Over at American Scene a silly argument has erupted in the comment section regarding media bias. It started from the post by Conor Friedersdorf showing a quote from Jonah Goldberg in which Jonah said conservatives have many voices, some loud and harsh, some quieter and more intellectual. The comment section began as a conservative bash-fest excoriating the usual bad guys, Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, etc. When it was brought up that the left has Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, etc., the response from some was that the left is different and that there is really no liberal bias in the mainstream media, among other claims showng the left to be more fact-oriented, reasonable, moderate and intellectual. I've seen this argument now many times from moderates and liberals and the non-ideological crowd which shuns political labels -- but I can't think of a sillier argument.
Of course there are harsh attacks coming from both left and right, and regardless of each side saying the other is worse, there's no objective way to determine this -- it's a silly proposition -- there's a battle, and both sides are fighting hard. But, is there a liberal bias in the MSM? Well, it's not like a Peter Jennings ever stood up before his audience and said liberal Democrats are the good guys and conservative Republicans are the bad guys, and it's not like Rather, Brokaw or, going back further, Cronkite, never reported news unfavorable to liberals or Democrats -- but, for someone who has been watching the news since the days when there were only ABC, NBC and CBS available, there's no question that most professionals in the news busines have been liberals and have favored Democrats -- they were news professionals first, but their secondary political orientation colored the stories they covered and their analysis, and what they chose to include or exclude. Only with the advent of the new media have we seen clearly what was being left out, and what was being slanted by liberal bias.
Dan Rather is the most famous example, but the coverage of Barack Obama in 2008 is the shining example of media bias -- no Republican president could ever get such favorable coverage from the MSM and have so much of his background and associations left out of the coverage -- you can deny this and believe what you want to believe, but no objective account can truthfully say that liberal bias has not been present in the MSM. Any person using reason can look at the different types of coverage through the years, of conservatives and Republicans and liberals and Democrats, and determine that liberal media bias does exist -- it's not a primary, open bias, but secondarily, it affects the coverage.
Now, as to this current concern for harsh criticism, again, anyone who has lived long enough will not think this is a new problem affecting us in ways unknown to other generations. In many ways the debates are mild compared to the slug-fests of the past. Operatives and supporters for LBJ and Nixon were no pussycats. If many in the media trash Limbaugh at every turn, and then Limbaugh satirizes them and harshly boxes them around the ears, I say just enjoy the show and focus on the ideas involved. America has always had a little wild west in its blood.