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« Hagan in the spotlight | Main | Breakthrough research »

Jun 28, 2009


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Mick Riggs

You are right Ed. The media is not entirely made up of left leaning individuals. Got us on that one.

Ed Cone

As the linked example shows (along with countless others), the allegedly liberal media is often far from liberal in its news coverage.

The idea is not to "get" you, Mick, but to get you thinking. We've been told so long that the big media is liberal that it's become a truism, facts be damned.

Mick Riggs

Two things. First, my countless examples would most likely outnumber your countless others. Secondly, define "often".

I believe that a significant majority of "Big Media" is indeed liberal/progressive/left leaning. I do not believe (have never) that ALL media is left leaning. That would be stupid and leaves one open to examples such as yours and countless others

Is the media as far left as many hard right types believe? Probably not. But to try to prove that media coverage is somehow middle of the road or fair or dare I say balanced is just wrong and borders on silly.

Ed Cone

As you acknowledge, Mick, there are many examples of slanted reporting, with slants going in various directions. You have to average them out to come up with any sort of meaningful analysis of media bias.

My point is that beyond typical left-right arguments, the bias of corporate-owned media reflects the worldview of its ownership, which is very much part of the NY/DC establishment. Thus even the cheerleading for the Iraq invasion by the NYT and WaPo should be seen not (only) as neoconservative, but also as reflective of a particular establishment worldview.

This pandering is especially pronounced on foreign policy. In terms of economics and business, the media is often clueless or uninterested, and in general serves Wall Street as a marketing vehicle.

I'd say the media tends to be moderately liberal on social issues, in large part because it's a business and it has to sell into a culture that is moderately liberal on social issues. And I'd say journalists tend to be liberal on social issues, which is reflected in some coverage.

One thing to remember about liberalism is that the word has been redefined over the last generation to mean, essentially, anything that is not very conservative. This is part of the phony balance of the cable news model -- two points of view are contrasted, one conservative and one moderate, with the latter called "liberal." That has had a huge influence over the past few decades.

So, back to the clip. I think it's important. Here we have one of the most important papers in the "liberal" media, writing on one of the biggest issues of the day, with what seems to me a pronounced slant away from the more liberal position.

As with the Iraq war stuff, some stories outweigh others. The media does not seem so liberal to me when it considers some of the biggest issues of our time.


Perhaps the smart right-leaning corporate types running these media corporations recognize that liberal media is what sells?


Because, of course, there's simply no way that the establishment itself could become liberal, nor is there any way that liberalism could become the establishment.

Consider a liberal and a conservative in the early 60's. Which of these modes of thought is closer to the modern american mainstream? Outside of conservative anti-communist rhetoric, the 1960ish liberal wins every other position.

This same thought experiment works for any time period up until the 1990s, dating back to at least the 1890s.

Ed Cone

Of course the establishment view could be liberal. On social issues especially, I expect that it mostly is.

But on foreign policy, it was very much neocon when things came to a head earlier in this decade.

And in economic policy, the establishment was go-go Wall Street consumerism rah rah.

The corporate media parrots that stuff. So you get what can sometimes be called liberal media, and other times conservative, but all the time it's corporate media.


Your premise is starting to look correct. Fox News and other balanced outlets are taking away the profits of the liberal media (as can be seen by FNC having 10 of the top 10 cable news programs and CBS ratings in a freefall), that will drive CNNABCCBSNBC to reconsider their reporting perspective. No matter what you say, a huge percentage of the population has come to distrust and dislike the biased reporting of the liberal media outlets. To survive in the free market they have to become credible and relevant again. Otherwise they will go the way of the daily newspapers. It will be interesting to watch the shift from "progressive" to a more balanced view.

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