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Monday, July 12, 2004

I put up a quick-link to this story when it first appeared in Card's paper last month, but I see the permalink there has changed. It's excellent and worth taking a look at again, and fortunately OpinionJournal has run the piece just today. Card's take on media-bias (I prefer the term "agenda") is worth reading. Here's a snip.

OpinionJournal - High Bias - "Mainstream" reporters aren't just liberal--they're fanatical.

When Fox News Channel was founded by Rupert Murdoch, the consensus was that no startup all-news cable channel could possibly compete with CNN, and if any startup had a chance, it was MSNBC, which had the combined clout of NBC's esteemed news division and Microsoft, which in those days was believed to own the future.

Now, almost a decade later, Fox News Channel has left both CNN and MSNBC in the dust. There's no guarantee that this is permanent, of course. But it certainly has the left in a panic. They hated it that American conservatism had any voice at all, back when it was confined to a few radio talk shows--remember how everybody wanted to blame Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk-radio hosts for the Oklahoma City bombing?

Now, though, to have Fox News Channel be the source for the largest portion of America's TV news junkies just sticks in their craw. How could such a thing happen? Scott Collins, author of "Crazy Like a Fox: The Inside Story of How Fox News Beat CNN," thinks he has the answer.

It's not what Fox claims--that the American news media have a pronounced and painful liberal bias, so that huge numbers of Americans had given up on TV news, only to return in droves when Fox News offered them a balanced, trustworthy source of information. No, it's that a large number of Americans believed that the news was biased. How they got this idea is that they were . . . hmmm . . . idiots? But no matter. Mr. Collins repeatedly states that the perception is what mattered, and by homing in on the audience dumb enough to think the media was biased, Fox News won the ratings race (but not, of course, the race for quality news coverage)...


2 Comments

Card's take is entertaining and persuasive . . . to me, at least; but then, I am part of the "media is biased" crowd so that doesn't really count I suppose.

I know a journalist of thirty years who absolutely bristles whenever someone mentions "media bias". She would see Card's anecdotes as, perhaps, mistake by the writers of the pieces mentioned. Certainly not of any undercurrent of bias, however.

Sometimes I mention it just to rile her. ;-)

Anyway, I like your blog. Keep up the good work!

Yeah, it's not like reporters (most of them, anyway) sit around consciously thinking of ways to get their opinions in, they just figure that their view is "moderate." And how do they know this? Because most of their colleagues have similar views. Bernard Goldberg's "Bias" is a nice read on this point.

Thanks for the kind words!

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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