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Author Topic: The lie of the left wing/liberal media  (Read 7170 times)

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Offline VekseidTopic starter

The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« on: November 06, 2010, 08:06:39 PM »
And by lie, I mean the lie is calling any sort of major media organization left wing or liberal, much less the entirety of it.

I should implement a general policy that says if you are going to use terms like left wing, liberal, right wing, etc. then you should explicitly define them when asked. You should already, but I think it might be good to prompt people, in order to get people thinking about what words actually mean, rather than blindly accepting vague connotations given to them. But for this post, I'm specifically addressing the narrative of our media.

The most accurate term I've seen used is 'corporate media'. Comcast and General Electric own NBC. Disney owns ABC. Viacom, News Corporation, and CBS are media conglomerates each their own.

They are bound, if not by their corporate owners, by the corporate advertisers who sponsor them. When you see an advertising program for a company like Boeing or McDonnell Douglas, it's not because they're selling -you- something.

They are buying the media's silence.

At least if one of them was truly liberal - as in, valuing the concept of personal freedom - one of them might take a stance against the growing attempts to return copyright to its original function - as a tool for censorship. Which of them is up in arms about ACTA?

So, as a personal plea, kindly stop referring to modern major media as 'liberal' or 'left wing'. Ever. Certainly here. If you want to convey your derision of the modern media, call them corporate by all means - I've seen conservatives do that more than liberals, honestly. My only complaint about 'corporate media' is the implication that they provide some form of journalism rather than demagoguery, via the word 'media'.

There are of course liberal news outlets, and calling organizations like the Real News 'liberal' is fine, but since the term is so corrupt and blatantly false on its face, I would appreciate it if the phrase itself was simply not used. It is a lie, and every time it is uttered just gives that lie weight.

Stop it.

Thank you.



In addition, I am, personally, quite tired of this false equivalence being thrown about. Keith Olbermann was suspended from MSNBC for making three political contributions.

And Fox?

MSNBC suspended one of its most popular hosts for making three political donations.

Fox has both raised millions for, and donated millions to, Republicans.

Fox used one of CBS's own photos of the Tea Party Rally, overlaying it with the claim "Where did CBS cover this?"

CBS's own photo.

Fox sued for, and won, the right to lie.
Edit: The specific ruling that the Fox station argued for and won on appeal is that the FCC's news distortion policy is not a "law, rule, or regulation". If you consider this, with Fox's current political power, as separate from the 'right to lie', that is your decision, but I certainly feel that it is.

Like all media, Fox has that right to lie, and Fox exercises its right to lie, lying often and lying repeatedly. We joke about Fox's lies, and the liars they give voice to - highlighting, for example, when poll results add up to 110% and other amusing things. I pulled a video of Glenn Beck's at random and picked out one of his lies in another thread, here.

The truth of the matter is, calling the liars at Fox a 'news' organization insults even the portion of corporate media they claim to stand in opposition to.

The rest of the media, as the recent suspension of Olbermann indicates, still have some shred of integrity remaining. It isn't a great deal, and certainly, without Fox as an example of how low one could stoop, I'd be blasting Olbermann right now, myself, and consider what MSNBC did to be the bare minimum.

But we don't live in that world. We don't have a journalism-focused media, we have varying displays of demagoguery.

And pretending it is something that it is not does nothing to help.

Thank you for reading.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 06:50:49 AM by Vekseid »

Offline mystictiger

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2010, 09:41:58 PM »
I really had no idea and am now in something of a state of shock. Thank you for the links and discussion.

In this country, the BBC is accused of being biased both to the left -and- to the right. I guess that means it's doing the right thing. Most of the criticism comes from media owned by NewsCorp. I wonder if that could be connected...


Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2010, 10:57:28 PM »
During the oil spill crisis, I was rather pissed off about how Sky was portraying the American media as ignoring American corporate involvement in the oil spill crisis, here. Halliburton, of course, was key among these.

But it wasn't NBC that was ignoring Halliburton's involvement - Maddow has never been their friend. Fox, on the other hand...

To me, it was a transparent attempt to drive a divisive wedge between the US and UK. As if what we need is more division. Divided people are easier to manage.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2010, 11:10:54 PM »
Thanks for the links Veks! Not something I didn't know, but it is nice to have the resourced to back up that knowledge.

