Like the newscaster in the movie Network, I am “mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” At least not with the nonsense purporting that the major media in America is some sort of liberal cabal conspiring to defeat conservative principles. Such a claim is totally without merit, and the facts speak just the opposite. And that is why Newt Gingrich’s comments at a recent debate (“…I am tired of the elite media protecting Obama by attacking Republicans”) was so egregious, so wrong, and so lacking the facts.
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In fact, just a very few major companies dominate ownership of the media in our country – with dangerous implications that come with such consolidation. Moreover, these companies are clearly oriented toward their large corporate interests, and any claims that the major media in our country is skewed left is simply not true. Look at the facts – and the top 4 alone (whose revenue is over $250 Billion annually):
GE: General Electric media-related holdings include a minority share in television networks NBC and Telemundo, Universal Pictures, Focus Features, 26 television stations in the United States and cable networks MSNBC, Bravo and the Sci Fi Channel. GE also owns 49 percent of NBC Universal.
Walt Disney: Owns the ABC Television Network, cable networks including ESPN, the Disney Channel, SOAPnet, A&E and Lifetime, 277 radio stations, music and book publishing companies, production companies Touchstone, Miramax and Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, the cellular service Disney Mobil
News Corp: Rupert Murdoch’s media holdings include: the Fox Broadcasting Company; television and cable networks such as Fox, Fox Business Channel, National Geographic and FX; 175 newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and TV Guide; the magazines Barron’s and SmartMoney; book publisher HarperCollins; film production companies 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Blue Sky Studios; numerous websites including MarketWatch.com
Time Warner: The largest media conglomerate in the world, with holdings including: CNN, the CW (a joint venture with CBS), HBO, Cinemax, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, America Online, MapQuest, Moviefone, Warner Bros. Pictures, Castle Rock and New Line Cinema, and more than 150 magazines including Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Marie Claire and People.
These big corporations are hardly lap dogs of liberal persuasion, or close friends with the left. Their properties generally range politically from the objective center to the far right (notably the Rupert Murdoch holdings). None are markedly “left wing”.
Further when you look at the radio offerings, the skew to the right becomes even more pronounced. In his well researched book Toxic Talk, Bill Press describes how far right the daily talk shows are tilted. He refers to a survey by the Center for American Progress.
- Of the 257 news-talk stations owned by the top five commercial station owners, 91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming was conservative; only 9% was progressive
- Each weekday there are 2570 hours of conservative talk; 254 hours of progressive talk
- 76 percent of news-talk in the top ten markets is conservative; only 24% progressive.
In short, on the radio front, you can get hours of earfuls of Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and even hear the truth being savaged, by Michael Savage. Yes, you can listen to AirAmerica, but their portion of the radio dial is fractional compared to The Patriot and many other right leaning stations.
Ah, but then there is the dreaded NY Times! The poster child of the liberal dogma. They, apparently, are the ones producing all this liberal propaganda. There are two noteworthy points about The Times. The fact is, less than 1/3 of 1% of the American public actually read this paper. But secondly, I acknowledge that a vast number of additional folks do read or see on TV, stories from the NY Times in the form of wire service stories, syndications, and other forms of journalistic pick ups. (Local papers frequently pick up NY Times articles). So it does have influence, but mostly because within the journalistic world they are viewed as paragons of good writing and solid reporting.
So, what is this all about? First, a liberal cabal does certainly not dominate the news in our country; indeed, it is now almost solely owned by massive media corporations. Secondly, it is my opinion righties like to blame “The Media” because it gives them convenient cover for their own failures (read “Gingrich” here). Finally it is simply the old story of killing the messenger.
The bottom line is any press worth its salt and an ounce of integrity (and that fortunately includes most American media) will not, nor should not, skew the news towards any political bias, right or left. Evidence is the majority does not now, but the facts show positively no evidence of a liberal tilt. And let’s hope they remain fair and objective. Then, I won’t have to be “mad as hell, and won’t have to take it anymore”.