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Right Intention: Hugh Hewitt on Media Bias

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Hugh Hewitt on Media Bias

Good article by Hugh Hewitt on the origins and results of media bias.

For many generations, Big Media represented the interests of the dominant political and business elites. Men like Henry Luce and William Paley represented that tradition.

Some of those interests were repugnant, especially those behind segregation. With the arrival of the civil rights movement, journalism slowly began to reform itself and to work overtime to represent underrepresented political and social points of view. There developed a great tolerance for viewpoints and perspectives from ideological minorities, and a great hunger to represent those views not only in the media product but also in the media workforces. First opposition to the Vietnam war and then the hunting of Richard Nixon accelerated this trend, so that old media quickly evolved into a fortress of "oppositional" reporting and personnel.

The new recruits to big journalism and their mentors did not work overtime to assure that, in the elevation of tolerance of ideological minorities, there would remain representation of majoritarian points of view. In fact, majoritarian points of view became suspect, and the focus of pervasive hostile reporting and analysis. Crusading journalists seemed to be an ideological pack. By the time the new millennium arrived, legacy media was populated at its elite levels by as homogeneous a group of reporters / producers / commentators as could ever have been assembled from the newsrooms of the old Hearst operation. Big Media had hired itself into a rut--a self-replicating echo chamber of left and further-left scribblers and talkers and self-reinforcing head nodders who were overwhelmingly anti-Republican, anti-Christian, anti-military, anti-wealth, anti-business, and even anti-middle class. These new journalists had no tolerance for majoritarian points of view, and the gap between the producers of the news and the consumers of the news widened until the credibility gap between the two made Lyndon Johnson's look modest by comparison.

It's a good read. But what I find interesting is the response of the liberal media to the obvious bias problem. In many ways, it reminds me of the response of Democrats to their election losses.

Both blame everyone but themselves. Democrats think all those who didn't vote for them are right wing bigots. The MSM blames non-liberal media and blogs for its declining ratings.

Both have views that are out of the mainstream and way to the left of their audience.

And both are resisting reform. Democrats are showing almost no signs of fundamentally reassessing their ideas and are instead hiring linguists to simply make their old ideas sound better. The MSM refuses to acknowledge its bias, and are instead making noises about how blogs should be regulated and looking for legal relief. The MSM doesn't believe its bias is a problem. Interesting.


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