We’ve all heard it: there’s a” Liberal Media Bias” out there and those poor Republicans can’t get a fair shake because of it. There must be an evil cabal, controlled by George Soros we assume, that pulls the strings of the talking puppets on air and forces them to make liberals look good and conservatives look evil. Based on the way the right paints this liberal media bias, we can only assume that this makes its way into every level of the media. It’s so pervasive that not even the clear right-wing bias of Fox “News” can balance the scales. This sounds like a conspiracy theory fit for a Hollywood blockbuster, which would be appropriate since it’s a work of fiction.
I’ve been working in the broadcast industry for 20 years now and I’ve always been on air. I’ve worked for big companies and little companies in markets all over America. I’ve done everything from straight news to all opinion-based talk radio. I’ve talked about politics, conspiracy theories, religion, and every “hot button” topic there is. But never once have I been approached by this “liberal cabal” to tell me what I can and can’t say. I’ve never had a boss come and censor me or tell me I’m not allowed to talk about a certain topic (except FCC fineable offenses, of course). I’ve never had another on air talent tell me that they were censored by the boss either. These days, I’m the boss that’s in control of my two radio stations and the on air DJ’s. I’ve yet to get a memo from George Soros & co. telling me what agenda I’m supposed to be pushing. No “cigarette smoking man” has waited for me in the shadows to give me the latest liberal memo. If there’s a liberal media conspiracy, I would be a leading candidate for recruitment. But it hasn’t happened because there is no liberal media conspiracy. But I do understand where this all started…
Most news outlets try to keep things unbiased, which means they report the facts and sometimes the on air talent will draw a logical conclusion based on the facts. And that’s where they end up sounding “liberal”, because as I’ve pointed out before, liberal & logical go hand-in-hand. So when someone covers climate change as a fact, or points out that Sarah Palin gives dumb answers, or that rape CAN cause pregnancy, or reports any facts that are contradictory to the republican talking points… they get called “liberal”. As it turns out, if you’re actually “fair & balanced” you end up sounding liberal, which drives the right nuts.
News in the 21st century is advertiser-based programming (you could easily make a case that it shouldn’t be, but for now, it is) and the only way that can succeed is by building up an audience to buy the products that are advertised. There are two main ways to do that, either cater to the masses or target a niche audience. For those going after the masses (like NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, etc…) it’s in their best interest to not show a bias. Others like Fox “News” & MSNBC have gone after the niche audience by showing an obvious bias. But that’s a business decision and not part of a media conspiracy. Perception is the only reason that the media appears to be more “liberal”. The majority of people in America have “liberal” views so there are more media outlets that reflect those views. The “Liberal Media” conspiracy theory is another example of the fact that conservatives are out of touch with mainstream America and must have a boogie-man to blame for their shortcomings.