mass media and the real "liberal" bias

A bunch of claims about “The Media” have become cliché now. The usual accusations of “liberal bias” or “corporate domination” (depending on your world view) are taken for granted and used to premise entire arguments, especially in one’s own political circles where examining the assumed premises has become a shocking violation of ethics.

I find it especially interesting and disturbing when the attacked media organization is a public broadcasting outlet. Maybe that’s my own bias. Left anarchist Utah Phillips (who past away last week) famously chided national public radio for its corporate ties. On the other end of the anarchist spectrum, my anarcho-capitalist friend Todd Seavey told me yesterday that he rejects the public radio organizational model in principle, because of its government support!

Meanwhile, Utah Phillips didn’t mind the coercive nature of labor laws (yes, I like labor laws, but I am not going to pretend that compliance with them is voluntary). And free-market “anarchists” don’t seem to mind the de facto coercive nature of untrammeled capitalism and the government forces that keep corporations in power (and have arbitrarily created the legal fiction of the limited liability “corporate person” to begin with).

Yet, NPR, which in my own opinion is a shining testament to the harmony of our individual and communitarian impulses, a rare and dazzling example of free, voluntary, participatory enterprise, gets reamed by both sides for not being 100% perfect.

Back in February, I met this woman at a Super Tuesday party who said she was waiting for Fox News to call the election because it was the only station she trusted. In the same conversation she said her nickname for PBS was “Pravda”. Pravda! PBS, one of the most reliably independent media sources in human history – at least one that is reliably critical of whatever government is currently in power – is “Pravda” while Fox News, which has essentially operated as an extension of the White House press office for the last seven years is the one she trusts. Go figure.

I think there is, after all, something of a connection between the media and “liberal” biases. We all tend to be liberally biased toward the media of our choice.

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