"Clinton Hires Three-Breasted Intern": The Myth of the "Liberal" Media|
On Saturday morning I shop for groceries. Half the fun is reading the tabloids as I stand in line to pay. What is especially fun is knowing that I'm taking advantage of this crap by getting a free chuckle while I'm waiting. I pick one up, read it quickly, and stuff it back in the rack.
This morning, though, was different. This morning I saw a tabloid that drove home the point that the idea of the media being "liberal" is so ludicrous that only a moron -- a moron who is not paying attention to boot -- could still believe it.
The headline read: "Clinton hires three-breasted intern." And there she was, with three breasts sticking out, standing next to the last duly elected president.
As I stood there laughing, I started to look around. There's another one about Bill getting his own talk show, with a picture of him with a surprised look, holding a microphone. And there's another. With a story about Hil lary being gay or some other ridiculous nonsense.
Can you imagine seeing stories like this, anywhere, about Bush? I can't.
And then I noticed: there are lots of stories about Bush in these tabloids, and in some of the more "respectable" magazines, like "Ladies Home Journal." But look at the pictures of Bush. Look at the content of the stor ies about him. They're all positive. Wait. Let me revise that. They're not just positive -- they're applauding him. They're talking about his "strength," his "morality," his "faith."
The pictures of Bush make him look strong. Compelling. The stories are glowing. If you don't believe me, go look for yourself.
It all reminded me of the last time I was in one of those big, nation-wide, bookstores. It doesn't matter which one. I was there with my nineteen-year-old son, who was home from college. We were sitting having a cup of coffee, overlooking the "media" and "current events" section of the store. As we sat there and talked, I noticed all the books on the shelves with negative titles or photos of Bill or Hillary Clinton, or Al Gore.
Just for fun, I said, "Look at the books on that shelf. What do you notice about them?"
It didn't take him five seconds. He almost immediately blurted it out: "There are so many that look like they're anti-Clinton," he said almost without thinking.
Of course! It's so obvious. All you have to do is look. Publishers are falling all over themselves to publish books that attack the Clintons, or Al Gore. If you don't believe me, go look for yourself.
So how is that this myth of the "liberal" media persists? Isn't anyone paying attention? What can you say the next time you hear this crapola that the media is "liberal"? Here's what I'm going to say:
1. Tabloids and magazines belittle the Clintons, yet promote the Bushes. Next time you're standing in the checkout line, check it out. It's undeniable.
2. Books criticizing liberals are all over the bookstores' bookshelves. A recent New York Times nonfiction bestseller list, lists at least four conservative books out of ten bestsellers.
3. The number, and hours, of TV and radio talk shows with conservative hosts outnumbers the number and hours of TV and radio shows that criticize conservatives. Can you name a liberally-slanted, three hour per weekday, ra dio talk show that does nothing but slam conservatives? Didn't think so.
4. A recent article in the New York Times ("Best Seller lists get a new job," Jan. 10, 2002, page B3), reported that conservative publisher Regency (publisher of Bernard Goldberg's Bias), regularly finds 200-300 radio st ations on which its writers are interviewed and conservative books are promoted.
5. Guests on TV and radio talk shows are generally moderate to conservative. When's the last time you heard Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Paul Krugman, Joe Conason, or Robert Kuttner interviewed?
6. The content of TV issues' programs is often conservatively slanted. Compare the number of shows about "business," "Wall Street," or "investing," with the number of shows on so-called "liberal" subjects like the environ ment, unions, or other social issues. There ain't none. But there are whole networks devoted to "business" running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
7. Among newspapers in the 2000 presidential election that supported a presidential candidate, 48% supported Bush; 23% supported Gore (Editor & Publisher, 11/6/00).
8. Among newspaper publishers' personal preferences in the 2000 presidential election, 59% supported Bush; 20% supported Gore (FAIR Extra, Jan/Feb 2001).
9. The media spent eight years pursuing, investigating, and in many cases reporting, every rumor -- no matter how outrageous -- about the Clintons or Al Gore, but now ignore rumors about Bush. However, even at this moment , the media protects Bush by bending over backward to report the White House claim that nothing improper happened between the Bush administration and the collapse of Enron. It's a "business" scandal is the phrase repeated over and over.
So, next time you hear someone complain about the "liberal media," ask for some evidence. Then pull this list out of your back pocket, and plant it firmly on their nose. You won't change the world, but you'll feel a whole lot better!