I want to take a moment and play a little “game.” You can consider this game a sort of “role playing, make believe” game.
I want you to imagine you are an everyday person, and that you go in search of a car to purchase.
You begin your search in good faith, assuming that people want to sell you a car with the intent that you can afford it, drive it, and not have to do repairs to make it run unless you agree that you’re willing to do that.
You go out in search of a car throughout all of the local car dealerships, but are surprised to find that pretty much all of them are selling from a perspective that is not just not in line with your expectations, but that is generally dishonest.
This process rankles you so very much that you seriously consider starting your own car dealership based on the ideas and ideals you think should be common among car dealers.
Finally, after searching for far too long with no success in finding a dealer you consider to be honest, you set out in earnest to start your own car dealership that embodies the principles you believe to be reasonable.
When your dealership is started, you go virtually unnoticed by the bigger, more powerful dealerships, but as time goes on, it becomes obvious that you’re “taking a pretty serious bite out of” their market.
You conclude that this is not a surprise, as you’re pretty sure that many people who have tried to buy automobiles have had similar experiences to your own. Put simply, you somewhat expect that others will want to be treated as you desired to be treated by those many dishonest car dealers out there.
Before long, the dealers are beginning to see their market slipping away. You’re not taking all of their clients, but a significant number of them now come to you when they’re in the market for a new car.
Funnily, your presence in the market, makes it so other “honest” dealers pop up. One could say they are “emboldened by your success.” This makes the “old guard” that much more concerned.
The begin to denigrate you, They begin to lie about you. They begin to attack you. They begin to try and smear your reputation. Interestingly, the “new guys” in the game with you, don’t generally do that. Maybe it’s because they see your existence as important, maybe not. Nonetheless, you have their support by and large, and support them when the entrenched, dishonest dealers try to find ways to take their business or put them out of business.
On top of everything, you try to applaud the “old school” dealers when they do things that make them at least look if not actually be more honest. That does not seem to endear you to them though—it might even make them dislike you the more.
One definite outcome of the sequence of events that puts you where you now find yourself, is that you appear to be distinctly different from the folks who were already in the market; and the folks long in the market do all they can to make that into a bad thing.
Perhaps at this point, you’re wondering what any of this has to do with media bias. Some of you may be very well aware at what I am driving. For those who are not, allow me to take a moment to explain.
For a very long time here in the United States (and possibly in other parts of the world as well), there has been a more or less unified news media “presence.” This is true to the degree that, you could find the “origins” for many of their reports in a couple of places and trace the resultant reports from those origins. The origins have names like UPI and the Associated Press or AP.
The point is, if you wanted news that was not “sourced from” one of these lovely “founts of (supposed) wisdom,” you were hard put to find it. About thirty five years—maybe a little more, maybe a little less—ago, certain individuals began to challenge the reporting of the mainstream news media.
Just as in our car dealership scenario, they were initially ignored—considered by many to be “kook fringe” folks. You’ve heard their names, and maybe even heard them speak now and then. Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Michael Savage and others. Then, not too much after that, came a network (I think technically “branched off of” an existing network) called the Fox News (not sure which part of Fox came first, not all that important) Network.
All of these folks pretty generally argued that the mainstream news media presented news with a decidedly liberal bias.
They sought to counteract what the mainstream media was doing and saying, by reporting from somewhere between a moderate, and a strongly right-leaning viewpoint.
Some of them purported to be “news” people, some made no such allegation. Put in simplest terms, they “billed themselves” essentially as editorial or opinion based speakers.
Though it surprised the mainstream news media folks, many were entirely undisturbed or surprised, that the viewpoints of these “kooks” gained them vast audiences.
One important realization about these folks is that, though they appear to be “right leaning,” if their assessment of the mainstream was valid (and looking at their evidence, it appears it was), some of them are, some are not. This should come as zero surprise. You see, if the mainstream media was as “left leaning” as it appears to be based on various “data mining expeditions” done by more conservative entities, those who seek to “counteract” that lean, more or less needs must “come off” looking right leaning by comparison.
One more important point. Rush Limbaugh’s “pitch man” regularly refers to him as “The big voice on the Right!” The point being that Mr Limbaugh is pretty much stating openly on the air that he is a “right leaning individual.”
And almost all the other folks who live in the “same little Universe” do the same.
For a very long time, the mainstream media, on the other hand, has made two claims, neither of which appears to be valid.
Firstly, they claim to have no bias. This would be a very hard case to make, considering how easy it is to “be to the right of” them.
Secondly, they have claimed to be the “arbiters of truth.” Funny thing is, more and more, they have been “dinged for” everything from “light falsehoods” to outright lies (that have literally caused them to ditch long revered media icons).
You may believe that the mainstream news media is the unbiased arbiter of truth. As for me, I don’t make that assumption about the left leaning news organizations, the ones that claim “centrism” or even those on the right.
Okay, must call this good, over my “word limit” and running quickly out of time!
As usual, thanks for reading, and may you have the best of times.