Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Musings 29--Conservative Liberal Lies

It seems that any direction you turn, you are confronted with someone saying that the national media--both network and print--are left-leaning liberal organizations. I used to hear this a lot from Fox News, but now, it seems, even the mainstream press is starting to call themselves liberal. Well, I doubt that most media is liberal biased.

When Fox started making a mark in the late 1990's, it needed something to get people to watch. They quickly came up with the "fair and balanced" theme. Everybody needs a hook, and Fox started to pound on everybody with their "fair and balanced" mantra.

Mainstream news, particularly CNN, didn't seem to pay them any mind. The first Iraq War had been covered by CNN on a 24-7 basis. They were the first to do it. They new that their place was safe in the news universe. The networks still had good anchors, and were still getting great rating. Fox was a flea on the skin of a pretty big elephant.

You also have to add to this Pat Robertson's so-called Christian news reporting. I can remember watching some of these and thinking that they were a far cry from journalism. However, Robertson had a following, and I, dare say without proof, that many of these who used to tune in Ole Pat now tune in Fox.

Anyway, the regular news folks didn't consider Fox much of a threat. I remember hearing talking heads say that Fox would probably fail big in the news biz. I wonder if they still think that? One thing about not taking something serious is that when you are wrong it is usually to late to fight back. Network news is just now coming to the realization that Fox News is for real. Yea, they only have about three million viewers on their best night. But, it is far better than CNN or MSNBC on cable. NBC, CBS and ABC still go into about 24 million houses each evening. However, the three million houses that Fox is in are a core audience that has never had a champion--until now.

Since about the mid 1990's, Fox has been telling anyone who will listen that the big three networks and the big city newspapers are all liberal leaning instruments of the Democratic Party. The networks and papers just shrugged and said, "Ah, why bother fighting them, they'll be gone within a few years." But...Fox has thrived due to all the malcontents finding a home. You see, there are a lot of malcontents in this old world.

Mr. President--probably more Karl Rove--has tapped into this group of folks who think that the liberal elite has passed them by. Fox now plays to this and so we have the basis of our current setting of how things are in the United States today.

The networks and print papers have to defend any statement they make that doesn't square with the "fair and balanced" bunch at Fox. If you add to this all of the conservative magazines that out there, then you get the idea that these guys are smelling blood. It is time the major media concerns start fight back. However, it may be too little to late.

Conservatives have painted the picture that most media is liberal. The media never ever said they were anything other than journalists. No one ever heard a newscaster say on the air at the networks or in the print media--editorial pages are the exception--that they were liberal. Most journalists have tried to be objective in their reporting. Just give them the facts has been the journalists creed for over a hundred years.

How do journalists make people understand that they are not liberal biased? Facts, facts and more facts, you say. The conservatives bide their time and when the facts are not to their liking, they yell...liberal!! A perfect example of this is the Terri Schiavo case. Most of the federal judges that wouldn't re-hear the case were appointed by Bush the Elder.

Journalists are going to have to go on the offensive against Fox Network, conservatives and the religious right. They have ignored them in hopes that they'd go away. They have not. They have only gotten stronger. So how do you go on the offensive? Now that is the $64,000 question. How do you fight the idea of conservative liberal lies?


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