Opinion: What liberal media?

Joe Martin

Joe Martin

By Eric Naing

What do Bigfoot, Donald Trump’s hair and the “liberal media” have in common? They aren’t real. Republicans complain about the liberal media, but the truth is, news media in the United States skew more right than left.

While most news reporters identify themselves as liberal, there is little mention of the overwhelmingly conservative views of those who ultimately control news content: publishers and media owners like Rupert Murdoch.

Calling Fox News “conservative” might be redundant, but it bears repeating. Rupert Murdoch is a huge donor to Republicans, contributing far more money to them than to any Democrat. Similarly, Lowry Mays, owner of Clear Channel – the nation’s largest radio chain – also is a major GOP donor. Clear Channel is to blame for censoring anti-war musicians – and even Howard Stern.

Fox isn’t the only major-media outlet doing the dirty work of the Republican Party; CNN, MSNBC and other networks also are guilty. Anti-Kerry ads produced by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have been getting free coverage from news networks despite mountains of evidence refuting their claims.

Furthermore, in the buildup to and during Operation Iraqi Freedom, nobody dared question President Bush’s claims of weapons of mass destruction. Nobody was suspicious of Saddam Hussein’s alleged ties to al-Qaida. Nobody doubted that the United States would be greeted with open arms by the Iraqis. Even the supposedly liberal New York Times dutifully reported the existence of WMD and the presumed success of the occupation based on information from the now-discredited Ahmed Chalabi.

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    Then there’s CBS. When Dan Rather admitted that he couldn’t verify the authenticity of the documents used in his story about President Bush’s National Guard service, conservatives claimed this was proof that the media were biased toward liberals. But while the media focus on the credibility of CBS, questions surrounding President Bush’s service go unanswered.

    As for CBS’s alleged liberal bias, one only has to review CBS’s track record to discover that it, too, has a history of giving the GOP a free pass. Lost in the furor of Janet Jackson’s nipple was the story about CBS’s refusal to air an anti-Bush ad by MoveOn.org during the Super Bowl. And prior to that, CBS even caved to conservative pressure by shelving its Ronald Reagan docudrama, The Reagans.

    This only is the tip of the iceberg. Other examples of conservative media bias include the frenzied coverage of President Clinton’s Whitewater dealings versus the media’s indifference to Vice President Dick Cheney’s ties to Halliburton. Moreover, the media’s reluctance to show the bodies of slain soldiers at Andrews Air Force Base also stems from conservative pressure from the White House.

    For those conservatives still riled up about CBS News, it should be comforting to know, that following the forged-memo scandal, the network now has shelved a story questioning President Bush’s motives for invading Iraq. Recently, a CBS spokeswoman said, “We now believe it would be inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election.” Chalk another one up to that damn liberal media.

    Zachary Schuster’s column will appear Wednesday. Eric Naing is a junior in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected].