by John Eberhard
It has become more and more obvious in recent years that there is a strong liberal bias in those who control certain communication channels in American society. I’m talking about the mainstream news media, college campuses, and the entertainment industry. In this article I will discuss liberal bias in the mainstream media, and will discuss the others in future articles
By mainstream media I mean the major newspapers and the network TV news.
Bernard Goldberg, in his book Bias, reports that a 1996 Freedom Forum and Roper Center survey of Washington media found that 89% voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, compared to 43% of non-journalists. 7% voted for George Bush (Sr.) compared to 37% of overall voters. 61% of journalists characterized themselves as "liberal", compared to 9% that said they were "conservative."
A 1985 Los Angeles Times survey of 3,000 journalists and 3,000 non-journalists nationwide, showed 23% of the general public said they were "liberal", versus 55% of journalists saying they were "liberal."
56% of the general public favored Ronald Reagan; 30% of journalists favored Reagan.
49% of the general public was pro-abortion; 82% of journalists were pro-abortion.
74% of the public was for prayer in public schools; 25% of journalists were for prayer in public schools.
Oh, and the New York Times has not endorsed a Republican Presidential candidate since Dwight Eisenhower. That means they endorsed Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, and Gore. Does that sound balanced and unbiased, or do we detect a wee little trend?
Occasionally I hear about new books or read articles that try to counter the idea that there is a liberal bias in the media. How can you counter statistics like those above?
Media Bias Manifestations
The way this tilt to the left manifests itself in the mainstream news media is not just on the editorial pages, which is where it logically belongs. It shows up in the way stories are reported or not reported, in how much space they get, in where they appear in the paper, even in the selection of which sources or experts to interview for the story.
For example, during the Iraq war, the mainstream newspapers bent over backwards to report every little thing that was wrong or which the Democrats said was wrong about the way the war was being handled. We heard about how we didn’t have enough troops there, and how their supply lines were going to get cut, and how well trained and fierce the Iraqi soldiers were. And don’t forget how they trumpeted every single American casualty on the front pages.
Now I am not one to belittle the suffering of the families of our boys who have given their lives. Far from it. Those boys and their families deserve all our support. But you had to look through to the end of the front section of the paper to even find out how many casualties the Iraqi soldiers were taking. I was stunned to find out that it was about a 100 to 1 ratio. 100 Iraqis for every 1 American killed. But even then I had to get out my calculator to know that. The papers had those facts hidden. In watching the TV news you couldn’t have found them at all. Why was that?
There are a myriad of ways one can take information and make it appear to be something else, from percentages to opinions to facts. I have even seen public opinion polls reported in the paper, where the headline gave one impression, but when you read the article, the survey results themselves showed the complete opposite. Luckily I have years of experience analyzing survey results.
Recently I read a book called Off With Their Heads by Dick Morris, former political advisor to President Clinton, in which he gives incredibly detailed examples of how the New York Times intentionally slanted each of their monthly public opinion polls to the left – including giving higher value to the answers of Democrats surveyed and lower value to the Republicans (in every case), and asking loaded questions to steer the answers to what they wanted.
The Times has taken a bit of a credibility hit over the last year. A recent poll by Rasmussen shows that less than half of Americans believe that the New York Times reliably communicates the truth, compared to 72% that find Fox News reliable.
The books Bias, by Bernard Goldberg, Slander by Ann Coulter, The New Thought Police by Tammy Bruce, and Off With Their Heads by Dick Morris all detail the extreme liberal bias of the mainstream media and I highly recommend them. I will not try to highlight all the examples here. But I highly recommend you read these books, with Goldberg’s Bias first.
The Percentages in the Public
The odd part is that the public is NOT overwhelmingly liberal like the media. A recent Gallup poll showed that 40% of Americans surveyed identified themselves as "conservative," 40% said they were "moderate" and only 20% said they were "liberal."
In this same poll, 45% said they believe that the media in the U.S. is too liberal, while only 14% said they think the media is too conservative.
So let’s think about this for a minute. A group of people who have a certain political ideology, namely liberal (which I defined in my last article), make up only 20% of the overall population.
Yet this group makes up an overwhelming majority in the mainstream news media. And to a large extent that media not only gives more airtime to their own liberal views, in most cases they simply block the dissemination of views of conservatives altogether. You really have to read the paper in depth today to even find the conservative viewpoint represented.
In fact, this media bias is so widespread that you, the reader, are probably shocked (I was) to learn that only 20% of the U.S. population is liberal. It’s easy to get the impression that half the public shares these views, or even that these liberal views are shared by an overwhelming majority. But nope, only 20%
So, what does it all mean?
