Amongst our left-wing friends, charges of “liberal media bias” scarcely elicit anything but chuckles. As far as our lefty pals are considered, the very words “liberal media bias” are deeply humorous. Those who utter such a phrase without the requisite dollop of irony are seen as nothing but know-nothing hayseeds.
But you needn’t take our word for it. Here’s an experiment: Walk up to a few liberal acquaintances and inform them that CNN routinely tilts its coverage to the Left. We have a hunch that they’ll react to that line of argument as they would to news that you sleep with your first cousin. To their minds, only those with heavy Southern twangs and scarcely few front teeth blather on about the “liberal media.”
And we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” find this odd, insofar as charges of “right-wing media bias” are, as Paris Hilton might say, hot. Eric Alterman, the ineluctably enraged media critic for The Nation, has even banged out a decent career on the blatantly ridiculous proposition that media bias has a strictly rightward trajectory.
In our world, at least, nary a day passes without our overhearing someone complain about the right-wing bias of Fox News. Apparently, the very folks who never fail to notice examples of conservative media bias simply can’t discern any liberal media bias at all.
This, we think, is rather curious–for the following reasons. If you ask us, Fox News has a discernable conservative bias. Never mind its opinion shows, most of which clearly cater more to the Right than to the Left. Take, instead, the political panels found on “Special Report with Brit Hume.”
Unlike, say, “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Special Report” is clearly pitched as a hard news program. It’s “political grapevine” segment, however, tends to rehash stories found on the Drudge Report or conservative “weblogs” that reflect a right-wing worldview. And the show’s panels, moderated by the conservative Mr. Hume, most often feature a few conservative pundits (Fred Barnes, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, the more moderate Mort Kondracke) and one liberal NPR ringer.
We don’t mention this, dear reader, to build any case against Fox News. As far as we’re concerned, Fox News plays a crucial role in contemporary American journalism: It has a sufficient number of viewers to publicize stories that other media outlets would otherwise ignore. Corruption at the UN; unhinged academic radicalism; environmentalist hypocrisy–these and other stories gain traction in liberal journalistic circles thanks to the efforts of Fox News.
But back to the topic of those “Special Report” panels. It should be obvious to any fair-minded observer that they merely amount to the conservative corollary of non-Fox News news programs.
Take, for instance, “This Week” with George Stephonopoulos. The show features a liberal host interviewing a panel of liberals and one conservative (George Will). Or how about Chris Matthews’ feculent Sunday talk show? It allows a liberal host to interview a cavalcade of liberal media elites and pundits, and routinely features one or no conservative voice.
The same could be repeated about numerous other shows and networks. Why can’t our liberal pals–ever sensitive to the purported wiles of Roger Ailes–recognize this?
(Note: The crack young staff normally “weblog” over at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they’re wondering if driving a Prius amounts to a sufficient “carbon offset” for marijuana possession.)