Friday, October 31, 2008

The liberal media

Conservatives complain that the media is biased in favor of Obama, and this bias is held up as further evidence that the nation's central institutions have been infiltrated by "liberals."

The major media are undoubtedly biased toward Obama, but this should not be a problem in itself. Every organization will exhibit some institutional bias reflecting its ownership and whatever operational mandate may fall into the hands of executives. In the case of major American news outlets, these consist of several large corporations, integrated into even larger conglomerates, which distribute information from centralized operations in New York or Washington, D.C. to the rest of the country. They take different positions on different issues like anybody else.

If conservatives want to take a principled stand on the harmful effects of media bias, they would oppose the centralization of news which inevitably leads to one or two perspectives being imposed on everyone, and inevitably arises from the deregulated corporate model. Short of making this argument, conservatives merely gripe that the quasi-monopolies which distribute news don't have a different bias -- namely, whatever conservatives endorse. But because American conservatism advances the corporate model as its ideal, it cannot make a principled argument in favor of fairness. Fairness would mean introducing a range of competing viewpoints into the "news format," something that does not happen under monopoly conditions.

No comments: