Sunday, June 09, 2002

Coloring the News

In a recent book by the above title, Matthew McGowan, describes the reasons why and the ways in which the mainstream news media slants the news to the left. The book is remarkable for the fact that it is written by one who considers himself to be a liberal.

A generation of leftists has been forced to retreat to the safety of academe by the failure of their ideas in the real world. From there, they have mounted a reactionary response to the dynamism of global capitalism, free markets, and democracy. They use their control of the curriculum and of dialogue on college campuses to promulgate their message and effect their programs. No where has this been more influential than in the liberal arts.

The result is that when journalism students talk about "changing the world" they are not talking about getting the necessary facts and information to an interested, curious and concerned electorate so that the problems facing society can be effectively engaged through the democratic process. They are talking about how they, the well educated elite, are going to manipulate the (in their view) brutish, ignorant, racist and sexist American masses into doing what they think should be done.

But the American people have become wise to and have gotten enough of this approach, and increasingly they have turned to alternatives to the mainstream news media. Most notably this has included the internet and, on TV, cable news channels such as Fox News. Subsequently, mainstream TV, newspapers, and magazines have steadily lost their audience, but they would apparently rather go out of business than change their ways. So addictive is the self righteousness of identifying oneself as the elite that it cannot be easily put aside.

The result is that their competition has captured a beach head in the media market, and mainstream news outlets have forever lost their hegemony they once had over news coverage. From here on out the interested audience can quickly flip from the mainstream account of the news to an alternative account. Facts left out or tilted by the mainstream in the service of one leftist agenda or another are quickly uncovered by the alternative news services.

Thus, conservative opinions and viewpoints have gained an increasing audience and increasing respectibility.

It is one more way in which the left has been wrong. Wrong about the people, wrong about human nature, wrong about the import of their own actions.