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Cartoon fish wrapped in newspaper.
This is all that the local corporate owned newspaper is good for anymore.
I recently read an editorial in a local newspaper that stated the problem with politics in this country today is that both sides are responsible for the gridlock and partisan divide we see in this country. Both sides ignore facts to push their ideological agenda through. The problem with that argument is that both sides don’t do it. This is a problem squarely and solely owned by the GOP. From economic policy to social issues and everything in between. Facts are facts—and the right has clearly become detached from reality. The question is why would a small town newspaper publish such an editorial? Many of the answers you already know, some of them you may not. I wrote this as a part an academic paper (PDF) last year; however, it still holds true today.

Media Consolidation

The starting point to understanding the how mainstream media fails to accurately report the news is the consolidation of media ownership in the United States. In 1983 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. In 2002 that number had decreased to 10 companies (McChesney & Nichols, 2002). By 2004 that number had decreased to only five companies. As Nichols and McChesney state, All in all, these [few] firms control the overwhelming percentage of movies, TV shows, cable systems, cable channels, TV stations, radio stations, books, magazines, newspapers, billboards, music and TV networks that constitute the media culture that occupies one half of the average American’s life. It is an extraordinary degree of economic and social power located in very few hands (Nichols & McChesney, It's the Media Stupid, 2000, p. 28).

Five companies control the bulk of information disseminated to the American public via mainstream media. How can one have a diverse discussion of ideas if a handful of people or, in the case of the media, a handful of corporations controls the information that the public receives via mainstream media? The answer is that one cannot. Corporations have one interest in mind: Profit above all else. Financial gain is their only reason for existence. Informing the public is not the corporate media’s principal function, making money is.

More on media consolidation, false equivalencies and the myth of liberal bias below the fold.

With earnings being the primary concern of corporations the news media began to change. In a 2001 interview ABC anchorman Peter Jennings discussed one of the significant changes in the evening news:

For all of the early years I spent in this business, [the evening news shows] were loss leaders. We were leaders in the broadcast news field, and our owners were prepared to take the loss for the stature and the public responsibility of it. That all changed when they figured out that news made money. And so the bottom line became a much, much bigger issue (Jennings, 2001).
This phenomenon was not isolated to just broadcast media. Newspapers that relied on classified ads to support them were reeling from the loss of revenue as eBay,, and Craigslist gave advertisers a much broader reach for a far lower price. It did not take long for the classified advertising business to dissolve and with it went the source of most profits of the local newspaper (Gillmor, 2010). With profits gone from classified advertising, newspapers turned increasingly to business advertising and increasing subscription fees—both were a recipe for disaster.

Broadcast and print media turned towards entertainment as a means to keep viewers tuned in and subscribed. Media outlets focused on celebrity gossip or on a national news story that should have stayed local. When serious news was presented, journalists pretended to find two sides to every story, even when one side of the story was the opinion of an individual or group who had no facts to back up their opinion. This relentless “dumbing-down” of journalism to the point that it was pure info-tainment pushed audiences even further away (Gillmor, 2010).

Add in the fact that the majority of advertising dollars for newspapers was now coming from businesses that wanted to avoid controversy. Newspapers could no longer go after the controversial stories in the manner that they had in the past. Thus a newspaper could not afford to lose advertising dollars because the viewpoint of an advertiser may not coalesce with that of a story that was published by the newspaper about local politics. Not only has the media been dumbed down, it is little more than what Gillmor calls “vanilla reporting” (Gillmor, 2010).

False Equivalencies and the Myth of Liberal Bias

Of these changes in the media, the most troubling aspect is the false equivalency where two sides to a story are presented as having equal weight when only one side is valid. It is like presenting an argument that a wall painted black is actually white. The driving force behind the false equivalency in reporting is the myth that there is a liberal bias in the media. A bias that until twenty years ago did not exist and because of this incorrect perception that the mainstream media leans to the left, mainstream media outlets have gone out of their way not to be accused of having a liberal bias (Gillmor, 2010). Where did the myth of liberal bias in the media come from?

