Monday, October 11, 2004


The So-Called Liberal Media

For years we have heard about the "liberal bias" in the media. The premise is that broadcasters and journalists are slanted toward the left and are therefore more inclined to report on an issue if it makes the left look better or the right look worse. Those that ascribe to Rush Limbaugh and the like are convinced that the media is part of some "left-wing conspiracy" to denigrate the conservatives, destroy America, and abolish organized religion. What I find to be the most interesting part of their argument is that the media outlets they have labeled as "liberal" are commonly labeled by those of us on the left as being too "conservative." For instance, both sides are convinced of the opposing skew of the New York Times, The Washington Post, and even CNN. As a liberal, I see all three of these outlets leaning to the right, while the conservatives are complaining of their slant to the left.

Over the weekend, it has become more apparent to me that there really is no "liberal bias," but a strong anti-liberal bias. With the constant accusations from the right, I believe that the media has tried too hard to appease their critics, thus overcompensating on the side of conservatism. Take for instance the MSNBC coverage of last weeks two debates. After the Vice Presidential debate on Tuesday, the panel on Hardball practically fell all over themselves to call the debate for Dick Cheney despite opinion polls showing differently. After Hours host Joe Scarborough even went so far as to crumple a piece of paper containing the results from a CBS poll that showed John Edwards as the winner refusing to acknowledge its findings. Then on Friday, the Hardball panel consisted of Andrea Mitchell (supposed to be impartial despite being married to Alan Greenspan who thinks Bush's tax cuts are working), Ron Reagan (an Independent), Ben Ginsberg (Republican Election Lawyer), and Patrick Buchanan (conservative extraordinaire). This is a panel? This isn't a panel, this is Conservative convention.

Furthermore, I have to criticize MSNBC and for their so-called fact-checking. After Friday night's debate, Brian Williams claimed that John Kerry was incorrect when he claimed that George Bush had under-funded the No Child Left Behind Act. Williams claimed that although it had not been funded to the maximum level as approved by congress, that it was incorrect to claim that the underfunding was detrimental to the law. made the following claim:

As an educator, I take issue with this claim. The No Child Left Behind Act has been underfunded to such a degree that individual states are now forced to make cuts in their education budgets in order to allocate more funds to keep themselves in compliance with the NCLB standards. Were the act funded at the higher level, the states wouldn't have to use their own money and could then avoid making cuts. This may seem a little nitpicky, but John Kerry is absolutely correct when he says that the NCLB Act has been underfunded. This lack of sufficient funding has pushed the burden onto the states and has had an inverse effect on the educational progress of many states and schools. This inaccurate claim by MSNBC and makes it appear as if John Kerry's fudging the truth when in fact he is not.

Finally, on to the big story of the weekend. The Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of the largest chain of television outlets in the country, plans to run an anti-Kerry "documentary" called Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal that accuses John Kerry of betraying Vietnam Veterans and POWs with his 1971 testimony to congress. The broadcasting giant has sent a memo to its sixty-two stations ordering them to air the program without commercials during the prime-time viewing hours next week. This is the same broadcasting company that forbade its ABC affiliates from broadcasting the edition of Nightline during which the names of the soldiers killed in Iraq would be read upon the air. Thankfully, the DNC has filed a claim with the FEC trying to block the airing of the program. (If this doesn't convince naysayers of an "anti-liberal bias," maybe the fact that executives from Sinclair have given over $65,000 to Republican groups will.)

As an American citizen, I find it abhorant that a media outlet would do something like this. Seeing as how many of the Sinclair affiliates are in so-called swing states, this is an obvious attempt to influence voter opinion of a candidate. Therefore I urge everyone to contact the Sinclair Group and demand that they either refrain from showing the "documentary" or they allow for equal time and show Fahrenheit 9/11 the following evening during their prime time hours. You can see if your local affiliate is a member of the Sinclair Group here. If they are, send them a letter or e-mail as well demanding equal time.

You may send an e-mail to Sinclair Broadcasting here.

Or, if you're more ambitious, you can send an e-mail to all of their executives by clicking here. Please remember to be polite.

I would also like to encourage you to write to your local newspapers and call into your local radio stations as well. The more people hear about this, the more likely we are to make a difference. We can not let the anti-liberal media control the opinions of our country and its constituents. If that were to happen, then all that this country stands for is lost.

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