Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Party Affiliation and the Media's Lying Quality

In the nineteenth century news sources openly identified their party affiliations. That practice gradually eroded in the twentieth. The New York Times claimed that objective journalism was their goal. They made a good stab at it, but by now they are a Democratic (and social democratic) newspaper. Most other newspapers followed their lead because journalists believed that the Times was the best paper, the newspaper of record. As a result, the newspapers have tended to follow a Democratic Party line.

The television networks were established during a period when the Democratic Party was dominant. Although they do not express a party affiliation, they are mostly supportive of the Democratic Party. This is inequitable because the air waves are public property and should not all be allocated to one party. There needs to be open discussion of partisan dominance of the television networks.

It is time for consumers of news to demand that news sources openly affiliate with one party or another. It is pointless to claim, as do many conservatives, that a Democratic Party newspaper like the Times is biased toward the Democrats. Of course it is. Rather, readers should demand integrity from media. Integrity means that media ought to state the party or ideology with which it is affiliated. It is the false claim to objectivity that irritates conservatives, not the fact that media is biased. Objecting to bias is like objecting to the grim reaper. You can complain all you want, but you're going to be reaped anyway. The fact that social democrats do not make bias complaints about the media is significant evidence that the conservatives' complaint is true.

Many in the media vapidly claim that they are not biased. But it does not occur to them that conservatives frequently complain that they are biased and social democrats defend them. This alone closes the case. There is no reasonable doubt if all on one side complain and all on the other defend them. That is what bias means.

I agree with conservative attacks on the Times just as I agree with reasoned attacks on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But isn't it time to call a social democrat a social democrat and start confronting real issues? These would include abolition of the Department of Education; abolition of the Federal Reserve Bank; privatization of the Post Office; privatization of social security, educational vouchers........

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