It means simply that a minority group has hijacked the mainstream media and is trying to enforce their unpopular views on all of us. They are trying to make it appear that the vast majority of the American public is liberal, by simply hammering the liberal party lines again and again and simply ignoring or invalidating the conservative party lines.
It means that they have stopped doing the job that we have been paying them to do – reporting the news in a balanced and unbiased way – and instead have taken it upon themselves to take on another entirely different job – that of basically being the propaganda machine for the Democratic Party.
They have completely betrayed the trust we have placed in them.
The Results of This Betrayal
The liberal bias in the mainstream media has been evident for decades. But there is evidence mounting that the American public is starting to catch on, and starting to reject the mainstream news media and loosen the chokehold they have had on the stream of news to the public.
In Goldberg’s Bias, he details how the TV network news shows are losing viewers by the boatloads.
In the 1979-80 season, 75% of all viewers were tuned in to one of the network news programs, either ABC, NBC or CBS. Check out how these figures have declined and are continuing to decline:
1994-95 season: 51%
1995-96 season: 50%
1996-97 season: 49%
1997-98 season: 49%
2000-01 season: 43%
(He leaves out some years.)
So we’ve gone from 1979-80, where the network TV news shows had a 75% viewership, down to 43% in 2001. In 21 years, they have lost 32% of the total viewership, or looked at another way, they have lost 46% of the people that were watching them in 1979.
My personal opinion is that the public is not remotely close to being stupid. They may not be informed on all the issues all the time, but they have sensed for far more than 20 years now that something is wrong. Conservatives have sensed for a long time now that their views are just not getting fairly represented in the mainstream media.
But even if you’re a Democrat, is it a good idea to be being spoon-fed with biased news all the time? You’re not being informed. You’re not being educated on what is going on. You’re not getting a true picture of world events.
You’re being manipulated.
How to Be Really Informed Today
Maybe you thought I was just going to give you all this bad news and leave you sitting in it. Well no. You are actually very lucky, because as the public has become disenchanted with the mainstream media and has been leaving in droves, there has grown up an incredible collection of alternative media sources for getting political information.
All of these sources are basically conservative in nature and allow you to get the other side of the story.
1. Talk Radio: This is the alternative medium that really started it all, beginning with Rush Limbaugh’s syndicated show 14 years ago. Now this medium has mushroomed into a huge industry and there are many popular conservative radio hosts such as Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Larry Elder, and LA favorite Al Rantel.
2. Cable News: The Fox News Channel, available on most basic cable packages, has far outstripped all the other cable news channels in terms of viewership. In June 2003, Fox won a 51% of the prime time cable news audience, which is more than CNN, CNN Headline News, and MSNBC combined. A Pew Research Center survey showed that 22% of Americans now get most of their news from Fox, compared to 32% for all of the networks combined.
3. Conservative Books: There has been a deluge of excellent conservative books released in the last few years by authors like Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Tammy Bruce, Daniel Flynn, Bernard Goldberg, James Hirsen, Bill O’Reilly, Dick Morris and many more. The value of these books is that they give a thoughtful analysis of events as well as a conservative view missing from the mainstream media. And with few exceptions, the political books market is now dominated by conservative books. See my Resource Center for a listing of recommended books.
4. Conservative Internet Sites: There are also a large number of web sites that cater to conservatives and have conservative news and commentary. Some of the sites I recommend most are:
The idea is that there are now a variety of media channels that are carrying conservative news and opinions. They are no longer being effectively shut out by the mainstream media, because conservatives have created their own channels for dissemination of the information.
No one likes being manipulated, feeling like a pawn in some big game being played by power brokers in half-dark, smoky rooms.
In order not to be manipulated today, you have to be informed. If you do not become informed or are not already being well informed on world events and on news and views on both sides of the political spectrum, you will be a pawn in this power game. Because they will influence your opinions in ways you do not realize, and get you to vote for issues or for politicians that do not have your best interests at heart.
So my advice to you is first to decide, if you haven’t already done so, to get really well informed on what’s happening in the political arena.
And second, to get your news from multiple news sources. Read the paper (much more comprehensive than the TV news), but also go to web sites such as mentioned above. Read books on the issues that interest you most. Check out Fox News (32% of regular Fox viewers call themselves "centrists" and 18% call themselves "liberals."). And last, check out some of the conservative radio talk show hosts in your area. See my Resource Center for some of the syndicated hosts.
You’ll be exposed to some new ideas you haven’t heard before, and you’ll be able to make up your own mind without being manipulated. And that’s greater freedom!
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