Offline Dirigible

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2010, 11:26:07 PM »
The truth of the matter is, calling the liars at Fox a 'news' organization insults even the portion of corporate media they claim to stand in opposition to.

I've always preferred 'the propaganda wing of the Republican party'.

Offline Jude

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2010, 01:46:26 AM »
Claiming that situation accounts to Fox suing for the right to lie is a very dishonest summation of a complicated legal battle.

The supposed "hero" of the story was fighting against the WTVT Fox station (in Florida) because she was terminated over a drawn out battle to air a piece critical of the use of Bovine somatotropin.  She alleges she was fired to protect Monsanto where the corporation alleges she was fired over pushing to have the piece aired when it was biased, shoddy journalism.  They eventually went to court where every charge by one was dropped, and she was awarded a sum of money on something only barely related -- supposed violations of the Whistleblower statute.  The case that you claim gives them the right to lie was simply a counter-suit so that they wouldn't have to pay her the money, which they won.

By the way, Bovine somatotropin?  It's been cleared by the FDA, and although it definitely causes problems for the animals in which it's used, there is no human health risk that has been demonstrated scientifically (aka no credible evidence).  Whatever piece of journalism she was trying to push through wasn't based on good evidence, and thus probably was biased crap.  Yes, Fox doesn't exactly get the highest marks of journalistic integrity, but if you give them the benefit of the doubt here, it appears they were actually on the right side of the issue.  What muddies the water is that Bovine somatotropin was given special consideration because its used by Monsanto and it's unclear if Fox would have gone to that length to ensure the integrity of the report if the company affected hadn't been one of its advertisers.

Either way your couple-word summation of the events is incredibly misleading.  There's quite a few of assumptions within your original post, things that you state for fact that aren't at all substantiated, and using a wikipedia links as a resource is generally frowned upon.

MSNBC is called lefty because it hires commentators that are sympathetic to points of view that are held by the liberal party of American politics.  There isn't some grand confusion here, you can say you don't agree with the term, but I don't see how that gives you the right to dictate the eradication of what is obviously an effective moniker.

Calling them the corporate media simply because they're funded by corporate interests through advertising also strikes me as more than a little arbitrary.  It's like calling NPR government propaganda, any search engine that uses advertisement banners corporate portals, or an organization that accepts donations only from individuals "populist."  Corporations are not some monolithic entity with evil designs on America.  We exist in a capitalist nation meaning their interests conflict with each other in any number of ways.

Is the media sensitive to its advertisers interests?  Yes.  They're generally motivated by profit which results in all sorts of problems, but it isn't as if you see a more positive picture in forms of media that don't possess these motivations.  Look at sources of news on the internet that are divorced from such things:  if anything they're far less credible and reliable.  Sometimes being "beholden to corporate interests" means responsibility, and maybe, just maybe (though it seems kind of likely to me), that's what happened in New World Communications of Tampa Inc (WTVT-TV) v Jane Akre.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 01:47:36 AM by Jude »

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2010, 06:45:24 AM »
Claiming that situation accounts to Fox suing for the right to lie is a very dishonest summation of a complicated legal battle.

It's telling that the conservative sites bashing Akre and Wilson do not, themselves, cite the text, and I apologize for not doing so myself.

You can find the text of the Appeals Court Decision here: http://www.foxbghsuit.com/2D01-529.pdf

Quote from: Second District Court of Appeals
While WTVT has raised a number of challenges to the judgment obtained by Akre, we need not address each challenge because we find as a threshold matter that Akre failed to state a claim under the whistle-blower's statute.  The portion of the whistle-blower's statute pertinent to this appeal prohibits retaliation against employees who have “[d]isclosed, or threatened to disclose,” employer conduct that “is in violation of” a law, rule, or regulation.  § 448.102(1)(3).  The statute defines a “law, rule or regulation” as “includ[ing] any statute or . . . any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to-4-any federal, state, or local statute or ordinance applicable to the employer and pertaining to the business.”  § 448.101(4), Fla. Stat. (1997). We agree with WTVT that the FCC’s policy against the intentional falsification of the news – which the FCC has called its “news distortion policy” – does not qualify as the required “law, rule, or regulation” under section 448.102. 

...