The answer to that question lies within a right-wing think tank called The Media Research Center that has been pushing the liberal bias in the media meme for over twenty years. The Media Research Center has done a series of studies that they say proves that there is a liberal bias in the mainstream media. To many these studies seem reasonable; however, when one dissects them we can see that the analysis put forth by the Media Research Center is skewed in a way that will prove their point of liberal bias in the media regardless of what the facts actually are. They have multiple studies including the ones below that purport to show the following:

  • The Public Recognizes the Bias
  • Journalists Vote for Liberals
  • Journalists Say They Are Liberal (Media Research Center, 2008)
Each of the above named studies from the Media Research Center goes into a loop. The study on the public recognizing bias in the media cites the studies on journalists voting for liberals and journalists stating that they are liberals to prove that the public recognizes the liberal bias in the mainstream media. With each study referring back to another Media Research Center Study it is similar to an infinite loop in computer programming where repeating instructions just continue to run and refer back to each other without actually accomplishing anything. So the proof that the public recognizes bias in the media is that journalists vote for liberals and journalists say they are liberals. While the proof that journalists are liberal and that journalists vote for liberals is that the public recognizes the bias of a journalist.

The final and fatal flaw with these studies from the Media Research Center is that not once do they actually address what news is being reported. Of course the public recognizes the bias. The right has pushed this meme for over 20 years. It has been repeated so many times that people just assume it is true without regard to the facts. As for whether a journalist votes Democratic or Republican or whether they say they are liberal or conservative has no bearing on the reporting of the news. All of the studies by the right leave out the most important fact; what bias is actually in the news as reported?

The answer is that systematic research has found no consistent partisan or ideological favoritism in news content despite frequent complaints of biases (Lee, 2005). Yet studies of press coverage find that references to the liberal bias on the news outnumber references to a conservative bias by more than a factor of 17 to 1 (Nunberg, 2002). If you repeat a lie often enough people begin to believe that lie.

Behind the Media Research Center’s flawed research is the pro-business right wing and
Republican Party who have long understood that changing the media was a crucial part of bringing their right wing ideas into the public sphere (Kuttner, 2001). As McChesney, author of The problem of the media, states,

To the general public the conservative critique is not packaged as an effort by the wealthiest and most powerful elements of our society to extend their power, weaken labor and government regulation in the public interest, and dramatically lower their taxes while gutting the public sector, aside from the military...It is marketed as a populist movement...battling the establishment liberal media elite (McChensney, 2004, pp. 112-113).
The right-wing’s agenda of weakening labor, government regulation, lowering taxes at the expense of education, public transit, Social Security, and other social programs will not garner votes for right-wing candidates. In order to get the public to vote against their best interests the right-wing pushes their agenda forward into the public sphere in a way that potential voters buy into the argument of liberal bias in mainstream media.

To make the right-wing agenda palatable to the general public think tanks like the Media Research Center were created to put forth the idea of the “liberal media elite” (McChensney, 2004), with the sole purpose of re-framing the mainstream media in a way that it could not be trusted or relied upon to tell the truth.

All of the issues discussed above have hobbled mainstream media in reporting on news that impacts us personally and as a country. It makes our nation weaker and creates a nation of dunces—which is just what the right wants. Because as Noam Chomsky said, “you don’t allow the bewildered herd to become participants in action. They’ll just cause trouble” (Chomsky, 2002, p. 18), and the last thing the right wants is trouble from the bewildered herd.


Chomsky, N. (2002). Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.

Gillmor, D. (2010). Mediactive. U.S.

Jennings, P. (2001, February). Online News Hour. Evening News. (T. Smith, Interviewer)

Kuttner, R. (May 6th, 2001). Comment: Philanthropy and Movements. American Prospect.

Lee, T. -T. (March, 2005). The Liberal Media Myth Revisited: An Examination of Factors
Influencing Perceptions of Media Bias. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 43-

McChensney, R. W. (2004). The Problem of the Media. New York, NY: Monthly Review

McChesney, R. W., & Nichols, J. (2002). Our Media Not Theirs: The Democratic Struggle Against Corporate Media. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.

Media Research Center. (2008).Media Bias Basics. Retrieved March 25th, 2012, from
Media Research Center:

Nichols, J., & McChesney, R. W. (2000). It's the Media Stupid. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.

Nunberg, G. (May 6th, 2002). Label Whores.The American Prospect.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 02:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Alex: the question is why do they lie for the evil (14+ / 0-)

    1%. That's why journalism in "America" sucks.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:06:02 PM PDT

    •  1. They're Corporations 2. they're Sponsored By (12+ / 0-)

      corporations. 3. They have their own private Bill of Rights freedom to promote their interests.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:54:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your post illustrates why this diary is wrong, too (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      palantir, skepticalcitizen, deep info

      And I say that with the utmost respect.

