Big Lie Exposed!
Eric Alterman quotes Republican activists and pundits saying that the liberal media bias charge is a lie, a con, a tactic used by to sway public opinion.
Rich Bond, who, as the then-chair of the Republican Party, complained during the 1992 election, “I think we know who the media want to win this election — and I don’t think it’s George Bush.” That was Bond on a bad day. On one of his truth-telling days, however, the very same Mr. Bond observed of the very same election, however, “There is some strategy to it [bashing the ‘liberal’ media]. … if you watch any great coach, what they try to do is ‘work the refs.’ Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack on the next one.”
This latter sentiment is not really so rare among conservatives, at least the ones who understand that they are playing a game. Far-right pundit and sometime presidential candidate Pat Buchanan admitted, “I’ve gotten balanced coverage, and broad coverage — all we could have asked. For heaven sakes, we kid about the ‘liberal media,’ but every Republican on earth does that.”
And conservative standard-bearer William Kristol told The New Yorker, upon launching The Weekly Standard back in 1995, that “the liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.” Even so, in a 2001 subscriber pitch for the magazine, Kristol complained, “The trouble with politics and political coverage today is that there’s too much liberal bias. … there’s too much tilt toward the left-wing agenda. Too much apology for liberal policy failures. Too much pandering to liberal candidates and causes.”
This constant confusion — you might even call it “flip-flopping” — was finally explained in 2003 by The Weekly Standard “senior writer” and Kristol protégé Matt Labash, who told the website JournalismJobs.com:
While all these hand-wringing Freedom Forum types talk about objectivity, the conservative media likes to rap the liberal media on the knuckles for not being objective. We’ve created this cottage industry in which it pays to be un-objective. It pays to be subjective as much as possible. It’s a great way to have your cake and eat it too. Criticize other people for not being objective. Be as subjective as you want. It’s a great little racket. I’m glad we found it actually.
Unfortunately, that tactic worked so well that even mainstream journalists and liberals tend to believe it warrants some merit. But as Matt Labash says, it’s all a lie and a racket.
Time to change the narrative!