Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Is the Media That Powerful and That Leftist-Biased?

Someone wrote a comment on a previous post, which I rejected but shouldn't have. It basically asked, "If the mainstream (liberal) media is so powerful, how did John Kerry and Al Gore not get elected?"

The reason is that since the 2004 Bush win, the media has increasingly decided that it will allow itself to be as biased as necessary to get results it wants.

You protest, "But there is no one media." In fact, there is. Most people enter the field of journalism because they "want to make a difference" (as defined in liberals' terms), but in journalism school were taught that they need to hide their biases. However, at recent journalist conventions, online discussion groups, and even in bellwether journalism schools such as U.C. Berkeley, journalists are increasingly told they can be biased, invoking flimsy (to me, frightening) rationales such as "bias is inevitable so stop trying to hide it" or "Liberal views are the righteous ones, so it's ethical to express your biases."

Thus, ever more journalists feel justified in doing what they originally wanted to do: Instead of reporting all sides of an issue fairly, to manipulate the public into believing what they believe. So now, with people like Keith Obermann on MSNBC and most commentators and writers in the New York Times and CNN leading the way, the media's coverage of the 2008 presidential election has been and will ever more be Leftist propaganda.

As a member of the media, I get to hear it all--my colleagues privately brag about the 1,000 subtle ways they attempt to manipulate so subtly as to be undetectable by an unsuspecting public. For example, whenever a Republican makes an assertion, the media describes it as "an attack," "a salvo," etc. Yet if a Democrat makes an assertion, it's "an idea," a 'response," etc.

So, yes, I am convinced that the mainstream media indeed has a huge Leftist bias and will do what it takes to manipulate the public into believing, for example, that a liberal should be president, illegals should be given amnesty, national health care should be enacted no matter what toll it takes on now-insured people, and even more resources should be redistributed to women and minorities, without regard to merit.


Anonymous said...

I worked as a reporter in small market broadcast journalism for 6 years. During that time, we were told repeatedly to report both sides. (And sometimes more if time permitted.) In addition, I attended college in the conservative Midwest where our professors stessed the same theme. Sometimes you have to leave the coasts and the big leagues to get a more balanced view of a profession. However, working for the federal government is a different story. (Pardon the pun!) We are only allowed to give the government's viewpoint, and we dare not dissent!

Marty Nemko said...

Dear Anonymous,

The problem is that the major national and regional media have the greatest influence on public opinion and, in turn, public policy. The result is that the public is brainwashed to believe that all wisdom resides left of center. There are important truths on both sides of midline.

Anonymous said...

I think you have lived the Bay area too long! The middle of the country is smarter than you think. Fox News is the most popular news outlet here in the heartland.

Marty Nemko said...

Fox News, which actually is more balanced than right-wing, controls only a tiny sliver of the mindshare of America's influencers. It is dwarfed by the overwhelmingly liberal-biased New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, Harper's, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Slate, Salon, etc.

Dave said...

And most people prefer CBS, ABC and NBC for the additional local/regional news coverage, which the Fox News Channel cannot provide. So, most people remain loyal to those networks.

Anonymous said...

"Liberal views are the righteous ones, so it's ethical to express your biases." Are you kidding me? What the hell happened to just getting the story? That's what the average reader or viewer expects, not John Q. Reporter's liberal or conservative slant.

One might think today's media had turned into a cult, with journalism school as its breeding ground. And it's trying to turn us all into true believers.

The media is about as trusted by the public as the congress. That's not a compliment. And yet, just like the congress, we are highly dependent on the media and can probably do little or nothing to change it. As the media gains power, it loses credibility.

If you had an personal opinion to express as a journalist, there used to be one place for that: the editorial page. The opinions expressed were not necessarily those of the media outlet. Those days are long gone and not likely to return.

Were I a more cynical person, I'd point out the correlation between an increasingly flagrantly liberal media and decreasing print media sales. But there's probably no connection.

If a new college student wants to make a difference and be fair and impartial, the last thing they want to do is be a modern-day journalist. That student might be better off taking some basic courses in writing and logic and steering clear of journalism.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the comment that inspired your post. I can't say that I agree the media will make Obama's election inevitable, but thank you for your response.

At the risk of thread-jacking, I would like to ask about an issue you touched on here: health insurance. You often talk up self-employment, and I've considered it myself, but the requirement to buy one's own health insurance is an enormous disincentive to me, and, I suspect, many others. I've even heard individual health coverage referred to as an "ambition tax." Certainly there's no way for me to maintain decent self-coverage on any income I could realistically expect, and I have too many assets to go without.

I guess one's view of national health care depends on one's own situation. Those who have decent coverage won't take kindly to the government forcing them to shell out for something they already have. OTOH, for a low-wage retail worker or a budding entrepreneur, such coverage could be a godsend. I'm not sure what I think...I don't like higher taxes any more than the next guy, but I'd love to have the freedom to pursue a few dreams.

Right now there are many more people who have good coverage than don't, and when it comes to financial and political influence, the "haves" crush the "have-nots." I think that even if Obama is elected, national health care will be a political Mount Everest. Just ask Hillary!

Marty Nemko said...

I am an advocate of basic health care for all, as a basic right, with payment based on adjusted gross income. That would cover exams and all necessary procedures including major surgery, but not a nursing home. That base level would not provide choice of caregiver, nurses and nurse practitioners would provide most care, no elective procedures, no experimental procedures, and probably long wait times.

Beyond that base-level care, in fairness to the taxpayers, health care costs should be the individual's responsibility--whether via insurance or fee-for-service. To control cost, I'd reduce the amount of training required to be a physiclan, nurse, etc, and would institute tort reform. The latter would result both in much decreased malpractice premiums but, more significant, decreased defensive medicine and the concomitant not-cost-effective testing and procedures.

Anonymous said...

Here's an example of how powerful the media can be:


Headline: "The White Stuff: A new NEWSWEEK Poll underscores Obama's racial challenge".

The actual poll is here:


The poll measures the "Racial Resentment Index." Yours is high if you rate at 5 or above. Another way to inject the idea that any disagreement with Obama and votes against him can be construed as racist.

I would have liked to see how the so-called resentment broke down by race. Is it no surprise that this was not measured?


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