Th Market is Saturated with Liberal Media

Continuing the theme of liberal bias in the mainstream media, Jim Geraghty asks in National Review if the liberal media has too many outlets for too few viewers. Will the MSM have to start reaching out to conservatives?

Comments

  1. Jim Geraghty’s column makes a point that I’ve maintained for quite some time. That is, the reason liberal talk radio does not do well isn’t because there aren’t dynamic liberal commentators taking on the issues. It is because the news and information market is saturated with liberal voices. Folks like Jim Hightower, Alan Colmes, and Mario Cuomo aren’t competing with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved and others. They are competing with NPR, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, The Nation, The Progressive, etc., etc., etc. Market saturation is why liberal voices in radio generally don’t succeed or have a very hard time succeeding.

    That and the fact that on most issues liberals are just plain wrong. ;)

  2. A completely unbiased MSM outlet – ABC – seeks stories about funerals for American soldiers killed in Iraq, in order to balance, I presume, the positive coverage Pres. Bush would be getting on Inauguration Day. James Taranto, at Opinion Journal’s Best of the Web feature has the details:

    ABC’s Funeral
    DocWeasel.com has re-created the ABC News page seeking “military funerals for Iraq war casualties” to cover “for a possible Inauguration Day story.” Sure enough, they found one. We checked the transcript of yesterday’s “World News Tonight” (available on Factiva, but not on the public Net) and found this:

    Peter Jennings: “Fair to say, we think, that at some point today here in Washington, the war in Iraq was on everyone’s mind, when the president spoke; when the antiwar demonstrators shouted as the president went by; when one or another military unit did something here today as part of the celebration. And we thought, too, of the many wounded at the army hospital here, watching it all on television.”

    “And in Rockport, Texas, today, just about the time the president was speaking, there was a funeral for a young marine reservist, 21 year-old Matthew Holloway was killed in Iraq last week by a roadside bomb. His brother told a local paper that as much as Matthew wanted to be home, he was very proud of what he was doing in Iraq, and it is something you hear from so many people in the services, including the 10,000 who have already been wounded.”

    We didn’t actually see the show, but reading the transcript Jennings seems rather condescending when he observes that servicemen are “very proud.” It’s as if he was expecting them not to be.

  3. Jim Holman says:

    This morning I watched some of the innagural prayer service. During a scripture reading by a rabbi the MSNBC the commentator was talking about how the president and his wife had been involved in the planning of the service, how the president wanted the participation of a number of faiths and denominations, and how he wanted to be the president of all people in the counntry. After the reading the commentator talked about the passage and its significance and importance to both Christians and Jews.

    Flipping quickly up to the live prayer service coverage by Fox News, the commentator was talking about how the American people preferred a sincere man like George Bush over political “manipulators” such as Bill Clinton and John Kerry.

    So the network with liberal bias is actually covering the event — making comments appropriate to the event, and saying a number of nice things about the president in the process. Over on the fair and balanced network, the prayer service is used as a kind of colorful background during which democrats can be slammed.

    Flipping back to the liberal bias of MSNBC, coverage of the prayer service continued with a scripture reading by an Orthodox archbishop. At the same time Fox News had cut from the prayer service for an update on an abduction in Arizona.

  4. I guess this thread is going to become a competition for who can cite the most instances of media bias. Very well. Jim, both MSNBC & Fox presenting facts. Surveys shows that most Americans prefer Pres. Bush’s expression of faith over Clinton’s & Kerry’s, and they believe that Clinton & Kerry were using religion in a politically manipulative manner. With regards to Kerry, I would have thought the last election might have made this clear (but for a diehard Leftist I guess nothing is clear).

    But ponder this question for a moment:
    “Why do polls “showing” a decline among Americans’ support for the war in Iraq show up on page 1 of the Los Angeles Times, but polls showing strong support among Iraqis for the January 30th election end up on page 13 of the Washington Post?”

    If more media sources besides the Washington Times put the Iraqi survey on their front pages, if the Networks led their news with stories about the strong support by the Iraqis for the upcoming elections, is it not possible that the LA Times survey might look a little different?

  5. Note 4: Foreign opinion polls don’t count for as much as do domestic ones, just as they would not put on page one a glaring headline reading “Bush Approval Among British Citizens Down to 15%”.

    First of all, we must dispense with the idea that there are two positions on this war: that either “everything is grand and all the critics are spineless traitor anti-Americans” or that “it’s a complete disaster”. Neither is accurate, and I fear that both the MSM and right-wing commentators are doing a disservice to such a large issue by reducing the nature of this conflict to convenient sound bytes.

    In reality, Bush gets two things: the vital importance of the war for survival against Islamist fascism as well as the need to establish democracy in the Arab world to fight it from within inside. On the other hand, we still need to able to criticize this war’s handling which has been fraught with problems that should have and must be addressed: from the insufficient troop levels, the poor planning involved for establishing the peace, the lack of success in finding WMDs, etc.

    Unfortunately, the right-wing media refuses to address these issues while the MSM neglects to portray the broader picture of the nature of the conflict involved.

    The bottom line is that to be informed, we can’t get our news from only CBN, FOX News, CNN or MSNBC. To do so means we simply cannot make educated decisions about anything when we’re half-informed.

