ACHTUNG: The following is not a “fair and balanced” story. It is an editorial by the editor.
I confess: One of my pet peeves over the last 20 years has been the continued assertion that the media is liberal. Having worked in the media for more than 40 years and having been accused all my life of being liberal, I think I know something about both.
Verily I say unto all readers, “liberal media” is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp or that cruel joke about “military intelligence.” It’s a dirty and lazy lie repeated virtually every day by right-wingers trying to discredit those who do not share their views.
Even some “friends,” such as Ranger Rick and Army Bob, advance this misguided notion. Rick, in a recent column, stated, “Some of my friends and all… (ABC, CBS, NBC) and CNN, MSNBC, etc. and much of the print media, present information to the public with decidedly liberal bent.”
Quoting former Secretary of State Condi Rice, “I don’t believe that for a minute.”
Let’s examine those corporately owned broadcast media:
- NBC is owned by General Electric.
- CBS is owned by Viacom.
- ABC is owned by Disney.
- CNN is owned by Time-Warner.
- Fox News, which neither Rick nor Bob seem to have a problem with, is owned by notorious right-wing mogul Rupert Murdoch and managed by former Republican strategist Roger Ailes. Its star-studded lineup of “news persons” is about as far away from liberal as the Detroit Lions have been from the Super Bowl for the last 57 years.
Corporations are not liberal. They take care of the bottom line, money, often with strong ties to conservative causes. And when corporate media editors and reporters step out of line, they are banished. Just ask Bill Maher. Just Ask Phil Donohue. Just ask Dan Rather. Just ask Keith Olbermann. Just ask me.
I acknowledge MSNBC is liberal, though corporately owned. Its sole purpose seems to be a foil to Fox News. But even MSNBC doesn’t have the guts to let Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Amy Goodman, Chris Hedges and other eloquent progressives visit their shows to discuss issues.
Anyone who tells you he or she is unbiased and objective is lying. Everybody has a point of view, especially those in the business of delivering the news. It’s OK. How can anyone not have an opinion about what’s happening around them?
It grinds me that Fox News hypes itself with “fair and balanced” and “we report, you decide.” Those who cannot see through its right-wing agenda aren’t thinking critically or are deluding themselves.
As for the print media, I’ve been in that game for a long time, and I’ve found myself marginalized even by colleagues. I learned a long time ago that reporters and editors too often do the bidding of advertisers, those who have money and are well connected. As Kalle Lasn said, “In a totalitarian society, you don’t criticize the government. In a corporate society, you don’t criticize the sponsor.”
My superiors at J-Ad Graphics for many years published a weekly column by very conservative State Senator Jack Welborn, but refused to provide a similar opportunity by anyone with different views.
Retired Grand Rapids Press editor Mike Lloyd was such good friends with Dick DeVos that the latter gave the eulogy for Mrs. Lloyd at her funeral. Editorial page editor Joe Crawford was a big-time friend of Peter Secchia.
The Press went out of its way one time to paint an unfavorable picture of activist film maker Michael Moore when he spoke at Fountain Street Church. The Press “story” mentioned almost nothing about what Moore said, described his attire and extensively quoted Dick DeVos’ wife, Betsy, on why Michael Moore was “a bad man.”
I recall a picture the Michigan Democratic Party leader visiting Grand Rapids and next to him was the local Democratic congressional candidate. She wasn’t mentioned. Would the Press have done that to Republican Congressman Vern Ehlers if he was pictured with Betsy DeVos?
Over the years, it’s been very rare to read an endorsement of a liberal or Democratic candidate in the Press.
Don’t forget the dominance of “right-thinking radio” with Rush Limbaugh and Company and Clear Channel Radio.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think right-wing bias is a crime. But let’s properly label news and editorials, the latter which I admit to with my “ACHTUNG” preface.