Liberal media

The importance of the news media can hardly be underestimated as most issues are decided by public opinion.  But how objective and fair are they?  We get an idea from a widely quoted survey taken in ’82 of ‘the prestige media’  (NY Times, Wash. Post, Wall St. Journal, Time, Newsweek, the three networks and PBS).  It said the media have a liberal bias as:

- Three times as many of their newsmen considered themselves liberal as conser­vative.

- 80% favored affirma­tive action.

- 79% believed in the welfare state.

- 80% voted democratic from ’64 to ’76.

 Why are they liberal (despite the fact most Americans are conserva­tive)?  One reason (said David Brinkley) is that liberals tend to go into the media, and conserva­tives tend to go into business.

‘Liberal’ means an ideal, equal world in which we all are the same and have the same.  But since many people have more than others, the old ways [capitalism, smaller government] are bad; and we need new ways [socialism – regulation, subsidies, more entitlements] to level the classes.  Conservatives feel the opposite.


  • Media liberals say capitalism caused the Depression and government got us out of it.But conservatives say the govern­ment caused it and made it worse.
  • Many in the media snicker at ‘status quo’ presidents like Harding, Coolidg­e, Hoover, and Eisen­hower. They prefer FDR, and JFK.
  • Many found the 50s sterile and gloried in the protests of the late 60s.


[Business mostly owns the media, yet:]

The media and business have always been hostile. Each sees the other as dominant; each would like to dominate.

  • When profits in business are big, the media complains; when losses are big, silence.
  • When G.M. made big profits and closed a plant, it was a con­spiracy.
  • When more college freshmen than usual signed up for business, it was a rise in the ‘greed index’.
  • When AT&T was broken up and banks deregu­lated, these ‘helped the rich and hurt the poor’.
  • When capitalism brought great progress to parts of China in the 80s, our media stress the problems. They said the economy there was ‘overheating’ and the govern­ment should restrain it. A reporter interviewing a new millionaire there, asked him if his success hadn’t created ‘inequality’.
  • Once there was a report on 20/20 about how much better various businesses did when government got out of regulating them.The reporters, Hugh Downs and Tom Jerrel, were surprised.

The underdog

  • The media favor labor over management, tenants over landlords, the poor over the rich, minorities over the majority, consumers over big business, the youth over those over 30.
  • The media pity the irresponsible poor without talking to those they hurt: mer­chants, insurance companies, employ­ers, credit bureaus, teachers, police, etc. They feature the poor who do not work more than those who do.
  • The media indulge criminals who have a thousand excuses for their crimes.
  • The media interview prisoners more than guards, rioters more than non-rioters.
  • Connie Chung did a program on a teenager whose crimes were so bad, he was labeled a ‘poster child for capital punishment’. (Why ‘child’?) It was about how the system had ‘failed’ him, not how he failed the system.
  • When an incorrigible in prison was put in a diaper and shackles, a reporter called it ‘draconian.’ When another was put in shackles by a guard, a reporter (Tom Jerrel of 20/20) asked if the guard was ‘paranoid’.
  • Mr. Jerrel also did a one-sided report on a home for delinquents, portraying them as victims of a heartless staff.


  • Detention for illegal aliens is ‘dehu­manizing’. Confronting a delin­quent about his crime is ‘brutal.’ Getting recover­ing al­coholics up at 6:00 am is ‘tough’. Spanking is ‘beating.’ Rules are ‘regimenta­tion’. Teasing is ‘humilia­tion’.


  • A noted author wrote of the 60s and 70s, ‘White liberals saw the … ghetto through a romantic haze and extolled its music, warmth, aliveness – missing the child abuse, brutality, abandon­ment, drunkenness, addiction, disease’.
  • When the gays, the rich, or immigrants improve a neighborhood, the media say the poor were ‘pushed out’. When the poor ‘push’ the middle class out, the media don’t say much.
  • They assure us being black is hopeless, not mentioning that blacks from the Caribbean in the U.S. are far ahead of American blacks.
  • The media run down menial work – the traditional route out of poverty.
  • They are sure our poor are ‘trapped’; yet poor immigrants with limited English pass our poor every day.


  • The media favored Castro, when he first took over Cuba.
  • Tom Brokaw said congress had to ‘face up’ to providing childcare.
  • Another time his program criticized our health system for several nights, then praised Canada’s socialized medicine.


  • The media have put more respon­sibility on schools, while taking away the tools (testing, dress codes, discipline, accountability …).
  • The media anguish over the failure of public schools and give little coverage to the success of private schools.
  • The examples go on in housing, health, legal aid, etc. It’s time we document this bias.