  6. Jim Holman says:

    Daniel writes: “Why do polls ‘showing’ a decline among Americans’ support for the war in Iraq show up on page 1 of the Los Angeles Times . . .”

    The LA Times paid for the poll.

    Daniel: “I guess this thread is going to become a competition for who can cite the most instances of media bias.”

    I don’t want to get into a quotation battle. But the comment that I heard on Fox News this morning surprised even me. First of all, it was entirely inappropriate to the occasion. Second, and more important, you never would hear such a comment in the mainstream media during news coverage of an event. And if it did happen it would cause a scandal, and rightly so. But coming on Fox News, it will pass almost unnoticed.

  7. “The Times paid for the poll” that “show” a decline in American support for the war in Iraq … So that makes it Page 1, Above-The-Fold News?!? As John Stossel says, “Give me a break!”

    BTW, back when the collapse of Enron was the Bush-haters raison d’etre the Loony Times created a very nice “push” poll, with questions designed to elicite a strong reaction against the President.

    And when it commissioned a poll, during the heat of last year’s election, that supposedly showed strong support for John Kerry it was discovered that the La La Times polled 38 percent Democratic, 25 percent Republican and 24 percent independent. Not exactly a balanced sample that reflected registered voters in general is it? And when polls showed George Bush leading John Kerry, LA Times rarely, if ever, reported it with an above the fold headline.

    Somehow I think that, even today as you read this, there are folks at the LA Times reacting to the Bush election victory in the same way Pauline Kael viewed the Nixon victory over McGovern, “How can that be?” the La La Times is thinking, “No one I know voted for [Bush].”

  8. How anyone with eyes to see can recognize MSM bias:

    CBS has posted a story about President Bush’s call to Pro-Life Advocates.
    Instead of titling the story “Pro-Life Advocates Receive Call from Pres. Bush” CBS chose instead to title the story Abortion Foes Get Call From Bush.

    The lead paragraph reads:
    “President Bush told abortion opponents on Monday he shared their support for “a culture of life” and that “this movement will not fail.” ” Why the scare quotes around culture of life, but not around abortion opponents?

    Now contrast this with the following story on Gun Control: Gun control advocates give New Jersey high rating for firearms regulation

    Hmmm, “Gun Control Advocates”, and not “Gun Ownership Opponents” or perhaps “2nd Amendment Opponents”, interesting, is it not?

    This is where bias appears in MSM reporting. It is about what stories get covered and how the stories are covered. Bernard Goldberg (a lifelong Democrat, BTW) has discussed this extensively in Bias and Arrogance. The liberal bias in MSM raises its head in not-so-subtle ways, as the two stories above show, once someone knows what to look for.

    These folks who wrote these stories would tell you, without batting an eye, that they are simply reporting what happened, which in a way is true. But they used language that puts a certain negative spin on one group’s activity – “Abortion Opponents” – and a certain positive spin on another group’s activity – “Gun Control Advocates”.

    Words have meanings and ideas have consequences. Labeling those who work to protect life from the moment of conception as “Abortion Opponents” affects how the general public views the entire subject of Abortion.

  9. Jim Holman says:

    Daniel writes: “How anyone with eyes to see can recognize MSM bias.”

    Or anyone with a sufficiently powerful microscope.

    Daniel: “nstead of titling the story ‘Pro-Life Advocates Receive Call from Pres. Bush’ CBS chose instead to title the story ‘Abortion Foes Get Call From Bush.'”

    Well . . . do you think maybe it’s because the story is about abortion laws? A radical thought, I know, but consider the possibility. Especially, look at balanced phrases such as “demonstrations by opponents and proponents of abortion rights,” and “activists on both sides of the abortion issue . . .”

    Daniel: “Why the scare quotes around culture of life, but not around abortion opponents?”

    They aren’t scare quotes; they are quotes denoting what Bush actually said. Later in the article Bush is quoted as saying ” . . . This is the path of the CULTURE OF LIFE that we seek for our country.” [emphasis mine]

    Here’s a classic example of where the mainstream media are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they don’t quote Bush, they’re biased. If they do quote him, it’s “scare quotes.” Give me a break.

    Did you actually read the article? The article has 483 words. 127 of those words — 26 percent of the article — are DIRECT QUOTATIONS from George Bush. That doesn’t count other text merely describing what he said. The only thing in the article that could be possibly construed as being on the other side is a 24-word paragraph about NARAL’s view of what would happen — or 5 percent of the article.

    And this is a marvelous example of how the hypersensitive right-wing detects bias everywhere — except in their own media. You have this article that extensively quotes Bush, using quotes that make him sound articulate and intelliigent, provides other material about what he said, and gives only 5 percent of space to a dissenting point of view. Nonetheless this is perceived as a classic example of “liberal bias.”

    If this is bias, what’s objectivity?

  10. Jim, we conservatives are perfectly well aware of bias in our own media. As Fr. Hans (and Hugh Hewitt and others) have repeatedly pointed out, the problem is not that news media display bias, but that they don’t acknowledge it. Everyone knows Fox News is pro-conservative. Personally, I don’t like their slogan, “Fair and Balanced.” It’s not accurate. If the media would stop trying to claim objectivity and have the courage of their convictions, then we could have a more honest debate.