Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 28, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

THAT LIBERAL, LIBERAL MEDIA....After reading the latest Pew poll about the political views of journalists, Fred Barnes thinks the case for liberal media bias is open and shut:

Does this affect coverage? Is there really liberal bias? The answers are, of course, yes and yes. It couldn't be any other way. Think for a moment if the numbers were reversed and conservatives had outnumbered liberals in the media for the past four decades. Would President Bush be getting kinder coverage? For sure, and I'll bet any liberal would agree with that. Would President Reagan have been treated with less hostility if the national press was conservative-dominated? Yes, again. And I could go on.

He could go on? So why doesn't he? After all, he only has to go as far back as the immediately preceding presidency. I have this dim recollection of massively unfavorable coverage of Bill Clinton during the eight years of his presidency, and I'm pretty sure Clinton was a liberal. Perhaps there's more to this media bias thing than meets the eye, eh?

It's such a tiresome trope, and it misses the point of how the media works anyway. The press bashes whoever's in power, Democrat or Republican, and they cover drama, whether it's in Baghdad or Burbank. For better or worse, that's the main bias of the news industry, not ideology.

At any rate, I wonder what critics like Barnes think the media ought to do. Should news executives give tests or ask cub reporters who they voted for in the last election? And how does he feel about conservative domination of the officer corps in the military or the executive ranks of corporate America? Should we institute some litmus tests there too in order to give liberals a fairer shake?

Sheesh.

Kevin Drum 8:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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