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14.11.02

skippy reccommends Eric Alterman's new book, What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias And The News. I haven't read it, but I can guess I'd probably agree with much of what it says, insofar as it debunks the "liberal media" myth. As far as I can tell, the media's primary bias is not located on the political spectrum. The media is biased toward personalities, simplistic confrontations, swallowing spin instead of doing real investigation, and reporting the same stories that every other media outlet is reporting.

But I have to take issue with a point made in Amazon's review of the book:
The contemporary argument over media bias features just two points of view. The right argues that the media is biased toward leftists. The center argues, in the words of "Dean" David Broder of The Washington Post, "There just isn't enough ideology in the average reporter to fill a thimble." The idea that the media might, for reasons of ownership, economics, class or outside pressure, actually be more sympathetic to conservative causes than to liberal ones is widely considered to be simply beyond the pale of civilized discourse.


Whoever wrote this has clearly not paid any attention to the Left recently. The theme of "the media is the tool of corporate elites" is as common among the anti-WTO set as the "liberal bias" argument is on the Right. The lecturer I mentioned in my last post, for example, made a big deal out of the conservative slant of the mainstream media, listing the New York Times in the same breath as the Wall Street Journal. I suppose it's understandable that the reviewer could have missed this, though, since the mainstream media rarely pays much attention to these accusations of conservative media bias.

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