Tell me the one about the “liberal media” again

Media Matters:

Summary: Keith Olbermann, appearing on C-SPAN, said: “There are people I know in the hierarchy of NBC, the company, and GE, the company, who do not like to see the current presidential administration criticized at all. … There are people who I work for who would prefer, who would sleep much easier at night if this never happened. On the other hand, if they look at my ratings and my ratings are improved and there is criticism of the president of the United States, they’re happy.”

The “liberal media” myth is one of those persistent lies that it seems no amount of reason, facts, or reality can put a dent in. Keith Olbermann effectively said here what I’ve been saying all along:

  • The “media”, to the extent that its a monolithic entity (which, it’s really not), does not have a uniform political bias. They have a business bias; they report and present the news in such a way as to maximize the number of viewers that they can then sell to advertisers. Their customers are advertisers, and their product is your attention. The slant that any editor may take with regards to being pro- or anti- Republican/Democrat will be based on what will sell the best in their market. In general they tend to be pro-party-in-power, pro-corporation, and sensationalistic.
  • To the extent that they do have any political bias, its by and large a conservative one: the “media” is a group of very large corporations run by rich white guys. Which party are they most likely to identify with?

The liberal media myth was never one that was grounded in reality (if it was, mediamatters.org couldn’t even exist, now could it?) – instead it’s rooted in the anti-intellectuallism that the right wing fosters, just a veiled ad hominem defense allowing its followers to dismiss the messenger without ever addressing the message. Cognitive dissonance at its best.

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