The "liberal" media is a lie

by phil on Friday Dec 18, 2009 3:36 AM

I've been trying to dismantle the notion of the "liberal media" for a while now. I'm going to assume that in serious media studies circles, nobody really considers the media "liberal." To flip the whole notion on its head, I remember a study showing that Drudge Report and FOX News can actually be considered centrist; and that its only really a few magazines, like National Review, that are right-wing.

But is there some truth to the "liberal" label? While the GOP has been deliberately applying the label for some time now, there must be a reason it sticks.

My thesis is that the media's real bias is "populism." I believe this is inherent to mass discourse. In the case of American news, they need to appeal to the broadest audience to stay on the air. In the case of the BBC, they may go for populism as the only way to be relevant to the largest number of people possible. And if you use that frame of thinking, you'll find that FOX News's bias can best be explained by populism; it's just that they've chosen a conservative brand of populism as a way to segment the news market.

The reason the "liberal" label sticks is simply because populism has been married to liberalism since FDR's time.


Roger von Oech said on December 18, 2009 11:56 AM:

If the "liberal" media is a lie, why did they go "in the tank" (over 90%) to help elect the current president.

Philip Dhingra said on December 18, 2009 12:06 PM:

The media had it for Colin Powell too, though.

Both Obama and Colin Powell make for great stories. It also helps that they're both black, organized, and good at oratory. i.e. they remind the media of MLK Jr.

The media has always been fascinated with black people, whether it's showing them succeeding to astronomical heights or failing in spectacular ways (OJ, Tiger Woods). Hell, we know the media loves to show welfare lines chock full of black people.

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