Is the news really that liberal?

by phil on Wednesday Nov 25, 2009 12:20 AM

Is the news really that liberal? The grand unifying theory of news is, "if it bleeds, it leads," which should logically lead to a bleeding heart, liberal ideology, right? For example, the media was all over Hurricane Katrina. Why? Because people were dying.

However, I think the bleeding principle of news leads to an over-reporting of murders and crimes. As a result, we've become a society fearful of its own, unwilling to enact social programs ("because they'll help the deviants on the TV"), and supportive of "tough on crime" political mantras.

The United States has roughly seven times the incarceration rate of the average industrialized nation, but it wasn't always the case. Everything changed in 1980? Why?

On the surface, it looks like the War on Drugs and the popularity of three-strikes and truth-in-sentencing laws caused the spike. But if you dig deeper and ask why those things got popular in the first place, you'll find it has to do with the surge of "tough on crime" political platforms. And the only reason I can find for why "tough on crime" became so hot, it's because of the persistent images of homicide on the evening news. So thank you news, for contributing to another hyperbolic conservative talking point and a human rights nightmare.

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