      Unfortunately, a2nite, you, like the diarist, forget to thoroughly analyze who "they" are. Instead, you make this humongous logical leap between corporate owners and individual journalists which exists on the same level as "all journalists are liberals"--in other words, it does NOT exist.

      In order for the diarist's claims to be valid, there must be evidence of collusion, either between the journalists and their corporate slave masters or between the editors who determine the style and content of journalists' stories OR the hiring managers who, through the hiring and firing process, choose the skill and drive (or lack thereof) of the journalists themselves.

      AND THEN to complete the proof, you would have to account for why no one has discovered such collusion and/or why no one has squealed about it.

      I wrote my dissertation on media bias and have been an academic for 25 years. I have contributed to producing the careers of journalists (not in a heralded way, just the ordinary way) and I can tell you that they do not leave universities as "corporate shills." So I would like to know where you, a2nite, and the diarist think they come from. How do they become the "lie for the evil" beings you think they are?

      Please don't think, however, that I disagree with the results of however the media has become so incompetent. I happen to think (without evidence) that traits like bravery, originality, honesty, and curiosity are somehow destroyed or weeded out by the system that advances journalists' careers, leaving us with empty-minded, easily satisfied, go-along-to-get-along journalists getting the most exposure (best example: David Gregory).

      Do you get what I mean? If corporations are controlling journalists directly, as your words imply, where are the whistleblowers? That can't possibly be kept a secret. I know because my students would have long since told me about it. Moreover, if you just lap up what this diarist has said without applying any critical thought to it (because you just like the conclusions it draws--I do, too, but "liking" is not proving), then you exhibit the same faults that you are seeing in journalists: an acceptance of facts that are not in evidence.

      IMO, someone needs to connect the dots or the corporate takeover meme is little more than another conspiracy theory.

      It is ignorance which is hopeless.

      by IdeaTipper on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 04:40:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  my hypothesis has always been that the media (8+ / 0-)

        exist solely and only to sell airtime. They don't give a flying fig what is in their news stories, as long as it entices people to watch the corn flakes commercials. Fox may be a bit of an exception because of the peculiarities of its owner, but even THEY made their market as a network through shows like "Married With Children"--shows that brought ratings. MSNBC went "liberal" because its previous programming was bombing in the ratings--it tried something else, it happened to work, so they stuck with it. If they could compete successfully with Fox by going full-out fascist, I have no doubt they'd do a complete 180 in seconds and be just as happy with it.

        That's also why I have always thought that all the rightwing media clowns--Rush, Coulter, Malkin-- are just poseurs and performers. None of them actually believe anything they are spouting. They simply give their audience what it wants, and laugh at them all the way to the bank.

      •  Well, here's some whistleblowers: (5+ / 0-)

        Catch St. Louis' progressive talk show, The Murdock Report, every Tuesday @ noon! Stream or download it: I do the twit thing too @SmokinJoesTruth

        by Da Rat Bastid on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 05:44:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Eric Alterman "What Liberal Media" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike Kahlow

        has shown with facts the news media to be biased to the right. I believe you are not doing your job to put  fact based journalists on the street.

        old, tired, poor, unemployed, sick of republicans screwing us over.

        by MDhome on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 06:20:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Where are the whistleblowers? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        unfangus, StrayCat, GayHillbilly

        You're an academic? In the U.S.?

        You've never heard of Bill Mahr, Phil Donohue, Dan Rather, Bill Moyers, Arnie Arneson (local New England journalist) or others that were fired for asking questions their corporate masters were not comfortable with?

        Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources.

        by FrY10cK on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 08:38:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is closer than the OP but wrong, too (0+ / 0-)

        There is no collusion between owners and reporters. There is collusion between owners and the opinion page, but there is no collusion between the newsroom and the opinion page. The reporters answer to the ME and the ed writers report to the...

        Oh, wait... I'm talking about newspapers. You know, the place were actual reporters work. The few of them left. Remember reporters? They're the people who go out and talk to people and do research and stuff and then write stories. Then someone on-line or on the radio or the teevee reads the stories and then makes other stories out of them. They call that REAX in the news business, but you might just know it as spin.

