I Don’t Believe the Liberal Media

I have seen this bumper sticker a couple times now. I did a little research about where it’s coming from.

“Mark Levin promoted NewsBusters and its parent organization, the Media Research Center, on his radio show today. “Everyone knows the media have a very strong left-wing bias," Levin noted.” This guy has a nationally syndicated radio show on the conservative stations – the ones that carry Rush, Hannity, etc. I have heard him a couple times. He spews right wing bile for several hours, and has a great deal of anti-mainstream angst. He can keep any tired driver awake; either annoying the hell out of them with the junk, or finding ways for sheep to follow him.

This bumper sticker is promoting a program to “debunk” certain media they don’t like, or trust, especially those with more left-leaning editorial staffs. The program is called Dialogue New Media, associated with NewsBusters, led by a guy named Matthew Sheffield. From his web page:

At Dialog New Media, Sheffield works with corporate, policy, and campaign clients to help them effectively utilize blogs, social media, and video. Some of his firm’s clients include the Weekly Standard, the San Francisco Examiner, Heritage Action for America, and the Washington Examiner.

Prior to starting DNM, Sheffield operated RatherBiased.com, a blog credited by the New York Times as being most influential in the "Memogate" scandal that led to the ouster of veteran CBS anchor Dan Rather. Founded in 2000, it was one of the first political or media blogs on the internet.

Let’s break down the message above. First, his rightist media is patently against The New York Times, and at the same time, proud to be credited by it for its supposed influence. Next, as a prime example if its work, Sheffield is also proud of taking down Dan Rather, when the story Dan Rather reported on, though not sufficiently checked, was actually true and valid. His work inflamed a bogus media flare-up which pushed out Dan Rather. Why? Because he values his reputation and the integrity of his profession, that’s why. These people make use of private media enragement to stir up a false front.

Let’s look at the bumper sticker. “I don’t believe the liberal media.” I’m not sure who the liberal media are; perhaps the mainstream media, the larger selling media, like the three big television and radio networks, and major news purveyors, like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, CNN. This might even include Reuters and the Associated Press, I don’t know. Each of their public statements on bias is entirely transparent, and if you ask any of the journalists on their staff, they will say they have no intentional bias. Both publish or broadcast liberal, conservative, alternative, and even bizarre points of view. I concede some studies have shown that some journalists, perhaps even a corpus, are more liberal than conservative. But the credo of journalism is to be the medium, not the message, and that is the documented and deliberate effort of the mainstream media. Most of these outlets have roots that go as deep as the Fairness Doctrine, and non-profit news production. They pursue news, and it is based on sensory, empirical evidence, and a representative sampling of public opinion at large.

Do they miss the mark sometimes? Sure, you bet. That is not the point.

To “Not Believe” a major segment of widespread media is to authorize an alternative reality, one based on whatever ideas the non-mainstream media spout. Under these circumstances, fakery, trickery, and any sort of falsehood – call it what you may – is entirely legitimate. This is how cult leaders gain a following of sycophants. If you don’t have empirical facts, then you have whatever the leaders push. The ones who are especially vulnerable to this are the religious, because the basis of their worldview is supernatural, by definition. In other words, if you don’t believe in reality, you might believe anything. And when the fantasy world claims to be moral, biblical, and emotionally stimulating, they can hook you real good.

I will say, it seems like Missouri Republican Todd Akin might live in this fantasy world, as an example. He thinks women’s bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape." This sort of magical thinking is easily dismissed and forgotten by people in the reality based world. They know it’s ridiculous, has no basis in science, and they forget about the guy. But, Akin pledged to carry on with his campaign. Then he backtracked: "I misspoke one word in one sentence on one day.” Ya think!?!? Still, some people will vote for the guy, and some of those will have followed this story and agree with him. And why not? Anything is possible in the alternative reality. I understand that most Republicans (would that be accurately described as The Republican Mainstream?) did not approve, and have urged him to get out. And there are some heavy hitters with deep pockets in that party, so they will make it happen. Even though many of those big-shots also fund The Media Research Center. Go figure. Mike Huckabee evidently visits this fantasy world, and Mitt Romney makes regular appearances there as well.

So Mark Levin and his broadcasting buddies, all of whom avoid any media that is not for profit, need to make sure they have lots of fans, each of them good consumers buying the products on their ads; because they believe in capitalism (more funding!), unlike those liberal socialists. Their shows purport an allegiance to a core of conservative feel-good mantras, like “Government is bad,” and “Obama is a liar,” and “Your tax money is going down a black hole.” None of these have any general factual basis, but they help indoctrinate, endear and enrage listeners. And there are isolated minor examples to bolster their case. Their staff will find them, somewhere, somehow. And if you accept these pretenses, heck, you’ll believe anything.

Call or click now! Get your bumper sticker!

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About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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One Response to I Don’t Believe the Liberal Media

  1. Sheila Brown says:

    After reading your article summarizing your opinion of the conservative publics reasons for following people like Mark Levin, I am even more grounded in my beliefs that the media is completely controlled in ” their reality ” ideologies.

    How can you make a statement the generalizes the followers of conservative public radio as being in a fantasy world? You basically came out with your non believing ” worldly attitude and proclaim that anyone who believe in the super natural is living in a Fantasy world? One example of controlled media through liberals agenda is the news conference that will be given today on gun regulations by the imperial president. He will have children around him while he presents his proposed new laws. How liberal of a tactic can this be? Also, how come mainstream media only gave small coverage to the Benghazi tragedy. There hasn’t been an ambassador killed in 30yrs.! Is it because there was a cover up…of course. Listen the mainstream media is not going to bite the Hand that feeds them.

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