Introduction to the Illiberal Conservative Media (ICM)
Guest Post by eRiposte
When Eric Alterman wrote What Liberal Media, there may have been good reasons for him to use the term "so-called liberal media" (SCLM) - to emphasize the inappropriateness of the phrase "liberal media" given the wealth of evidence suggesting the opposite. I suggest the time has come to retire that term (SCLM).
Over the past few decades, and certainly since the Nixon era, prominent conservative spokesmen and Republican leaders (and their staunch foot-soldiers in the media) invented the notion of a "liberal media" in the United States, as a means of deceiving the public and gaining political power. Quite a few excellent books have studied and chronicled this phenomenon, and among the most compelling are: David Brock's The Republican Noise Machine and Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media. Although not specifically written as a media bias research book, Joe Conason and Gene Lyons' The Hunting of the President, was clearly an indictment of the media for their inexcusably egregious "news" coverage in the Clinton era.
The basic strategy of the Republican party leadership and its spokespersons has always been to try and label facts uncomfortable to them as being "partisan" (or "liberal") and then claim to provide "balance" using misleading or false information passed of as "fact". This is a simple strategy that became successful due to the enormous complacency of Democratic leaders and the willing cooperation of the media itself (so-much for a "liberal media"). Put another way, media-bashers on the Right have long peddled the "liberal bias" story even though the facts were not on their side. On the other hand, liberals and progressives have had the facts on their side and yet been disturbingly indifferent about fighting back - until recent times. Even today, it is astonishing that the only ones fighting back the myth are grassroots liberals and progressives and not the parties on the Left (especially the Democratic party). Some Democrats go even farther in continuing to believe fake GOP and media talking points about themselves! (It is not unreasonable to ask whether a party that cannot fight for itself, is really capable of fighting for the people. I don't know the answer to that, but this is something Democrats should ask themselves. After all, Republican leaders did not win the media wars through hand-wringing. They won by attacking the media, falsely and consistently, for "liberal bias", and by forcing the media through an enormously well-funded disinformation campaign, to acknowledge their *opinions* and fake facts. Democrats on the other hand, have no reason to stoop to the same level of fakery; all they have to do is wake up and use the facts.)
I set up this website (link) because I got tired of the nonsensical "liberal media" label and wanted to do something about it. I suggest it's time to fight back against this myth energetically and seriously and stop borrowing the lexicon of the Right. I say, out with SCLM and in with ICM (illiberal, conservative media).
Now, I fully expect some people on the Right to wail at the mention of the ICM and send me article after article showing "liberal bias". Setting aside the comical notion of what often constitutes "liberal bias" to the Right, finding some or even many articles that ostensibly display such bias does not change the fact that there is far more conservative bias than liberal in the media - and has been for a long time. As I have stated clearly on this website, my point is not that one cannot find *any* examples of liberal bias. My point is that when you consider the overall behavior of the media, it does not tilt liberal; rather, it tilts conservative. I show that in multiple ways on this new website - Illiberal Conservative Media. Let me say that again. The media in the U.S. is no liberal media.
If I were to put it overly kindly, I would argue that a major fraction of the media in the United States (and here I am excluding the overtly fraudulent conservative media outlets) is a "he-said she-said" media that devotes little effort to calling a spade a spade or to an independent evaluation of supposed "facts". With such a journalistically compromised mode of operation, when inept "he-said, she-said" reporting meets generous amounts of fiction and disinformation - more from Republican or Conservative leaders or media outlets, than from Democratic or Progressive leaders or media outlets - the result is a media that overall tilts conservative. It is no surprise then that vast swaths of the American electorate remain deeply misinformed about the most important things of consequence to their lives.
I ask you to move this battle of words forward - against the "liberal media" myth - on our terms. This website was created to provide a useful single-point resource to help in the battle. The pen is still mightier than the sword and I suggest people use their pens wisely and effectively. In the coming weeks I will offer additional resources on this website to help in fighting disinformation in the media. For now, take some time to get yourself familiarized with the facts and let your friends and family know what the truth is. Every day.