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: https://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, https://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, https://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: https://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: https://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

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2 comments

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    1. Dennis, Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you liked the post. It was not written by your cousin.

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