Skip to comments.The GOP's Secret Weapon . . .
Posted on 11/16/2002 11:22:57 AM PST by Pokey78
CONSERVATIVES COMPLAIN constantly (and rightly) about the liberal bias of the major media. What they don't realize, however, is that this bias probably hurts liberals more than it helps them. The Republican victory this fall is a case in point.
One way media bias hurts liberals is by giving them a false sense of security. There is a tendency for those in public office to judge their performance on the basis of day-to-day press coverage. If a congressman or senator gets good press, he assumes he is doing a good job.
But if the media share the lawmaker's political philosophy, then there is a danger that he may be misled. He may think he is popular with voters, when in fact they are not happy with him at all. He is only getting positive press coverage because the media like what he stands for.
Good examples of this are abortion, gun control, and campaign finance reform. A survey of the pressroom in any major newspaper, newsweekly, or television network will show overwhelming support for abortion on demand, restrictive gun control, and severe limits on campaign contributions. Any candidate espousing such views will generally get positive press coverage for them.
The problem is that the nation is split on these issues, in contrast to the monolithic view of the press. In the case of gun control, in particular, Democrats have had to backtrack from their hardline anti-gun position in recent years, lest they lose the last few rural members of their party in Congress.
Consequently, press bias is a two-edged sword. It irritates the heck out of conservatives, but at the same time induces a sense of complacency among liberals that can be exploited. The latter are, in effect, urged farther to the left by the media than is politically prudent, setting the stage for conservative upsets.
Another way liberal bias hurts liberals is that it causes reporters to underplay, overlook, and often completely ignore important political trends.
A good example of this is religion. Most reporters, in my observation, are agnostics. Those who are religious at all usually belong to mainline churches and denominations. Very, very few would consider themselves fundamentalists, or orthodox, within whatever religion they belong to.
And yet fundamentalism and the return to orthodoxy have been the most important religious trends of the last three decades. All the mainline Protestant denominations are losing members, while conservative Christian churches continue to grow. Among Jews as well, conservative and orthodox congregations have grown steadily at the expense of the reformed majority. And, of course, we are all too well aware that fundamentalism among Muslims has become the Western world's dominant foreign policy problem.
The point is that if a newspaper has not one person on its staff who is a religious conservative, how is that paper going to have any clue about what is going on among those who share such beliefs? A good reporter, to be sure, can cover any issue well, given time and resources. But what is going to trigger his editor's interest in covering the deeply religious when neither has much knowledge of that community in the first place?
The irony is that those in the media understand this fact perfectly well when it comes to race, ethnicity, and gender. They are obsessed with increasing the number of blacks, Latinos, and women in the media, and the rationale is the need to better cover stories of interest to these groups. Yet the same logic holds for many other groups in society, including religious fundamentalists and political conservatives, for whom no similar outreach effort is ever pursued.
The result is a blind spot for the media. They miss a lot of what is going on in society because they just don't see it. Newsrooms today are echo chambers, where reporters and editors hear the same liberal conventional wisdom over and over again.
All of this hurts Democrats far more than they know. To the extent that they pay attention to their media coverage, they are cut off from the mainstream of society without even realizing it, implicitly believing that Peoria thinks like the New York Times. Indeed, since the Times has become a virtual newsletter for the Democratic party, it surely deserves some of the blame for the Democrats' 25-year trend from dominant political party to what looks like long-term minority status.
Therefore, conservatives should stop worrying so much about liberal media bias. It exists and probably always will. Conservatives are not wrong to remind themselves that if it were up to the major media, not one of them would hold office anywhere in America. But if I'm correct about the effects of liberal bias, conservatives probably owe at least a silent nod of thanks to the media for their current majority.
Bruce Bartlett is a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. He writes a nationally syndicated column for Creators Syndicate.
The problem starts with the rules of entertainment which journalism follows in order to be profitable.- tell a new story (meet your deadline=the show must go on)That adds up to negative, superficial, anticonservatism. Liberal politicians learn that anticonservatism from journalism--and then play that tape back to journalism. There is no reason why there would not be a revolving door between journalism and liberal politics.
- tell an unusual story (i.e., one in which the Republican is untrustworthy)
- tell a scary story
There is no reason for talk radio apart from that propaganda axis. And no need at all for anticonservative talk radio. The anticonservative propaganda niche is completely filled by journalism itself.
Or the media tries to smooze the public with Joe Conason type hype; propaganda foisted upon the public like Nancy Pelosi, hardly a he. However like all shes in good standing with the socialist press, we are inundated with media drivel. Bias from any quarter will always worry me!
That's why Rush Limbaugh says, "when people complain about my show not being balanced, I tell them that my show *IS* balance".
i.e., he's providing the conservative view that's missing from the mainstream media.
Coming soon: Tha SYNDICATE.
101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that Internet Explorer cannot.
A recent NYT editorial on the election remarked bitterly that Fox News and talk radio "let the hard right get its message out." The Internet -- the most lethal threat to the old media -- was carefully not mentioned. The leftists must control the flow of information to win, and are no longer in a position to do so.
The failure of the leftist media to identify trends among conservatives isn't as important as this article suggests, since they weren't going to report on those things anyway...
Goes to show ya' just how few true professional journalists there are out there...
And the circulation of the so-called mainstream press keeps dropping. More people are finding out that Rush is right.
LOL. Nice story. I cut my coservative teeth reading NR. WFB & Company Bump.
LOL. Nice story. I cut my conservative teeth reading NR. WFB & Company Bump.
Me too! or is it Me Three!? I was always conservative by nature, but what sealed the deal for me was watching Wm. F. Buckley, Jr. being interviewed before a live audience by Woody Allen on some TV show. I have no idea what TV show would have featured Woody Allen interviewing Wm. F. Buckley, Jr. but there it was - must have been around 1965. Anyway, I was enthralled with Buckley's answers and then this rather cute teen-aged girl went to the audience mike and asked Buckley, "Do you think mini-skirts are ok?" He grinned and replied, "On you I bet they are." At that point I knew conservatism was way more fun than liberalism - and Buckley became the newest addition to my collection of heroes.
Thanks for responding, jocon307.
Not having seen the photo in question, I must say that I have a somewhat ghoulish mental picture right now... something along the same lines as a candidate in this last election, who lost by six votes following an accusation of running over a cat with his car.
True. However, there is reason to believe the media is having less influence these days. The Internet, for instance, relatively small when Klintoon took office, is now huge. Talk radio is growing. The big three TV networks have been steadily losing viewers for a number of years. All of these trends, which were developing during the Klintoon years, now seem to have coalesced into something powerful. It's a wonderful thing.