In America's Media Market, Searching For Fair and Balance

“I have yet to see a piece of writing, political or non-political, that does not have a slant. All writing slants the way a writer leans, and no man is born perpendicular.” – E.B. White

Accusations are flying more frequently than ever these days of rampant bias in the mainstream media. From liberal bloggers ambushing FOX news employees to Republican proposals to cut PBS funding, it seems impossible to find news sources anywhere that a clear majority would find objective anymore.

In fact, according to a Rasmussen poll conducted in April of 2010, a 55% majority of Americans believe media bias is a bigger problem in politics today than big money campaign contributions.

But here’s the interesting part: The clear majority of Republicans (68%) and even Independents (62%) were more concerned about media than money. However, a 46% plurality of Democrats found the big cash contributions to be a bigger problem than biased media.

So why are more Republicans and Independents more concerned with today’s media bias than Democrats? Maybe because the Left feels it has a tighter control over most of the media’s bias.

Surveys show that the clear majority of journalists in media throughout the last 50 years have consistently voted for Democratic candidates in every presidential election, even landslide losers like George McGovern, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis.

Admit it, if you want to hear conservative voices on any news station, who do you watch? FOX News obviously.

If you want to hear liberal voices, who do you watch? Everyone else.

It’s no secret that FOX news has dominated the cable news ratings for years. Does that mean there are way more conservatives in America than there are liberals? Not necessarily. I would argue it’s a simple matter of market and supply math.

We all know this country is pretty evenly divided, so that means there is a 50% market share of conservatives out there who probably would like to hear some voices in the news that represent their perspectives. If you’re FOX news, you automatically soak up all 50% of this market share in the ratings. I mean, where else are conservative viewers going to go?

But the 50% liberal market has plenty of options for leftist perspectives in the news: MSNBC, CNN, PBS, ABC, CBS, Headline News, Current TV, the list goes on. That cuts up this audience ten different ways in the ratings.

I also think that’s why the right-leaning Wall Street Journal is now the most circulated newspaper in America: it doesn’t face any competition for conservative eyeballs. I can’t think of any other major right-leaning newspapers on the list.

If you want to watch or read leftist perspectives in the news, by all means. But what I just don’t understand is why the Left then cries foul and points fingers at outfits like FOX news. What’s wrong with providing a rightist perspective for the other 50%?

Fox news likes to brand itself as “fair and balanced.” I would argue they are the balance in today’s media.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons