Saturday, January 3, 2009

MSM Reponse to Obama

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo notes evidence of a rightward tilt to mainstream coverage of President-elect Barack Obama's transition.

But the journalistic establishment in Washington, whether it's the Post or the Politico or much of the rest of the journalistic apparatus in the city, is essentially Republican in character...

Examples include recent articles from The Washington Post:

Conservatives fear that some of these Obama transition advisers are too far left on the political spectrum and are a sign of radical policies to come.

and from

ABC’s Jake Tapper predicted this week that Barack Obama will be "the Britney Spears of 2009."Considering that Obama was deemed by some to be the Britney Spears of 2008, it wasn’t much of a leap.

In fairness, both articles give opposing views further down their respective pages. Still, these articles would seem to contradict the frequent conservative complaint of "liberal media bias."

Such complaints are about 30 years out of date. Big Media in the 1970's was composed of a handful of powerful voices as described by David Halberstam in his book The Powers That Be. These included the three major TV networks, Time/Life, and major newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Their slant at the time would probably be perceived as left-leaning by today's conservatives. However, this was more because they reflected the mainstream in political thought at the time than their pushing a particular agenda. For example, 1972 GOP nominee Richard Nixon advocated welfare policies that no major Democratic politician would touch today. Similarly, Democratic nominee George McGovern ran on a proposed guaranteed national income for every citizen. Conservatives such as William F. Buckley were roundly considered cranks and couldn't get published, leading Buckley to found The National Review.

Both parties have moved to the right since then. Today's media is also a much more diverse and splintered group with individual outlets often catering to niche audiences across the political spectrum. Lumping such a group into a single category and calling it "biased" in any partisan sense is ludicrous.

--Ballard Burgher

No comments: