SOC Spring 2014
Liberal Bias in the Media
When reading, “Does the Media Have a Liberal Bias” there are many topics to keep in mind while reading these two articles. First off does the media really have a liberal bias or any bias at all? Fred Barnes believes that the media has and liberal bias and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. believes that the media does not have a liberal bias. Both of these articles provide examples of why they believe that the media either has a liberal bias or does not have one.
Fred Barnes who is a journalist, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, and TV commentator believes that the mainstream media has a liberal bias. Barnes uses the 2004 presidential election to show that most of the media wanted John Kerry to win and says, “ that this bias slanted the coverage” (6). Most of the TV hosts were talking about John Kerry rather then George Bush. Both the candidates should get equal and fair opportunity to be talked about through the media newscasts while the campaigns are going on. Robert Lichter, who is at the center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, measures the broadcast news for all sorts of things and says, “John Kerry, got 77 percent favorable coverage in the stories regarding him on three broadcast news shows and for Bush it was 34 percent” (qtd. in Barnes). Kerry overwhelmingly got more coverage on the news, but still did not win the 2004 presidential election; which how liberal that these news broadcasters can be.
Another reason that Barnes brings up is the fact that there are not many conservative writers that get hired in the mainstream media. The writer can be one of the best writers to come out of school, but they will not get hired if they have a conservative view. Barnes said, “When I was at The New Republic for ten years they were quite liberal, any young person who joined the staff and wrote stories that were interesting and demonstrated that he or she could write were grabbed immediately by the New York Times or other big news papers, but not at The Weekly Standard” (6). Basically where Barnes worked they only wanted liberals there and no conservatives were to be hired. He believes that conservatives have resorted to different media such as talk radio, blogs, conservative magazines, and FOX news just to be heard.
An example of how misleading the media’s view of the world can be is looking at the coverage of the Valerie Plame story. She was a CIA agent who the media made her out to be an undercover CIA agent that had be outed, but she was just not an undercover agent anymore. The facts were wrong from the beginning, and the media built the story up way more then it needed to be. On the other hand there was a very serious story involving the NSA surveillance story, which was a real leak of national security. Barnes says,” not only was this important story related on an equal basis with the non – story of Valerie Plame, but the media was not interested in its national security repercussions” (7). The media did not want to report the story that had more importance to it, rather report the story and keep reporting a story that was just not important.
On the other had there is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who agrees with Barnes about the media being biased, but is a more conservative bias. One main point brought up is the echo effect, which means someone hears it and repeats and keeps getting repeated other places until many people hear it. David Brock who wrote a book about the Republican Noise Machine says, “ mainstream news directors decide what is important to cover are no longer being suggested by the New York Times and other responsible media outlets, but rather the shadowy participants of a Washington D.C.” (qtd. in Kennedy). The shadowy participants being the conservatives that met regularly throughout the year. These conservatives are getting information out in the form of propaganda, and protecting the reputations of conservatives and hurting the...
Cited: Finsterbusch, Kurt. Taking Sides. New York: McGraw – Hill, 2012. Print.
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