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July 08, 2004

Liberal Bias in Big Media? « Social Issues »
Several times during the Clinton years, when some in the media threatened to depart from liberal orthodoxy by focusing on Clinton scandals — Gennifer Flowers, Troopergate, and Monica Lewinsky come to mind — Team Clinton lashed out at the media for being mouthpieces of the vast right-wing conspiracy. The charge was always preposterous, and deliberately so: It was a preemptive strike designed to intimidate the press into compliance. And it worked every time, as the mainstream media responded by either turning their guns on Republicans (the Lewinsky scandal) or dropping the story altogether (Flowers, Troopergate) to prove their liberal bona fides.

No serious liberal believes that a conservative bias dominates the news media. Liberals know what this book will prove: Like the old Outer Limits television series, the Left still controls the transmission, still controls "all that you see and hear." Television is not the only domain of the liberal news media: The Left still dominates with the printing presses, and yes, still dominates the "news" programming on radio.

So why the hysterical claims of conservative domination of the media? Because liberals fear that their monopoly on news coverage is in jeopardy. For decades, the liberal hegemony over the news media has provided the political Left with the ability not only to slant news coverage portside but actually to control the public conversation, both political and cultural, in America. Being the "social conscience" of the nation — having the ability to direct the national agenda — is quite a power. Liberals don't want to lose that.

In fact, they are right to be scared. The liberal news media are headed for a meltdown. To be sure, even today the vast power of the liberal media cannot be underestimated. But the days of liberal spin always prevailing are coming to an end. This has nothing to do with some sinister right-wing conspiracy. Rather, the problem lies with those in the liberal news media themselves. So dismissive are they of any claim of liberal bias, no matter how well documented, that they regularly allow this bias to seep into news stories. Even when poll after poll reveals that Americans have lost confidence in the news media, the liberal media elites do not deign to cleanse their industry of the bias that plagues it.

Something else is changing that will speed the collapse of the liberal media's monopoly on news coverage in this country. Conservatives have traditionally accepted liberal bias in the mainstream news media as a fact of life; it has been a given that the Left controls the news industry just as it holds sway over academia and the arts. But this has bred a certain complacency toward the press that has spelled disaster for one conservative initiative after another. Remember the Contract with America?

But conservatives are learning. No longer do we merely have to accept the liberal agenda of the so-called objective news media. Nothing made this point more clearly than a startling statement by President George W. Bush in October 2003. Fed up with the way the national media were covering the rebuilding efforts in Iraq, Bush stated in a Hearst-Argyle interview that he was going to bypass them. "I'm mindful of the filter through which some news travels," the president said, "and sometimes you just have to go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the people and that's what we will continue to do." The liberal press, predictably, fainted in disbelief. As John Roberts of CBS News put it, "It was the public relations equivalent of a declaration of war aimed at the national media." Many who read this book will have an altogether different perspective. They'll wonder why it took the Bush administration so long.

From the introduction to L. Brent Bozell's new book, Weapons of Mass Distortion: The Coming Meltdown of the Liberal Media

Posted by Nathan at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)
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