Because the FCC’s news distortion policy is not a “law, rule, or regulation” under section 448.102, Akre has failed to state a claim under the whistle-blower's statute.  Accordingly, we reverse the judgment in her favor and remand for entry of a judgment in favor of WTVT.

Emphasis added. I wouldd suggest reading the entire thing. I will amend my post to note that the court specifically decreed that the FCC’s news distortion policy is not a "law, rule, or regulation", however, which is a different claim and not so broad, and I will concede that and apologize.

By the way, Bovine somatotropin?  It's been cleared by the FDA, and although it definitely causes problems for the animals in which it's used, there is no human health risk that has been demonstrated scientifically (aka no credible evidence).

This, however, is not correct. I don't know if you've had the stuff - you can actually notice the difference if you don't drink it quickly. I've ended up with some milk that was sour before I got home.

Whatever piece of journalism she was trying to push through wasn't based on good evidence, and thus probably was biased crap.  Yes, Fox doesn't exactly get the highest marks of journalistic integrity, but if you give them the benefit of the doubt here, it appears they were actually on the right side of the issue.  What muddies the water is that Bovine somatotropin was given special consideration because its used by Monsanto and it's unclear if Fox would have gone to that length to ensure the integrity of the report if the company affected hadn't been one of its advertisers.

There were legitimate concerns over their data gathering procedures, and it seems the claims of 'lack of compositional difference' actually means 'does not contain the artificial hormone', which are different claims.

MSNBC is called lefty because it hires commentators that are sympathetic to points of view that are held by the liberal party of American politics.

The second part of my post was referring to various claims of equivalence between NBC and Fox, as a separate concept from the previous rant. Fox is very much a political organization, oriented towards driving a political narrative. MSNBC has some liberal and left wing commentators - this does not make MSNBC itself a political organization.

  There isn't some grand confusion here, you can say you don't agree with the term, but I don't see how that gives you the right to dictate the eradication of what is obviously an effective moniker.

Again, different parts of my post. There is, right now:
1) No major media organization vying for reduction in now-obscene duration of copyright.
2) No major media organization objecting to the absurd heights that patent law has reached. Software patents in general are my main personal concern but genetic patents should concern everyone.
3) No major media organization that takes a stance against ACTA, and the mechanisms by which it is being drafted.
4) No major media organization takes a stance for network neutrality.

Outside of the modern technocracy, these concepts have no real voice. Maybe because I am a part of that culture, I feel they should have one - a big one, because all of those elements have, in various incarnations, effects on how messages can reach their audience.

Excessive copyright law and organizations such as Associated Press actively attacking fair use concepts restrict the spread of news and historical information - especially recent history. Software patents prevent me from adding certain aggregation and filtration features to Elliquiy here, for example. That ACTA is being negotiated outside of the public eye as a trade agreement not subject to congressional approval alone is disturbing.

Network Neutrality, outside of protocol level quality of service limitations (which I would support a flexible version of), threatens a return to the walled garden model. How many local monopolies am I going to have to negotiate with? How many will even negotiate with me? Adult organizations have a hard enough time as is.

So if the media in general is to be characterized as 'liberal' or 'left wing', where, exactly, are these views being proposed among them?

I would not mind if the term was given to organizations that actually are talking freely about issues like these - NPR, PBS, etc. But it isn't. When someone uses the phrase 'left wing media' or 'liberal media', they are almost invariably including the various megaconglomerates. That is dishonest and inappropriate.

Quote
Calling them the corporate media simply because they're funded by corporate interests through advertising also strikes me as more than a little arbitrary. It's like calling NPR government propaganda, any search engine that uses advertisement banners corporate portals, or an organization that accepts donations only from individuals "populist."  Corporations are not some monolithic entity with evil designs on America.  We exist in a capitalist nation meaning their interests conflict with each other in any number of ways.

I was specifically referring to advertising purchased to convince news organizations to overlook certain stories, or provide a bargaining arm with which to twist. I don't always disagree with the results - we're at least looking at nuclear power again, for example - but corporate money is a poor indicator of who deserves protection from hype and who does not.

Quote
Is the media sensitive to its advertisers interests?  Yes.  They're generally motivated by profit which results in all sorts of problems, but it isn't as if you see a more positive picture in forms of media that don't possess these motivations.  Look at sources of news on the internet that are divorced from such things:  if anything they're far less credible and reliable.  Sometimes being "beholden to corporate interests" means responsibility, and maybe, just maybe (though it seems kind of likely to me), that's what happened in New World Communications of Tampa Inc (WTVT-TV) v Jane Akre.

