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That Whole 'Liberal Media Bias' Thingie


I know that Olbermann is a feisty liberal blowhard, but I thought that this snippet from Countdown made a pretty interesting point.

There is no conspiracy.
There is no cabal.
There is no plot for world domination.
There is no Liberal Media

Now, I know that cubbiechuck, B-diddy and quite possibly even Mr.Furious are reading this and mentally preparing lengthy rebuttals in the comments section -- and I welcome that -- but first, hear me out.

My argument is not that there are no progressive voices in the media -- for there surely are (I've embedded a video clip of a very famous one in this very post). There are also liberal media outlets, such as The Nation, Air America, Media Matters and others. But, for every Center For American Progress (the parent organization of ThinkProgress.org), there is also some rightward leaning publication or organization.

This is where Olbermann has it absolutely right; the talking point that 'there are no conservative voices in the media' is not only patently false, it's absurd.

Okay, so back to the 'bias' of the media.

Every journalist, pundit, media hack, blogger or Joe Schmoe in the comments section of a blog has a viewpoint. Life experiences. Biases. One cannot write anything without the full force of these experiences becoming part of the story -- albeit unintentionally in some cases.

In early November, John Stossel has an interesting piece about this subject at reason. Money:
I was one of America's first TV consumer reporters. I approached the job with an attitude. If companies ripped people off, I would embarrass them on TV—and demand that government do something. (I now regret the latter—the former was a good thing.)

I clearly had a point of view: I was a crusader out to punish corporate bullies. My colleagues liked it. I got job offers. I won 19 Emmys. I was invited to speak at journalism conferences.

[snip]

My reporting changed. I started taking skeptical looks at government — especially regulation. I did an ABC TV special, "Are We Scaring You to Death?" that said we TV reporters often make hysterical claims about chemicals, pollution, and other relatively minor risks. Its good ratings—16 million viewers—surprised my colleagues.

Suddenly, I wasn't so popular with them.

I stopped winning Emmys.
Now, whether or not you share Stossel's point-of-view is irrelevant. What is important here is that he had a viewpoint all along -- despite its changing midstream. Stossel's life began to have an impact upon what he was reporting. He was discovering that his opinion of businesses and the free market was becoming a positive one (and his opinion of government was headed the other direction), the work he did in the media reflected this change. And that is okay.

Both sides of the political spectrum level these 'you are biased' charges against their opposition. For conservatives, the targets are usually The New York Times or MSNBC. For liberals the brunt of the accusations usually center around Fox News or The Wall Street Journal. I think that the larger problem here is that many people label a network or a newspaper based on it's opinion commentators rather than it's reporting -- that is a different story for a different day.

But I digress...

I submit to you this idea: IF there was a progressive plot to take over America via the media, why hasn't universal health care passed? If the liberals secretly run everything, why was the legalization of gay marriage struck down in two states last month? If there is a progressive media conspiracy, shouldn't we all be driving hybrid (or electric) vehicles and recycling every possible form of waste? If the liberals control the media, doesn't it stand to reason that every American would be a vegetarian?

Yeah. Thought so.

Setting the record straight: There are liberals in the media -- and that's okay. Just like their conservative counterparts, liberals bring their experience to the table and put a story in front of you, the viewer/reader. It is then up to said viewer/reader to do your own investigating to find the facts contained therein. If you are going to gobble-up information from only one source -- be it Fox News, MSNBC or ThePajamaPundit.com -- and believe it to be the ultimate truth, then you are doing yourself a huge disservice.

Stop blaming the media for a perceived bias and do some reading.