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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    A ‘liberal’ myth

    Most media personalities worship the ground Obama walks on. As a result, they’ve hyped him up to be a messianic figure, all the while completely failing to look in depth at his dark past. The liberal media has given him a free pass, and in some cases, they’ve outright lied to support their leftist political agenda.

    The media has willingly distorted its coverage for years to favor liberals. Bastions of conservative ideology like Fox News and talk radio are the exception to the rule – they only counter the bias in the mainstream media.

    At least, those are some common conservative claims.

    The real lie here is that the media is liberal. It is not, and contrary to what has become conservative protocol, repeating the lie does not make it true.

    The belief in a “”liberal media”” is easy to dismantle. Take the current presidential elections as a sample case. A study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University actually showed that, in the early general election season, ABC, CBS and NBC were all significantly tougher on Barack Obama than they were on John McCain.

    Similarly, the Tyndall Report found that Obama received over twice as much network air time as McCain in the early general election season. This sounds like evidence of liberal bias, except that media coverage of politicians is often negative in nature.

    From the way conservative commentators continue to accuse the media of a leftist bent, you’d think they must have been asleep during coverage of the Rev. Wright scandal, Obama’s “”bitter”” comments, the flag pin controversy, his relationship to William Ayers and Tony Rezko, and the fact that he enjoys arugula.

    It’s worth noting that a few of these scandals did not even exist until someone from the mainstream media invented them ex nihilo. For example, the Wright scandal, which may cost Obama the election, began when ABC News cherry-picked inflammatory segments from Wright’s sermons.

    When has there been similar scrutiny of McCain? Any journalist interested in restoring fairness can begin with a 1992 McCain outburst where he called his wife a “”trollop”” and a “”cunt,”” a 1998 Republican Senate fundraiser where he joked that Janet Reno is Chelsea Clinton’s father, and a 1986 joke about a gorilla raping a woman. A month of nonstop coverage of these little flubs is a good start; two or three months would be more reasonable.

    Any amount of critical thought will reveal that McCain is at least as much of a media darling as Obama has ever been. He owes much of his success in the primaries to his victory in New Hampshire, which would not have been possible without media outlets portraying him against all reason as a maverick and a straight-talker.

    There are several factors contributing to the media’s gradual rightward slipping. First, news outlets are capitalistic entities who act in their own self-interest. If Obama provides them with more interesting stories than McCain does, then from an economic standpoint, they can’t be blamed for overwhelming coverage of him.

    Second, media outlets accept the widely-held American view that when a plurality of views exists, people representing different viewpoints should all be allowed to offer their opinion, no matter how contrary to reality their views may be. In other words, the fact that self-described “”conservatives”” have been flat-out wrong about issues ranging from Middle Eastern affairs to scientific matters doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t hear their opinions, too.

    Finally, news outlets have heard the “”liberal media”” meme for long enough and have hired conservatives to defuse this myth. Many an editorial cartoonist, budding conservative journalist and talking-head type have benefited from this form of affirmative action – their inability to make a cogent argument is overlooked because news outlets feel that they should be nice to the other side.

    The Wildcat isn’t blameless here. Some of our past columnists may have been hired more for their conservative political views than for their ability to write columns. (I’ll let you be the judge on that one.)

    It’s a shame that the media isn’t as liberal as conservatives seem to think it is. As conservative pundit Stephen Colbert noted, “”Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”” A truly liberal media would be a progressive one – and one much closer to the truth on most issues. Rather than being complicit in promoting neoconservative nonsense, it would do a stellar job consigning modern conservatism to the dustbin of history, where it rightly belongs.

    – Taylor Kessinger is a senior majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, math, and physics. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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