Unguarded Comments of Media-Savvy Conservatives regarding Claims of "Liberal Bias" in the Media
While some conservatives actually believe their own grumbles, the smart ones don’t.


While the masses of Bush regime supporters continue to accept the myth of the "Liberal Media" as an act of faith, the most media-savvy conservative leaders know better. But even while, in unguarded moments, acknowledging the unreality of this fable, Bush promoters are not above continuing to exploit it politically. Indeed, in an America with airways dominated as never before by the 24 hour presence of demagogic talk radio and stridently partisan Fox News, it is a myth that persists only with continuous reinforcement, and it is the incessant repetition on this "Liberal Media" mantra that is the primary factor in the creation of our current intimidated and compliant press.

In his introduction to "What Liberal Media?", Eric Alterman notes,


But while some conservatives actually believe their own grumbles, the smart ones don’t. They know mau-mauing the other side is a just a good way to get their ideas across—or perhaps to prevent the other side from getting a fair hearing for theirs.

On occasion, honest conservatives admit this. Rich Bond, then the 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.” The very same Rich Bond also noted during 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.” 

Bond is hardly alone. That the SCLM were biased against the administration of Ronald Reagan is an article of faith among Republicans. Yet James Baker, perhaps the most media-savvy of them, owned up to the fact that any such complaint was decidedly misplaced.

“There were days and times and events we might have had some complaints [but] on balance I don’t think we had anything to complain about,” he explained to one writer.  

Patrick Buchanan, among the most conservative pundits and presidential candidates in the republic’s history, found that he could not identify any allegedly liberal bias against him during his presidential candidacies.

“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,”   [Buchanan] cheerfully confessed during the 1996 campaign. 

And even William Kristol, without a doubt the most influential Republican/neoconservative publicist in America, has come clean on this issue. 

“I admit it,” he told a reporter. “The liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.” 

Nevertheless Kristol apparently feels no compunction about exploiting and reinforcing ignorant prejudices of his own constituency. In a 2001 subscription pitch to conservative potential subscribers of his Rupert Murdoch–funded magazine, the Weekly Standard, 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.” (It’s a wonder he left out “Too much hypocrisy.”)

The above is excerpted from "Bias, Slander, and BS", in "What Liberal Media?" by Eric Alterman, p.3. Link to original


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The founders of our republic spoke frequently of the essentiality of an informed and self-governing citizenry. Skillful manipulation of public opinion, never extolled as an American nor "conservative value", is today unquestionably a craft at which this Administration excels. While there is no dispute that this artfulness, and the attainment of mastery over the media, has enabled the neoconservative movement to achieve an unparalleled level of influence, it has yet to be seen what damage will accrue to our institutions of self-governance, and grave questions remain over long term effects that this change will effect upon individual liberty, autonomy, and other fundamental American values.

While some conservative leaders have expressed concern for the tendency of the modern conservative movement to yield to the temptations of political power which may be achieved by the use of such manipulative techniques, and while some have decried the subsequent loss of commitment by conservatives to fundamental American values of individual liberty, fairness, and respect for an informed citizenry with diverse points of view, the unfortunate reality is that the current conservative movement is dominated by those with other priorities.











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