Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why Is Conservative Media Crushing Liberal Media?

Why Is Conservative Media Crushing Liberal Media?
300 answers and it's all been covered, but I'll do some points without elaboration (sort of):

1. Mid-spectrum people have jobs to go to, kids to pick up, businesses to run. They may listen to any of the news outlets but not obsessively. They form the "base" numbers for all news outlets, probably more or less equally split. They may well choose a preference, but based more on scheduling or other non-political concerns.

2. Politics can be separated into two areas: Fiscal Policy and Everything Else.

3. People concerned about Fiscal Policy are generally for smaller government. Their desire to this end overrides "social legislation" regarding abortion, gay marriage, drug legalization. They may be for or against any of these things but those are secondary to wanting smaller government, more liberty, etc. Both conservative and libertarians fall into this group mostly. They watch the conservative outlets that are far longer on pie charts and bar graphs than they are on name calling (although there is some of that too).

4. The Everything Else voters are generally what I call "single issue voters". Those issues, typically are marijuana legalization, abortion choice, gay rights. When they go for media they are typically looking for an outlet that just covers ONE of these three things, obsessively. There are no mainstream versions of this. They don't watch Fox, but the others don't satisfy their obsession over the single issue they care about.

Fox and conservative radio knows its audience and can hit the hot buttons with a fairly broad brush. Not so for the others. The mainstream media is to the left of the general population, few even try and deny that any more. As such, they buy into the myth that conservatives, libertarians, and even mid-spectrum people are racists, homophobes, religious fanatics. When they say or even imply such things, it infuriates those of us (the majority) who don't fit that stereotype. We switch off.

I used to think of PBS as the left-wing "government run" network, and to some extent that is still true. But over the years the mainstream press and media have swung so far to the left, and in such a mean spirited way, that PBS seems neutral by comparison.

There is of course plenty of room on all the networks for both left, right, center and special interest programming, but just as radio gravitates toward top-40, dropping jazz, classical, easy listening and talk as they march towards profits. Likewise when it comes to news, media wants to capture the biggest audience possible. Fox and conservative talk-radio are well positioned to do this as they cover a demographic with broad appeal. The others, in the mean time pretend they are taking care of the rest of the spectrum, which in actuality is impossible without providing equally fragmented coverage.

While it is possible for the Democratic party to build a "big tent" that captures both liberal voters and single issue voters, and they have done that quite well, it's not so easy to provide news, or even entertainment that satisfies that diverse group.


  1. I don't agree. If the media is corporate, it's right-wing and conservative with very few exceptions. Here's a good site to look to for analysis: http://www.stateofthenewsmedia.org/

  2. WOW, I can see there is a lot of info there. I'll take a look at it between condo emergencies. :)

    I agree that the media is "big business" , but surely you don't think that Olberman, Maddow, Mathews, King, and many others are spouting the corporatist line?

    I really don't have a problem with CNN or any of the others having biased analysis. In that regard Fox leans right, the others (I think, and many agree) lean left.

    C-Span is the only network that comes close to being unbiased and they do that by not providing their own analysis at all and instead just pointing the cameras at events.

    Of course they could introduce bias by being selective about which events they covered. I'm not sure they have ever been caught doing this. Not by me anyway.

    With the others though, it's pretty obvious that each network spikes (fails to cover) certain stories, and there is more to learn about their leanings from what they omit than from what they include.

    When I talk to my liberal friends I often find I can debate their side of the issue better than they can because they are hopelessly uniformed. But my conservative friends are not always that well informed either. If you get all your news off a TV screen you miss a whole lot. Fortunately for me I gave up on TV, so I am "forced" to get news from a different and larger variety of sources.

    My hope is that as these traditional (particularly TV based, but also large newspapers) fail financially people will be forced to seek news from a wider range of sources. Bt maybe I'm just being an optimist about that.