Doing that left-right MSM thing

Those on the left view MSM as mainly conservative. See Posted by wildwest at 11:01 am on June 23, 2005

MSM = corporate owned, lilly-livered, roll over and don't make waves, sensationalist, full of schmuck reporters standing around in the cold and dark in front of the "scene of the incident" live at 11 pm HOURS after the incident is over and cleaned up and everyone has gone home, site of the pained look of consternation (or constipation, take your pick) while reading grammatically questionable sentence construction about the latest celebrity falderal, really only useful for lining bird cages (print edition).

Posted by Molly at 2:54 pm on June 23, 2005

Clever, but wrong. She describes media in general. All media succumb to the sensational, etc. The MSM manage to do all this and remain utterly unaware of their extremist left-wing bias. Quite talented, really, to juggle both.

Posted by Stephen A. at 9:57 pm on June 23, 2005

Well now.

Let's pause for a moment for a brief worldview statement about GetReligion, even though I know that can't speak for my non-Borg partners. This Indianapolis Star bias case is the kind of thing I hear about all the time, since most of my speaking engagements are linked to issues of religion and journalism.

I wonder, is there anyone else out there in the blogosphere/academia/news biz who has, on the within-reach bookshelf above his or her desk, a copy of Ben Bagdikian's classic The Media Monopoly sitting right next to a copy of Marvin Olasky's Prodigal Press?

The first is a touchstone book for the left and the latter plays the same role for the right.

Both books argue that the basic structures of journalism are biased. And both of them, I believe, are right. The problem is that these books are focusing on totally different issues, when it comes to media bias.

Bagdikian is a classic political progressive -- old school. He is right that the corporate media of our day tend toward a brand of economic conservatism, especially on issues that are close to home. It is hard to get more conservative than a newspaper within shouting range of a military base that is about to be shut down. If corporations are conservative, then we live in an increasingly conservative age in journalism. Your basic one-newspaper-city newspaper is not going to be "liberal" when it comes to groups that attack the economic status quo.

The enemy is Gannett, with all of its top-down corporate culture.

Olasky is a religious, social-issues conservative. He is primarily interested in issues of faith, morality and public culture. He is a political conservative, but he bleeds on media-bias issues linked to abortion, sexuality, religious liberty, etc.

The enemy is, well, Gannett, with all of its top-down, rules-based liberalism on social issues.

Bagdikian has lots and lots of facts on his side when it comes to labor issues, economics, etc. Olasky has lots of facts on his side when it comes to social issues and religion.

In other words, the heart of the MSM is a kind of moral Libertarianism. It's kind of Clintonian economics and morality. Leave us alone and let us make lots of money. It's a Hollywood conservatism. It's a corporate thing. It's a moderate Republican thing, the brand of faith that dominates business elites.

The problem is that our age is dominated by the politics of social issues. When the first non-conservative seat on the U.S. Supreme Court bench goes open, do you expect hotter-than-hot arguments over economics or morality? Foreign policy or religion?

Do the same dynamics affect the journalism wars? Absolutely. We should expect the Indianapolis Star case to boil down to corporate leaders clashing with the morally conservative beliefs of individuals. You can read all about it in Olasky and Bagdikian.

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