of 2012 and announced the acquisition of another 10 papers (in North Carolina and Florida) from Freedom Communications in June of last year.
There’s your “Liberal Media.”
Raised rural & small town, then lived in N.Y., Chicago & LA. Widely traveled. Returned from world wandering to pursue media life of anchorman/reporter and major, medium and small market talk radio. Highly active in politics. Once worked as orderly & security in Mens Lock Ward for the Criminally Insane at a state institution. Much more rational population than current Teapublicans. Great concern for country run by and for the extreme wealthy. The inhumane current running through this country has no precedent in modern history.
Follow me on Twitter @demwriter
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