Newt Gingrich Attacks the So-Called “Liberal” Media—But What Liberal Media?
Writing for The Nation, Erik Alterman explores the frequent conservative critique that the mainstream media is “liberal,” which immunizes Republican candidates from all sincere journalistic efforts to point out fallacy, inaccuracy, or hypocrisy in their positions.
Conservatives are extremely well represented in every facet of the media. The correlative point is that even the genuine liberal media are not so liberal. And they are no match—either in size, ferocity or commitment—for the massive conservative media structure that, more than ever, determines the shape and scope of our political agenda.
In a careful 1999 study published in the academic journal Communications Research, four scholars examined the use of the “liberal media” argument and discovered a fourfold increase in the number of Americans telling pollsters that they discerned a liberal bias in their news. But a review of the media’s actual ideological content, collected and coded over a twelve-year period, offered no corroboration whatever for this view. The obvious conclusion: News consumers were responding to “increasing news coverage of liberal bias media claims, which have been increasingly emanating from Republican Party candidates and officials.”