In general, I would agree that most corporations are composed of largely good people. Most people are good people - rich and poor.

Not all, however, and sometimes part of that 'not all' ends up with a bit of power, like the abuse of patent law Monsanto is currently committing.

I'll swap out the Wikipedia links with better sources, however. I was in rant mode.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 06:47:21 AM by Vekseid »

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2010, 12:42:53 PM »
By the way, Bovine somatotropin?  It's been cleared by the FDA, and although it definitely causes problems for the animals in which it's used, there is no human health risk that has been demonstrated scientifically (aka no credible evidence).

This, however, is not correct. I don't know if you've had the stuff - you can actually notice the difference if you don't drink it quickly. I've ended up with some milk that was sour before I got home.
I have to side with Jude on this single point. While quickly spoiling and having a lower nutritive content are indeed bad things and good reason not to buy rbST milk that does not constitute a human health risk. The court ruling in Vek's link tosses in that one line about increased IGF levels and how IGF is linked to cancer, that is a deceptive line. IGF is linked to cancer when you have overproduction of it in your own body (as the rbST treated cows most likely do, leading to a cancer risk for them). There has to a be a constant, concentrated supply leaking into affected tissues. The digestive track is generally very good at proteolysis and I see no way that consuming cattle IGF can have a negative impact on human health. I just don't think we should be blowing this out of proportion and claiming 'health risk' unless there is some definitive research on the matter.

In short: Yes, rbST treatment is a shitty process that produces inferior milk and causes health risks in cattle. It is something that should be opposed. But the biggest health risk it poses in humans is that you might accidentally drink sour milk or might be deceived about the nutritional content of your milk. Not cancer, not hormonal imbalance, etc. (Unless there has been some new, startling research of which I am unaware).

However, I also don't think that quibbling over one case has any impact on Vek's larger point.

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2010, 01:09:03 PM »
Nweh, I misread Jude's point there, sorry.


Offline Trieste

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Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2010, 01:58:30 PM »
While quickly spoiling and having a lower nutritive content are indeed bad things and good reason not to buy rbST milk that does not constitute a human health risk.

No, it's just disgusting unless you like having more pus with your milk. (I don't drink cow's milk and this crap is a large part of the reason why.)

I would be interested in seeing a study done that looks at which nutrients are lacking, and how it affects those groups that rely heavily on milk and dairy products for their intake of things like calcium and vitamin D. For instance, small children are often given milk because it's thought to be healthy for them - growing bones and teeth, etc. Women who are on birth control and certain other meds are cautioned to drink more milk and eat more dairy because some meds strip calcium from the body and raise the chance for osteoperosis. So should alternative labeling be required? Should the milk be sold at a lower price, since by common measure of quality, this milk's quality is lower? Certainly something worth looking into.

/off topic

Offline Oniya

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Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2010, 02:50:02 PM »
And on the flip side, lowering the price would encourage the people who need more of the quality stuff (people on WIC, for example) to buy the crap stuff.  (I was going to make a comment about the pus thing too, but googling somatic cells brought up that those were 'body cells', as opposed to germ cells, or reproductive cells.)

Back on topic - I haven't seen an unbiased news source in years.  You might be able to describe them as 'conservative' and 'liberal' in the old, non-political senses of the words (conservative -> cautious, as in 'conservative estimates show...', and liberal -> extravagant, as in 'liberal amounts of salt on the pretzels'), but both words have become such buzzwords that neither one really means what people expect it to mean.  Heck, even 'republican' and 'democrat' mean different things when you capitalize them.

All it really boils down to is what label is going to inflame your opponent (or your own side) more - and that isn't a proper form of debate.

Offline mystictiger

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2010, 04:40:03 PM »
On the Milk Tangent
In terms of the health risks of rBST, I think it telling that every food regulatory agency in the world with the exception of the FDA said "we think that there might be a link between circulating IGF but we need more research on it" and therefore restricted the use of rBST. The EU report that led to the ban is a good example of what a public health body should be doing. Maybe those of us trained in medicine in the UK are biased after the whole mad-cow fiasco, and therefore are skeptical of the "OK it until someone dies from it" school of regulation. This also explains the general reluctance to eat GM food. Too many scientists appeared on our TVs saying "the current state of our knowledge is such that we cannot see a link between Mad Cows and Humans". The various cases of nvCJD cropping up were pretty good counter-evidence.

