The Biggest Problem of the Mainstream Media
By Bruce Walker
June 15, 2009
The media - newspapers, magazines, book publishing, radio, television, and film - have never at any point in the history of our nation been impartial. Newspapers were once the whole heart and substance of our media. They provided news, opinion, entertainment, advice, humor, advertisements and information. Newspapers were often unabashed partisans.
Some of that lingers on to this day. Consider the names of these Arkansas newspapers still very much in print: The Arkansas Democrat- Gazette, Natchez Democrat, Greenwood Democrat, Clay County Democrat, Trumann Democrat and Lonoke Democrat. Aside from Arkansas, twenty-one other states have general circulation "Democrat" newspapers, and fourteen states have general circulation "Republican" newspapers. Newspapers were often quite consciously founded to promote one political party, and if you ever wondered why some newspapers have the term "Independent" in their names, it is because that means the newspaper was nonpartisan.
The danger to democracy from the media has never been because of patently partisan media. How many Republicans would be upset with the New York Times, if it changed its name to the New York Democrat? How upset would conservatives in Congress be with NPR if those abbreviations stood for National Progressive Radio? Or if CBS meant Center for Broadcasting Socialism? There is nothing ignoble or un-American about advocating what you believe or with buying a broadcast station to get your message out. The sin is lying about bias.
But worse than lying about their bias, the mainstream media decides what is news and what is not. Dan Rather refused to even mention Gary Condit and his missing paramour congressional aide, Chandra Levy and then the mainstream media pretended that Gary Condit was somehow a "conservative." When the mainstream media cover a scandal, if the crook is a Democrat, that fact is almost always omitted. Even more surreal, organizations like CNN have even taken their own stories, which inadvertently mention that a malfeasant politician is a Democrat and edited out the "Democrat" in later versions of the news story. When the malodorous Rod Blagojevich is exposed, New York Times reporters writing nine paragraph stories seem to forget that trifling fact. Omitting or even re-editing stories to delete crucial facts is the second greatest sin of the mainstream media.
The third great sin of the mainstream media is how "competitors" actually collude. PBS never examines the Leftist bias at the New York Times. MSNBC never attacks PBS for being a government funded organ of the Democrat Party. In any other industry, every Leftist conspiracy freak in the country would be calling these cozy corporate "rivals" a cabal of corporate executives who secretly run America . But, oddly, the mainstream media, which never criticize their sibling elements for their failures, find the only "threats" talk radio and Fox News. Democrats move in and out of the mainstream media just as if they were members of some media version of the Skull and Bones Club.
Lying about bias, ignoring unwelcome news, suppressing competition - these are all real sins in a free society - but the worst sin of the mainstream media is their ugly slide into personal viciousness. It is not the "Mainstream Media" but the "Meanstream Media." When Fred Thompson, a universally respected former Senator with an inspiring life story, was pulling together a campaign to run for president as a genuine conservative, what did the "Meanstream Media" do? Joe Scarborough suggested that his wife "worked a pole." When Sarah Palin was put on the Republican ticket, the media ran stories which suggested that Sarah had not given birth to Trig, but rather her daughter was the mother, even insisting on paternity testing for the child.
Worse, when ordinary citizens - not politicians - defy the Left, the media go after them, like Joe the Plumber or confront protesters at Tea Parties. The "Meanstream Media," the lapdog of the failed Left, cannot win any battle fairly. So they lie about their bias; they hide rather than reveal; and they practice groupthink instead of openness. Most despicably, the "Meanstream Media" savage, slander, and scream at anyone for any reason who get in their way.
Bruce Walker is a long-time conservative writer whose work is published regularly at popular conservative sites such as American Thinker.