Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Worried Musings on Media Bias

From personal experience and from conversations with others, it's clear that if you want to write for major publications, you are wise to conform to The Narrative: "Women good; men bad. Minorities good; men bad---More redistribution needed

Dare you stray from The Narrative, the iron curtain of censorship will likely slam down on your fingers. Here is a recent example of today's McCarthyism from the Left: The author, a Harvard graduate and former Wall Street Journal editor, dared question the value of the Black Studies major. She got fired Monday.

Not only writers believe the media is biased. A The Hill poll of 1,000 likely voters found that 68% consider the news media biased, with more than twice as many respondents believing the bias is leftward. Worse, 57%  believe the news media is somewhat or very unethical while only 39 percent see them as somewhat or very ethical.  In a Gallup poll, only 26% rated journalists' ethics high or very high. 27% rated them as low or very low.

And UCLA, no bastion of conservative thought, conducted a rigorous study that found that the media indeed is clearly leftist-biased.

The media exerts its liberal bias in ways other than censorship, for example, a double-standard. Recall, for instance, how the media destroyed Newt Gingrich by relentlessly reminding us of an old affair and by making exaggerated claims of his pomposity while giving Obama a free pass on his hubristic certitude that massive debt increases and redistributive "justice" is wise.  When George Bush decided  "No New Taxes"was unwise, the media excoriated him as a flip-flopper. Yet when Obama changed from being against gay marriage to for it, the media extolled him.

The media also gives Obama free passes on Big Lies. For example, he forced taxpayers to spend $60 billion to bail out GM, a company that makes inferior cars, and he now claims that has paid off. In fact, GM's stock price has plummeted from 34 before the bailout to 22 as of this writing. The breakeven point is 53.  

A broader example: Obama claims he's bringing the economy back.  Well, see this chart. (Do note that the chart does not provide sources.) Obama bragged relentlessly about millions of shovel-ready jobs that weren't, yet the media has pretty much ignored that inconvenient fiction. Articles calling Obama to account are relegated to little-read conservative websites. For example, this article by a Pulitzer Prize nominee points out that the taxpayer will have spent $1 million for EACH job created by Obama's "stimulus" spending.

The media gave Obama a free pass for saying the U.S. has 57 states while destroying Dan Quayle for misspelling "potato." The media endlessly trumpets Rush Limbaugh's drug problem but when Edward Kennedy admitted to being an alcoholic and womanizer, it was downplayed, now brushed aside as ancient history.

The media exerts its bias in infinite other ways, including the subtle. For example, when George Bush was president, the media so often called him "Bush," whereas they mainly call Obama "The President."  The media has adopted the Left's focus-group-tested self-descriptor "progressive" rather than "liberal." After all, "liberal" implies (correctly) a tendency to overspend, whereas "progressive" has a positive connotation. Who could be against progress? Regressives?

The Left has appropriated the lion's share of society's mind-molding vehicles: the schools, colleges, and media. Fox News and conservative talk radio have but a sliver of society's mindshare, especially among the intelligentsia.  

Not all wisdom resides left of center but, because the media relentlessly swings its censorship scythe, I cannot envision a plausible scenario that would bring the public to question The Narrative.  

And The Narrative so warrants questioning.

Five years after writing this, in Feb. 2017, I created a little video presenting my current views on media bias. HERE is the link.


Chuck said...

FTA: The Left has appropriated the lion's share of society's mind-molding vehicles: the schools, colleges, and the media.
It should be noted that "media" also includes entertainment media. Most movies have a message. Songs, of course, are strong vehicles to express a sentiment. Humor can be devastating (i.e. "I can see Russia from my house"). The dominance of these messages are from the left.

Anonymous said...

"After all, "liberal" implies (correctly) a tendency to overspend..."

The following information is copied exactly from Wikipedia. Maybe if "conservatives" tried to be less emotional and more fact-based they would get more attention from the "intelligentsia" the writer claims are so biased toward the left. The facts clearly show that Republican administrations are the big spenders. The current deficit cannot be honestly blamed on the Obama administration. How can a country wage two wars and never raise a tax? I am not defending the wars, just how we paid for them.

The Wikipedia entry...

"Economist Mike Kimel notes that the five former Democratic Presidents (Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and Harry S. Truman) all reduced public debt as a share of GDP, while the last four Republican Presidents (George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford) all oversaw an increase in the country's indebtedness.[18] Economic historian J. Bradford DeLong, former Clinton Treasury Department official, observes a contrast not so much between Republicans and Democrats, but between Democrats and "old-style Republicans (Eisenhower and Nixon)" on one hand (decreasing debt), and "new-style Republicans" on the other (increasing debt).[19][20] David Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, as op-ed contributor to the New York Times, blamed the "ideological tax-cutters" of the Reagan administration for the increase of national debt during the 1980s.[21] Bruce Bartlett, former domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and Treasury official under President George H.W. Bush, attributes the increase in the national debt since the 1980s to the policy of "starve the beast".[22][23] While noting that that George H.W. Bush's budget deal was one of the main reasons for improvement in fiscal situation in 1990s and ultimately for budget surplus, Bartlett is highly critical of George W. Bush for creating budget deficits by reducing taxes and increasing spending.[24][25]

Marty Nemko said...

You're indeed right that conservatives have been spending big, straying from conservative principles.

But that's not the point of this blogpost, nor do I see it as emotional.

The point is that I'm concerned that the media is truncating all discussion that doesn't conform to that Leftist Narrative.

For example, while I'm far from a pure libertarian, it concerns me that libertarian solutions are given so little positive coverage--for example, the Ron Paul campaign. And libertarians, unlike liberals certainly don't advocate big government spending.

Anonymous said...

Having worked as a teacher in the public school system for the last 10 years, I can assure you that the "mind-molding vehicles of schools and colleges" are nothing to worry about. I have found that children are completely impervious to all brain-washing efforts. It's as if they have a kind of Blood-Brain barrier which prevents propaganda, no matter how much they are force-fed, from passing into their minds.

Anonymous said...

I saw a video on "The Narrative" by Bill Whittle of PJTV.

He attributes this narrative to the Frankfurt school and a small group of Jewish critical theorists, who came up with various issues such as feminism and black liberation, all as a way to undermine western society and ultimate destroy it.

What do you think of that?

Marty Nemko said...

Yes, many Jews tend to be leftist, but Jews are also heavily represented among the leading neo-conservatives.

In any event, I don't think it's helpful to identify a religious or ethnic group as the problem.

Perhaps the root of the problem is that journalism schools now encourage advocacy journalism, and an advocacy borne of a very narrow world view--that of the leftists hegemonic in the university, who, by the way, are mostly Christians, not-Jewish agnostics, or atheists.


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