Quote
Back on topic - I haven't seen an unbiased news source in years.

I think at a conceptual level, it is not possible to have unbiased news. Every story is told by a person from a place. They'll therefore have their own views on a subject. I therefore try and get a combination of sources, at least one international, one with a right-leaning perspective, and one to the left. Reading the same story in all three tends to help me detect and take into account an ideological bias.

I'd suggest a combination of sources. My personal cocktail of news media is:
-Le Monde Diplomatique
-The Economist
-BBC News
-The Guardian Weekly

Offline Oniya

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Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2010, 05:07:16 PM »
I think at a conceptual level, it is not possible to have unbiased news. Every story is told by a person from a place. They'll therefore have their own views on a subject. I therefore try and get a combination of sources, at least one international, one with a right-leaning perspective, and one to the left. Reading the same story in all three tends to help me detect and take into account an ideological bias.

That's actually what I was getting at.  The problems start to show up when someone adopts one singular source as 'their' news source, be it FOX, CBS, NBC, the Huffington Post, or whatever, and starts dropping buzzwords against any source that disagrees with their favored commentators.

Offline Jude

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2010, 06:12:21 PM »
Vekseid, you bring up some excellent points in defense of your point, and I find myself agreeing with you largely now that it's been elaborated on a bit more.  The viewpoints expressed by MSNBC outside of commentary are no where near as conservative as the stuff Fox routinely spouts.  Even the MSNBC commentators, when held up to a point by point comparison, simply do not measure up to the ideological bias that Fox commentators are guilty of.  I also understand that your analysis is colored by a completely different focus than mine, you pay attention to an additional dimension of depth in intellectual property laws which is both relevant and revealing of the overall corporate structure.

There is a problem when we get our news exclusively from any viewpoint, as Oniya has said, and the majority of Americans exclusively get their news from large corporations.  This means if those large corporations exert any influence on those who are employed by them, there's a good chance we're not getting an accurate view of any issue that is of interest to the overall affluence and success of such entities.

This makes me really wonder what the antidote for this problem is.  The free press only works when it isn't corrupted towards its own interests.

Offline alxnjsh

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2010, 08:32:04 AM »
Olbermann had the shortest suspension in the world (Huffpost's words, not mine). I totally agree with the MSNBC following their policy, but I think it was more about having something to wave over Fox's head rather than an actual consequence for breaking policy.

Perhaps instead, the policy should be that anchors/reporters/pundits should openly divulge any conflicts of interest. This is a common policy in the non-profit world. You divulge conflicts of interests, take steps to mitigate their impacts and refrain from taking part in activities that would be suspicious. Albeit the last tenet would be hard for a talking head.

Offline Remiel

The lie of the left wing/liberal media?
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2010, 08:51:35 PM »
To address the original post, the problem here is that descriptors such as "left wing" or "liberal" aren't objective -- they're subjective.  If you identify as a socially conservative Republican, for example, then I think it would be indeed be fair to say that, from your point of view, most of the national media organizations are liberal, in that they assume most of their readers or viewers espouse positions that aren't in line with the social conservative platform (anti-abortion, opposition to gay marriage, etc.) .   On the other hand, if you identify yourself as a social Progressive, it's highly likely that, from your standpoint, most of American syndicated media is right-wing.   I would argue that both descriptions are correct.

The phrase "liberal media" is certainly a label that right-wing demagogues love to toss around -- but it's not necessarily a lie, any more than the statement "my chair is too hard" is a lie.   And like most stereotypes, there is a kernel of truth in it.

It is impossible to eliminate bias in journalism, although most of the credible organizations and outlets try to make at least a token effort to do so (anyone who still believes that Fox News is "fair and balanced" is, frankly, deluding themselves; MSNBC, however, seems to be heading down the same road).   Nevertheless, bias still exists, and to deny it is wishful thinking at best and a blatant fallacy at worst.  According to this report from 2007 I found which lists campaign contributions by journalists from 2004 through 2007, you'll notice that you'll see many more (D)'s than you do (R)'s... and of the (R)'s, most of those are associated with either Fox News or admittedly conservative publications, like Forbes or the Washington Times.

