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Monday, September 13, 2004

Stanley Kurtz on CBS and Media Bias: Where We Are Now

An excellent commentary on Media Bias, and why CBS continues to stand by their story:

"We are still in transition. Mainstream (i.e., liberal) outlets are still bigger. That means they still get more attention from voters in the middle. The mainstream media cannot entirely ignore accusations of bias, and still needs to maintain a veneer of neutrality and professionalism. Up to now, the media's liberalism was most unambiguously evident on social issues. Political coverage was the one place where real efforts at balance were made. But in this election, we have seen a major shift toward bias even in political coverage. The mainstream media are now working for the Democratic party with all the enthusiasm of Wendy's 'unofficial spokesman.' In reality, of course, Wendy's unofficial spokesman is their most official and important representative. The mainstream media's relationship to the Democratic party is now about the same.
Does all of this mean that stories about media bias are futile, or even counterproductive? Not really. It simply means that it's too late for the mainstream media to reform itself. The exit of doubters is now so large that the mainstream outlets are trapped by the remaining and largely liberal audience into ever more obvious leftist partisanship. Put that together with the actual left-leaning political views of reporters, and there will obviously be no change.
The purpose of media-bias stories is now different than it once was. The goal is no longer to reform the mainstream media, but to expose it for the partisan political player it is, so as to pull as many doubters as possible into alternative outlets. Is this good for the country? I doubt it. It would be far better to have a fair and trusted mainstream media to present the news, flanked by thoughtful journals of opinion on both sides of the political spectrum. But sadly, that is not where we are."

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