There’s a huge amount of bias, both implicit and explicit, exhibited by our media. Of course, a large chunk of that bias is non-ideological per se, simply in the direction of the trivial, irrelevant, unimportant, yet somehow “entertaining.” A perfect recent example was the 24/7, breathless coverage of the complete non-story of Charlie Sheen. Another one is the ridiculous, almost non-stop, lead-story coverage of “gas prices,” as if the price of this one commodity going up 20 cents per gallon, or whatever (soon to go down again, most likely), was the Most Important Thing In The World. Again, sheer idiocy (and we won’t even get into the nearly complete lack of knowledge about energy issues exhibited by the corporate media, which wouldn’t know a barrel from a gallon, let alone what the terms “fungible” and “world oil market” meant, if their lives depended on it).
Beyond sheer idiocy, two more corporate media predilections are: 1) inclination towards coverage of freak shows; and 2) bias in the conservative direction. Three recent stories illustrate this.
First, we had the almost total media blackout of the three major court decisions (out of five total) upholding the constitutionality of health care reform. Thus, the two decisions, both by conservative Republican judges, striking down all or parts of the law, were given several times the coverage in the corporate media than equally important decisions upholding the law. What’s THAT all about?
Second was the coverage of James O’Keefe’s latest hit video, this time on NPR. Almost none of the coverage mentioned O’Keefe’s dodgy past — for instance, his “plan to ‘seduce’ and publicly humiliate CNN reporter Abbie Bourdeau aboard a boat full of sex toys –or looked into whether O’Keefe has once again selectively edited the video to make the target’s comments seem far, far worse than they actually were. Amazingly, even Glenn Beck’s The Blaze realized that — but NOT the “lamestream media.”
Finally, there’s this:
Police estimated up to 100,000 people turned out in Madison, WI yesterday to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) assault on unions, making it bigger than any protests the city has witnessed, even those during the Vietnam War. The Madison rally is part of a much larger Main Street Movement of average Americans demanding fairness in labor laws, social spending, and taxation that has emerged in Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, Michigan, and elsewhere. But yesterday’s rally in Madison is noteworthy because at 85,000-100,000, it was bigger than the biggest tea party protest, the September 12, 2009 rally in Washington, D.C., which turned out only an estimated 60,000-70,000. A photo of the Madison rally yesterday.
So, guess how much coverage the Madison rally of 100,000 people got (very very little) compared to how much coverage the Glenn Beck hatefest on the Mall – or, for that matter, the “9/12 rally” or any number of “Tea Party” rallies and/or conventions – got (24/7/, wall-to-wall, whatever other metaphor you want to use).
Now, what was that argument about there being a “liberal” media exactly? To the contrary, it’s as corporate and conservative as can be. As usual, right wingers who charge a “liberal media bias” have it exactly wrong, just as their claim that environmentalists want us all living in huts with no electricity is completely backwards (in fact, almost every environmentalist I know envisions a future of cheap, inexhaustible, clean energy produced by solar, wind, wave, geothermal, advanced biofuels, etc.). But what else is new? If you repeat the Big Lie often enough, at least some people will start believing it.