Misunderstood Media Bias

The media is biased - but not in the way you think.

It has long been an axiom among conservatives that the mainstream media has been consistently biased against conservatives and conservative views for about forever.  In their choice of which story to cover, in their selection of panelists, in their tone, we take it more or less on faith that the conservative viewpoint will be ignored or disregarded if possible, and misrepresented if they are forced to address it at all.

This extends to political reporting most of all: any Republican candidate can count on the media to lie, cheat, and otherwise misrepresent his views at every opportunity, and a conservative Republican most of all.

In fact, this effect - realized by the overwhelming majority of Americans, even the Low Information Voters - is so pronounced that there's an unofficial axiom, first proposed by William F. Buckley's National Review:

In any given election, the media will support the most liberal viable candidate.

Strategy and Truthiness

Notice what the rule does not say: Mr. Buckley made no claim that the media would always support the very most liberal candidate.  That would be obviously silly: Lyndon Larouche, an avowed Marxist, ran for president in every election from 1976 to 2004, yet the media never treated him as anything other than the joke he was.

No, they're smarter than that: the media, so this theory goes, will evaluate the candidates that they think might possibly win and pick the leftest one.

It's an elegant theory that seems to explain a great deal.

Alas, it is a false one - and the current election proves it.

Reading lefty blogs and mouthpieces these days is causing a surreal sense of deja vu, because they sound for all the world like religious conservatives complaining about the media's bias against Mr. Huckabee or Mr. Santorum even when they were plausible and viable candidates.

The great sin of the media this election cycle is not (yet) on the Republican side.  The top three Republican candidates, who are naturally getting the most ink, are also the most outspokenly conservative: Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson, and Mr. Cruz.  The media presumably would love to help Jeb! but he's so far out of the running that they can't come up with anything helpful to say with a straight face.

No, the problem is with the Dems.  Compared with Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders is an also-ran in total media reporting, even though he's at least even if not better in the polls.

Indeed, a thorough analysis showed the bias to be stronger than we would have imagined.  Hillary Clinton receives ten times the coverage that Bernie Sanders does, relative to the public showing their interest by Googling her or him.  She also receives twice the proportionate coverage that Donald Trump does.  To put this in perspective, Donald Trump received 20 times the media coverage of his closest rival, and Google shows that he gets 20 times the searches.  Media coverage of Mr. Trump is in line with public interest in him.

But it still seems like every news report features Donald Trump?  That's true: he received overwhelmingly the most press mentions, more than twice what second-placer Hillary did.  Mr. Trump has twice the search interest of the runner-up in the "search primary," who on that metric is Bernie Sanders.  Yet Mr. Sanders got one-third the press coverage of Hillary, even though more than twice as many Americans cared enough about him to Google his name than hers.

Here's where the Buckley axiom falls down: On every relevant measure, Bernie Sanders is noticeably to the left of Hillary Clinton.  The only logical reason for a leftist media to give him the cold shoulder would be because they don't think he can win, but recent polls give that idea the lie: he's beating Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire, and polls have shown him beating Donald Trump in a general election.

We don't happen to believe those polls.  Whether based on logic or on emotion, we're more inclined towards the thesis of a potential Trump landslide.  But our point is that no sane person can argue that Bernie Sanders is not at least as viable a candidate as Hillary, perhaps more.

Yet why are the media ignoring him?  You'd think his open socialism would have the media drooling on his Payless shoes.  Perhaps they themselves are so corrupt that they simply can't stand his fundamental American honesty and patriotism?

Well, maybe.  But we think the explanation is simpler: We have misunderstood media bias all along.

Yes, the mainstream media are biased in a leftist direction.  What Bernie Sanders has proved is that this bias is neither principled nor doctrinaire.

The media bias really favors the elite Democrat establishment - or failing that, the elite Republican establishment.  By its nature, that creates a leftist bias because every single member of the establishment on both sides wants ever-increasing personal power.  This means growing the size and reach of government while creating as many profitable opportunities for crony capitalism and as many ways to do favors in return for campaign contributions as possible.

In our view, that's definitely liberal and leftist, but it's not the same thing as a "democratic socialist" like Bernie Sanders.  He wants to give power to the mob of the people, not to office blocks full of overpaid Washington bureaucrats.

Our "big government" media cannot stand the idea of the establishment politicians whom they have flattered, favored, and befriended for so long losing power.  Relatively speaking, they have ignored Mr. Sanders in spite of the voters' interest in him.  They are also attempting to ignore the building torrent of revelations of Hillary's anti-feminism, her criminal violations of our national security laws, her reckless disregard for the lives of our men in Benghazi, and on and on through the entire sordid three decades of Clintonism.

This election is shaping up to be one for the ages.  For the first time, both political sides of America are feeling betrayed and ripped off by their anointed leaders, and both sides are trying everything within their power to dethrone them so that they will have to stop wrecking our country.

And perhaps for the first time, the media bias in favor of the arthritic and overbearing elite status quo is so blatant and so contrary to the desires of all the people that maybe both sides will realize the fraud and stop paying attention to the mainstream media.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

The difference between Hillary and Bernie is ... he MEANS it.

Hillary is like so many other Democrats (and many GOP) in public life: they will spout leftist nonsense, but like them going back as far as FDR, use those principles in order to secure power, not to help out the "little guy." They will insofar as it's required to secure his vote, but the Democrat's chief interest is in wealth, power, and votes. The Clintons' grifter nature is only the most brazen example.

Once in a while, you get a Democrat who means it. He actually *will* do what he can to destroy enormous amounts of wealth by spreading it around; he will achieve as his main objective what is usually just a by-product of Democrat policies. That will cause more real economic turmoil than we've seen to date.

January 15, 2016 9:10 AM
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