What liberal media? Part 2

ABSTRACT: The conventional wisdom is that the mainstream media has a liberal slant. Here’s part 2 of my refutation of the liberal media myth based on the information that we do NOT receive from it. There’s been little mainstream media coverage of gerrymandering, obstructionism in Congress, Supreme Court decisions that favor the wealthy and corporations, our growing and disproportionately minority prison population, our inefficient health care system, and the consolidation of the mainstream media into six huge corporations.

Our mainstream, corporate media are for-profit corporations, focused on selling advertising and making a profit by reporting the sensational and the titillating, rather than stories of substance and significance. Where’s the coverage of what truly ails our economy and our country? Where are the stories about how, by working together, we can address important issues? That’s what a truly liberal media would cover and I don’t see much of it in our mainstream media. My blog is designed to fill that gap for those of you who don’t have the time to peruse other sources of information.

FULL POST: The conventional wisdom is that the mainstream media has a liberal slant, despite the fact that it is owned by large corporations. Here’s part 2 of my refutation of the liberal media myth based on the information that we do NOT receive from it. I don’t believe we get the information we need to be informed citizens and voters from the mainstream media. My blog is designed to fill that gap for those of you who don’t have the time to peruse other sources of information.

This post is a continuation of my summary of a listing of issues that the supposedly “liberal” media have barely covered based on a recent article on Daily Kos (http://www.dailykos.com) entitled “15 things everyone would know if there were a liberal media.” [1]

  • The manipulation of the boundaries of US House members’ districts to gain political advantage is called gerrymandering. While not a new phenomenon, it has been carried to a new extreme in the last 25 years. It is a significant contributor to the gridlock in Congress. You probably haven’t heard much about this except in my recent blog post: http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2014/03/09/government-gridlock-and-gerrymandering/.
  • Speaking of gridlock in Congress, you probably haven’t read a lot about the number of bills, judges, and executive branch positions that Congressional Republicans have blocked. For my blog’s coverage of this, see, for example, http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2013/10/17/republican-sabotage/.
  • Supreme Court decisions allow wealthy individuals and organizations, primarily corporations, to spend unlimited sums in our political campaigns. The Citizens’ United decision in 2010 and the McCutcheon decision in early April give wealthy individuals and organizations bullhorns for political speech and contributions, drowning out the voices of average citizens. For information on this issue, see, for example, http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2014/02/28/how-money-is-corrupting-our-politics/.
  • The number of people in our prisons has grown dramatically with significant over-representation of minorities. With 2.3 million Americans in prison, we have more people incarcerated than any other country, including China which has 4 times our population but only two-thirds as many prisoners. With 5% of the world’s population, we have 25% of the world’s prisoners. The US prison population is roughly 5 times what it was in 1980, despite falling crime rates. For-profit prison corporations are one interest group that has pushed for increased incarceration. Blacks are 39% of the prison population but less than 14% of the overall population.
  • US health care costs are the highest in the world, while our health outcomes are among the worst. The US spends $8,233 per person on health care while Norway, with the second highest health care costs, spends $5,388. We spend 17.6% of GDP (our total economy) on health care while the Netherlands, in second place, spends 12%. For more information, see: http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2011/12/09/medicare-and-medicaid-and-our-health-care-system/.
  • Exploiting racial and ethnic prejudices, albeit somewhat subtly, has become standard fare for some political campaigns. Built on the concepts of Nixon’s Southern strategy from the 1960s, some people refer to the current version as “dog whistle” politics, because only those sensitized to it, sometimes subconsciously, hear it. For more detail, see Bill Moyers’ website at: http://billmoyers.com/episode/ian-haney-lopez-on-the-dog-whistle-politics-of-race/.
  • Bees may well be the “canary in the coal mine” for the dangers of high tech, high pesticide agriculture. Bees, which are needed to pollinate much of our food supply, are dying in huge numbers. For information on this, see my blog post: http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2013/08/10/banning-bee-killing-pesticides/.
  • There’s been a tremendous consolidation in the media industry. Six huge corporations now control roughly 90% of the media in the US: Time Warner, Disney, News Corporation (Fox), Viacom, Comcast, and CBS. This corporate consolidation and lack of competition are reasons our news coverage is narrow and not liberal. It’s ironic that as our “news” becomes more and more infotainment, we get some of our best news and analysis from our entertainers, such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Our mainstream, corporate media don’t have a commitment to providing the information needed to have the informed citizenry that a democracy requires. They are for-profit corporations, focused on selling advertising and making a profit by reporting the sensational and the titillating (e.g., scandals, tragedy, crime, celebrities, disasters, and the like), rather than stories of substance and significance. In-depth information, investigative journalism, and analysis, the things a truly “liberal” media would cover, are sorely lacking. Where’s the coverage of what truly ails our economy and our country? Where are the stories about how, by working together, we can address important issues? That’s what a truly liberal media would cover and I don’t see much of it in our mainstream media.

[1]       Akadjian, 8/7/13, “15 things everyone would know if there were a liberal media,” Daily Kos http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/07/1229087/-15-things-everyone-would-know-if-there-were-a-liberal-media?detail=email

What liberal media?

ABSTRACT: The conventional wisdom is that the mainstream media has a liberal slant. The best refutation of the liberal media myth is the information that we do NOT receive. There’s been little mainstream media coverage of corporation-friendly “trade” agreements, outsourcing and downgrading of jobs, growing inequality of income and wealth, the power of corporations in our supposedly democratic process, the out-of-control financial industry, and the undermining of the middle class. My blog is designed to fill that gap for those of you who don’t have the time to peruse other sources of information.

FULL POST: The conventional wisdom is that the mainstream media has a liberal slant, despite the fact that it is owned by large corporations. The best refutation of the liberal media myth is the information that we do NOT receive. I don’t believe we get the information we need to be informed citizens and voters in the mainstream media. My blog is designed to fill that gap for those of you who don’t have the time to peruse other sources of information.

My favorite examples of information NOT provided by the mainstream media are the Trans-Pacific Partnership “trade” agreement and Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement along with the President’s effort to have them considered under a Fast Track process in Congress. These “trade” agreements, which are more about economic, regulatory, and legal issues than trade, will benefit multi-national corporations at the expense of US workers, consumers, and citizens. These agreements will hurt local businesses, the middle class, our health, and our national sovereignty. Nonetheless, there has been very little coverage of them in the mainstream media. You can read about this in my blog. See, for example: http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2014/01/20/history-and-leaks-make-case-against-trade-treaties/.

There was a nice listing of other issues that the supposedly “liberal” media have barely covered in a recent article on Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com) entitled “15 things everyone would know if there were a liberal media.” [1]

Here’s a partial summary:

  • Jobs, especially good, middle class jobs, have been outsourced or converted to temporary or part-time jobs. The result is high unemployment (despite an economic recovery) and stagnant wages. Since 2000, US multinational corporations have cut 2.9 million jobs in the US while increasing overseas employment by 2.4 million. And the number of temporary and contract workers is growing rapidly. They now represent 12% of the workforce. They typically have no job security, receive no benefits (such as health insurance or retirement), and often receive low pay. There’s been little coverage of this in the mainstream media but my blog has covered it: http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2013/09/02/labor-day-and-the-middle-class/.
  • Inequality of income and wealth has grown dramatically in the last 30 years. The wealthiest 1% of Americans own over a third of all the wealth in the US. These 3 million individuals have almost 3 times as much combined wealth as all of the 240 million individuals who make up the least wealthy 80% of Americans. See my blog for more detail. For example: http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2013/11/06/us-capitalism-is-out-of-control/.
  • The tax cuts and loopholes instituted in the last 30 years have provided huge benefits to the wealthy, increasing inequality. Cuts in income tax rates, special low rates on investment income, reductions in the estate tax, loopholes for off-shore investments, and other tax laws disproportionately benefit the well-off and shift the tax burden to the middle class. They also reduce government revenue, which leads to cuts in services and programs that help the middle and working class. See my blog post on how income tax rates have changed over the last 35 years: http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2011/11/27/income-tax-rates-an-historical-perspective/.
  • Large corporations through lobbying, campaign spending, and organizations like The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have bent our governments, including tax policy and regulation, in their favor. ALEC is a corporate sponsored-organization that drafts laws for consideration by state legislatures. It then finds friendly legislators in multiple states whom it works with to promote these corporate-friendly proposals such as public education privatization, anti-worker laws, laws to promote gun sales, laws to block regulation of corporation behavior and products, including environmental, health, safety, intellectual property, finance, and other regulations. For more information, see Bill Moyers’ website at: http://billmoyers.com/spotlight/eye-on-alec/.
  • At the federal level, for 66 years the Glass-Steagall law kept risky financial investing by Wall St. corporations separated from government-insured deposits. Based on a multi-year, concerted campaign by Wall St., that law was relaxed and eventually repealed. As a result, a series of financial crises occurred, capped by the great crash of 2008. We haven’t heard much from the mainstream media about this pattern of deregulation and financial crises, or Wall Street’s continuing fight to avoid regulation. My blog has covered this multiple times. See, for example: http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2012/03/25/the-2008-financial-collapse-context-and-follow-up/. I’ve also blogged on the minimal penalties on the financial corporations and their executives for their illegal and unethical behavior. See, for example: http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2014/02/06/weak-penalties-for-financial-corporations-misbehavior/. In general, see my blog category “The banks & the financial system.”

More examples of what you do NOT learn about from the mainstream media will be in my next post.

[1]       Akadjian, 8/7/13, “15 things everyone would know if there were a liberal media,” Daily Kos http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/07/1229087/-15-things-everyone-would-know-if-there-were-a-liberal-media?detail=email