So, no, I don't think the phrase "left wing" or the word "liberal" in conjunction with the word "media" is a lie.  It's a misnomer, and we should be careful about using it, as we should with any loaded language, but I contest the claim that the phrase shouldn't be allowed in the arena of political discussion.

And one other thing -- when did the words "corporate" and "corporation" accrue such a negative connotation?   E.g. corporate fat cats, corporate schills... a "big corporation" is practically synonymous with "evil cabal of millionaires intent on destroying the planet".  It bugs me, but that's another rant for another day.

Offline Oniya

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Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media?
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2010, 09:22:26 PM »
And one other thing -- when did the words "corporate" and "corporation" accrue such a negative connotation?   E.g. corporate fat cats, corporate schills... a "big corporation" is practically synonymous with "evil cabal of millionaires intent on destroying the planet".  It bugs me, but that's another rant for another day.

Probably somewhere around 1890-1910, with the Standard Oil monopoly and the Sherman Anti-trust Act.

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Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2010, 09:27:30 PM »
Indeed; for every Carnegie, there is a Rockefeller or five. Or a bunch of Triangle Shirtwaist disasters. Or ENRON. Haliburton. Microsoft.

Hm.


Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media?
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2010, 09:05:08 AM »
To address the original post, the problem here is that descriptors such as "left wing" or "liberal" aren't objective -- they're subjective.  If you identify as a socially conservative Republican, for example, then I think it would be indeed be fair to say that, from your point of view, most of the national media organizations are liberal, in that they assume most of their readers or viewers espouse positions that aren't in line with the social conservative platform (anti-abortion, opposition to gay marriage, etc.) .   On the other hand, if you identify yourself as a social Progressive, it's highly likely that, from your standpoint, most of American syndicated media is right-wing.   I would argue that both descriptions are correct.

Actually, I would argue that is why they are both wrong. Even Fox discusses class differences, for example, even though they are of a different nature. I don't recall seeing major poverty elimination campaigns in a very long time, either. If you are going to apply an epithet, it should have some solid, well-grounded meaning.

What is left wing? What is right wing? Authoritarians in particular seem to love playing semantic games like this - such as associating a bad connotation to the word 'liberal'.

I've seen people argue that liberals are authoritarian - when the two concepts were originally near polar opposites - valuing personal freedom and independence versus submitting to a recognized authority. They extended the general liberal perception that those rights to personal freedom have limits - and that those limits should be enforced (for example, as environmental regulation) - and decreed that to be authoritarianism.

Honest arguments do not require bullshit like that, flat out. If someone puts a derogatory term on something, like I mentioned being fine with 'corporate media' above, they ought to be able to present two things:

1) That their usage of the term, is, in and of itself, accurate.
2) That the derogatory tone applied to it is also deserved (and I'll talk about why corporations have a dim reputation below).

Quote
And one other thing -- when did the words "corporate" and "corporation" accrue such a negative connotation?   E.g. corporate fat cats, corporate schills... a "big corporation" is practically synonymous with "evil cabal of millionaires intent on destroying the planet".  It bugs me, but that's another rant for another day.

When discussing individuals in charge of large organizations - corporations included - that do bad things, I think it's important to distinguish between ruthlessness, ignorance, cowardice, 'eccentricity', and outright malice.

Corporations are externalizing machines, and organizations in general function on a level of 'willing and able to do it'. Someone has a bad day, and a name falls through the cracks. Someone is not quite as skilled as their or their managers think they are, and they screw up. Fear instincts take over, and they try to cover up.

Organizations put in place rules and procedures to minimize the impact of this, but that has begun to unravel over the past forty years or so.

Probably somewhere around 1890-1910, with the Standard Oil monopoly and the Sherman Anti-trust Act.

Much more recent. Company loyalty was a big deal when my father got hired. Not so much now. Companies used to be more aggressive about retaining their employees through recessions, for example. Bill Gates wanted to make sure he could pay his employees for two or five years (I forget) without revenue, etc. That sort of long-term thinking has been decimated, but we'll see a return to it in the long run, I believe. Just sucks in the mean time.

Society has grown obsessed with short term thinking in general, but that's a different topic.

Offline Nyarly

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2010, 01:04:50 PM »
I tend to go in a left-winged direction. Indeed some may call me "liberal", at least my views fit more into their (perceived) ideals and I reject many views that are commonly called "conservative".

