Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Liberal Media and the Cultural Elite

You know, I have always had a problem with this idea of the "liberal media." Basically, many right wing folks claim the entire news media that is not Fox News or conservative talk radio suffers from a liberal bias. Now, it may sound like I'm exaggerating this, but I'm really not. I challenge anyone to listen to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, or any of the others and tell me that they think any media besides the ones I listed are not suffering from a liberal bias.

I used to be active on a message board where one of the other members claimed that the "liberal media" idea got old when it started back in the 1970's. Of course, I wasn't alive back then, so I don't know how long this idea has been around, but even in the few years I have followed this stuff, it has been old since the first time I got it.

News flash, folks-- the media is sensationalistic, not liberal. Unfortunately, our society is very money driven, even with regards to the news media. They will cover what ever news story bring ratings (basically, whatever pays the bills). If the media was so liberal, why do anti-gay pastors, ex-gays, etc. get so much airtime in a POLITICAL debate over marriage? What does someone's religious views on gay marriage have to do with someone being gay? Al Franken's book, Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them has a lot to say about this. He went through and studied the pro-Bush vs. pro-Gore news stories and the anti-Bush vs. anti-Gore stories in the 2000 elections. Amazingly, the pro-Bush stories outnumbered the pro-Gore ones and the anti-Gore stories outnumbered the anti-Bush ones. Somehow the "new media" as Rush so humbly calls it, doesn't tell you this.

Another example is the outrage over the Bush judicial apointees. Rush and his crew talk all over the place about the lack of coverage from the news media. He doesn't mention that conservative (Republican) judges now outnumber the liberals (Democrats), a shift that has occurred only since Bush has been in power. He doesn't point out that there are now more Republican judges in the Federal system then there ever were democratic ones under Clinton. He also fails to mention the judges who were rejected during the Clinton administration and never voted on. Actually, if you look at the numbers, Bush's judges have had an easier time getting passed than Clinton's did, even if some (about 10 of 250) are not getting voted on currently. Of course, the regular news media didn't tell you this under Clinton, and they don't talk much about it now. Why? Because this type of stuff really doesn't offer mass appeal. Terry Schiavo, Elizabeth Smart, a war, this is all what offers the real mass appeal.

As for the "Cultural Elite" idea, this is something that the right has lovingly coined recently. It's just another way to demonize one group. I said on another blog that I really don't see how Rush can call anyone elitist. Listen to his show. He constantly calls liberals stupid and dumb, constantly wrong. He even lets his own listeners know how much smarter he is than they are on a regular basis. There are elitists on both sides. In my view, most politicians have trouble not reaching that "elite" mentality. Most famous folks do. But, it is certainly not something that only happens among liberals.

One day I'll discuss my issues with the polarization that both the far right and far left cause to our country. It is a sad state of affairs, and with the strong rhetoric from folks like Rush, it is only getting worse.


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