The impossibility of changing the liberal bias in the mainstream media is almost a daily topic here.
Reader Brian sent this email with some pertinent thoughts on the topic, which I thought I’d pass along:
I’ve had your blog in my RSS feed for awhile and find your commentary insightful.
It is not a great surprise that the mainstream media is mostly liberal in its staff and work product even though the public is about 50/50 in political ideology and voting patterns.
For the longest time conservatives have complained about this bias, but until Murdoch came along to establish Fox News as a national news network, the only outlets conservatives had (aside from talk radio) were niche publications like the National Review and minor (and ignored) newspapers like the Washington Times.
Despite the success of Fox News, the media remains overwhelmingly biased with the Huffington Post (formed originally in 2005 to counter the influential Drudge Report) as the embodiment of its liberal soul.
What confounds me is why if the portrayal of conservatives by liberals is accurate–the party of the rich, for the rich–that the “millionaires and billionaires” haven’t taken them up on their stereotyping and done something about it.
Almost all of the largest media companies are publicly traded corporations. In the past decade, several media properties including most newspapers have come up for sale because of the impact of the Internet has had on their revenues. Rich conservatives could have bought them and put their own imprimatur on them, but except for the Wall Street Journal which Rupert Murdoch bought, they stayed away.
The Koch brothers are billionaires and vilified by liberals. In 2009, NBC Universal was up for sale. They could have bought it and put their libertarian ideas to work in the how NBC covers news, NBC programs TV entertainment and Universal produces movies, but they didn’t. Instead they are pouring their money into political campaigns to elect politicians to fend off regulations of Koch Industries.
Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate, would rather spend $100 million to fund political ads than spend a buck to buy Newsweek when it was literally offered for sale for one dollar (now owned by Tina Brown’s liberal the Daily Beast).
Private equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman is a mega-donor to Mitt Romney’s campaign and is known for his million dollar birthday parties. He could have bought a lucrative interest in the New York Times in 2008, but passed, letting it go to a Mexican billionaire.
What I see over and over again are rich liberals willing to invest in keeping their ideas in the public conversation through ownership of major media properties, but rich conservatives (excluding Murdoch) either opting out or contributing to political campaigns, using them as a vehicle in a roundabout way to spread their ideas.
If conservatives don’t like the way the media talks about them and their ideas, they have the ability to change the narrative if what liberals say about them are true.
Part of the problem, as I see it, is that these media properties are not generally good investments.
Additionally, it would be hard to change the culture at these places, since journalism schools churn out liberal foot soldiers, and Hollywood churns out anti-conservative anti-Christian anti-American product with ease.
Nonetheless, I think the general concept is valid.
At a certain point trying to change the unchangeable requires a new strategy, because the current strategy is not working as this past week demonstrates.