But it doesn't change one thing: I loath both sides. At least when people call themselves "liberal"  or "conservative" and therefore imply allegiance with the groups, with which these terms are associated (whichever that may be). It's the best to stand outside of this right-left crap instead of pigeonhole one own views.

Yes, for me "liberal" and "conservative" are nothing but slander, like Hunter uses "liberal" (although I doubt that he uses "conservative" the same way).

Offline mystictiger

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2010, 05:54:52 PM »
I just spent an entertaining half hour googling for first of all 'right wing media bias' and then 'left wing media bias'.

This was one of my favourites, not least because it links to a sight that seems to have trademarked the phrase "tell the truth".

It would seem that you don't tell the truth if you don't agree with the political bias of the person analysing the subject.

Having had a trawl of the Social Science Research Network for papers, it also appears that not only is the media partisan, but researchers are as well. We learn that certain newspapers report similar economic findings more postiveily for Democrat regimes rather than Republicans, and that media bias during election campaigns tends to cancel each other out. But also that the NRA is liberal while the NAACP is conserative.

There were a few high-points in my trawl. FactCheck.Org being a delightful mostly-nonpartisan effort.

Lastly, I found this line to be quite compelling:
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..."balanced" coverage that plagues American journalism and which leads to utterly spineless reporting with no edge. The idea seems to be that journalists are allowed to go out to report, but when it comes time to write, we are expected to turn our brains off and repeat the spin from both sides. God forbid we should attempt fairly assess what we see with our own eyes. "Balanced" is not fair, it's just an easy way of avoiding real reporting...and shirking our responsibility to inform readers
« Last Edit: November 09, 2010, 06:03:56 PM by mystictiger »

Offline Jude

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2010, 07:07:02 PM »
As a skeptic (of the empirical vein) I'm especially irritated by media attempts at balance.  The media is obsessed with presenting two sides of a story as if they were both legitimate regardless of the actual facts.  Every time they cover the vaccine controversy they always do so while giving (nearly) equal time to dangerous ideas which are not supported by objective evidence.  News organizations shouldn't feel the need to be balanced about facts.

Fair simply means employing honest methods in coming to your conclusions and admitting any biases you have.

Offline mystictiger

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2010, 08:18:51 PM »
The following thought struck me while reading the news.

What distinguishes news from 'mere' facts? A mere recounting of facts and observed reality is not news, and nor would it be interesting. What makes news interesting is the context into which the observed facts are analysed in. Also, a recounting of observed facts is a one-way progress. Various news entities set the agenda depending on what they choose to focus on. It is therefore a two way process. In reporting the news they also make the news.

Now, if you accept the idea that news reporting should be a two-way street, it is impossible to ditch any notion of bias or policy or agenda from the news. Unless of course you want the future to be influenced by utterly random factors, such as which story the editor's cat didn't pee on.

The question of balance is an interesting one, and Jude's comments about equal weight to nonsense positions is one I have sympathy with. Chomsky made reference to this in ... erm... one of his books. I can't for the life of me remember. His idea was that news media create controversy over certain narrowly defined issues to make it look like there is free and open debate.

Tangent
As some people will realise, I'm a big fan of NGOs measuring various things. Reporters Without Borders provides an interesting insight into media bias and press freedom throughout the world.

Offline Oniya

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Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2010, 08:26:33 PM »
Fair simply means employing honest methods in coming to your conclusions and admitting any biases you have.

QFE.  It's like when you see 'Paid for by the commission to elect Mickey Mouse' at the bottom of an anti-Donald ad.  If ABC is putting up a dismissive piece on the dangers of a certain amusement park ride, it's helpful to know that their parent company runs amusement parks.  If NBC is putting up sensational reports of the new electric car, it's helpful to know that GE is writing the check.


Offline mystictiger

Re: The lie of the left wing/liberal media
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2010, 08:31:57 PM »
The problem with that kind of approach is that you'd end up with more 'bias disclaimer' than you would message. We all have thousands of our own personal biases. Now imagine how many a company has when you add the personal biases of the researcher, the journalist, the editor, the publisher, the advertisers and so on together.

People are free to write what they want. I'll only believe things that are corroborated elsewhere. Or appear on BBC news.