It never fails that when the discussion of liberal media bias comes up, some sanctimonious and ill-informed lefty will try to convince the crowd of the exact opposite: That it’s conservatives whose voices are most often heard in the media. Now, you and I know this is as absolutely hilarious as it is absolutely false, but the left has never exactly let the facts get in the way of a good ol’ fashioned rant on this issue (or on any issue, for that matter).
NYT Ivory Tower columnist Frank Rich is the latest in the long list of liberal elites who have whined post-election about how conservatives allegedly have a huge advantage over liberals when it comes to getting their message out. In a column about how laughable the new “No Labels” group – heavily promoted by MSDNC’s Joe Scarborough – actually is (and Rich is right on that point), the staunchly left wing columnist fumes:
Beltway conventional wisdom is equally responsible for another myth promoted by No Labels: that the Move On left and the Tea Party right are equal contributors to America’s “hyperpartisanship.” In the real world, no one could seriously believe that activists on the left have the sway over Democratic leaders, starting with President Obama, that the Tea Party has over the G.O.P. Nor, with all due respect to MSNBC, does the left have a media megaphone to match the Tea Party’s alliance with the Murdoch empire, as led by Fox News, and the megastars of talk radio.
You see, this is how conventional wisdom gets started. A casual mention in a column or article here and there can get repeated often enough that it becomes “fact” – even though in reality it’s really not true. Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters clobbers Rich’s assertion that conservatives have a leg up when it comes to media bias:
So, in Rich’s view, the impact on political thought in this nation by Fox and the conservative talk radio hosts is greater than the combined influence of ABC, AP, CBS, CNN, HBO, HLN, Hollywood movies, MSNBC, NBC, Newsweek, New York magazine, NPR, PBS, Reuters, Showtime, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles, the Miami Herald, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, Time magazine, and USA Today.
What’s even more hysterical about this distorted view of the world is the number of liberal media members that share it.
To give readers an idea of the absurdity on display, Fox News on any given day averages about 1 million viewers an hour, double that in prime time.
By comparison, the evening news programs on the three broadcast networks typically get a combined 20 to 25 million sets of eyeballs. Their morning shows garner about 13 million viewers.
This means that the morning and evening news programs of the broadcast networks attract as much as 38 million viewers each week day. Add CNN, HLN, MSNBC, and PBS into the mix, and Fox’s television impact is dwarfed by these liberal outlets.
As for radio, according to the liberally biased Wikipedia, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Michael Savage, Neal Boortz, and Laura Ingraham attract 68 million listeners a week, or roughly 14 million per day.
This means the morning and evening news broadcasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC reach significantly more than twice the audience of all the conservative talk radio hosts combined.
Make sure to read the whole thing.
It’s important to note that when media bias is even discussed, liberals try to merge mainstream media conservative bias with opinion media conservative bias in a deliberate attempt to distort the issue. The issue for conservatives for decades has been the fact that many mainstream media journalists allow their liberal biases to distort and frame their reporting, more or less not giving the viewer a chance to come to their own opinion about a news story (instead, these journalists provide it for them). Liberal talk radio hosts and columnists are supposed to be biased; same same for conservative talk radio hosts and columnists – we expect them to have opinions. They’re up front about it from the start. On the other hand, mainstream media journalists are not but unless the viewer is instinctive and can pick up on the bias, they will more and likely believe whatever the journalist reports without question.
The reason liberals try to include the Rush Limbaughs of America alongside the Fox News’ of America when talking about over all conservative media bias is because they believe it makes their case stronger that there is indeed a heavier conservative bias than liberal bias when in reality, as Sheppard points out, even including conservative broadcasters like Rush and not including liberal opinion broadcasters, you can still see that liberal mainstream media outlets like CBS, ABC, etc still reach a significantly higher amount of people than all popular conservative opinion broadcasters combined.
Frank Rich is certainly entitled to his opinion. But he is not entitled to his own “facts.”
Cross-posted to Right Wing News.