        Television doesn't hire reporters. They have stand-ups who go to news conferences. Sometimes they go stand on board walks during storms and get wet. But that's as close to actual reporting as they get. Bloggers read the stories and then give their opinions. Some bloggers actually report and most of those are employed by print publications. You know, like Glenn Greenwald or Greg Sargent. But most bloggers are actually op-ed writers without paychecks. Radio reads the stories and then gives their opinion, the crazier the better. Then you have the aggregators who take the stories the reporters are paid to write and "publish" them without paying the reporters.

        The occupational outlook handbook says don't go to journalism school. There will be 8%!!!! fewer print reporting jobs next year. And it's not going to get better.

        Eight percent fewer reporters. Instead go get a communications or mass media degree and get a pretty face and go work on the TeeVee where you can read the stories on the air that were written by an ever smaller pool of reporters.

        I wonder if the paywalls going up left and right are going to save journalism... or is that just the sound of the wheelhouse going under.

        You know, you don't need collusion to make a reporter conservative or just stupidly moderate. All you need to do is pay them enough so they can afford a German car. They'll forget what it's like out there in realsville. They'll buy million dollar condos in D.C., right Matt? And then all the problems they write about will be somebody else's.

        So, it's a lot of things.

        "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." -- Irish Proverb

        by Our Man in Twisp on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 02:07:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The evil 1% owns them. (7+ / 0-)

      if they don't lie for them, they get fired and replaced.

      Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 09:22:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent Post (22+ / 0-)

    Mostly we're sold junk by corporations selling ads to corporations and politicians who sell us more junk. The media is mostly...junk food for the mind.

  •  Absolutely spot-on! (14+ / 0-)

    And I would argue that the best defense that the progressive movement has to the dreck that is mainstream news is to convince as many people as possible to look elsewhere - online news sites, citizen journalism, etc. etc.

    It may not be snazzy or redolent of "tradition", but online journalism is one, much more important thing - unowned. Unowned by the military-industrial complex, the prison-industrial complex, the financial giants, Big Fossil Fuel.....anyone.

    And that means that a citizen journalist lacks one huge incentive to slant the "news" (or just plain make it up) that a "professional" journalist has: money. They're not in it for the Benjamins - they're in it for their sense of right and wrong.

    "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

    by Australian2 on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:06:28 PM PDT

  •  The media is biased (5+ / 0-)

    its biased toward eyes and ears that are available to hear and see the sponsors message, and growing the number of eyes and ears.

    Its biased toward the vast majority of people trained to "think" by being told or seeing what they believe other people like them are doing.

    We might be humans capable of many complex things, but we are still monkeys when it comes to absorption of new information (and sex).

    The media is biased toward confirming our biases.

    •  No It Isn't, It's Biased Toward Establishing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bronx59, a2nite, MDhome

      a great many of those biases. All the pro corporate biases are equally pro media corporate biases.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:55:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I could rec this more than once (24+ / 0-)

    The only part I found incorrect is the "20 years" of "liberal media bias".  It goes back much, much farther to Spiro Agnew (remember him?  disgraced and resigned VP under Nixon) who first promoted this fact which got revved up as the press started to seriously cover Watergate.

    It's been 40 years of the untrue "liberal bias" BS.

    Yeah, they yearn for the days when RW ideologue William Randolph Hearst owned just about all the press in the US and they're nearly there with Rupert Murdoch and the corporate ownership of our press.

    It's the failure to report the news that is the primary cause of the demise of traditional media.  News is popular and draws large audiences when it's real news.  The crap we get fed today, not so much.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:17:54 PM PDT

  •  Sort of obvious, isn't it? (5+ / 0-)

    The only people relying on newspapers as a source of information are those not of the Internet age. Not too many of those left.

    •  Also 48, I would argue that........ (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the same applies for AM radio and much of the Broadcast/cable news programming. The Network Sunday morning "Hot Air" fests will go the way of the dinosaurs as more and more of their viewers die off.

      Radio listeners who hang on the every word of the AM radio right-wing blowhards, both the openly political and those operating under "religious" cover, are quickly being replaced by generations of mellower “FMrs” and those who love the variety provided by satellite radio.

      The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

      by cazcee on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 05:35:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  grand slam..!! perfectly stated and (7+ / 0-)

    well researched nothing left to say...just need people to read and understand...we've been conned.

    We are not broke, we are being robbed.

    by Glen The Plumber on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:20:33 PM PDT

  •  My father was a life-long journalist... (22+ / 0-)

    ...or like he preferred to call himself, a "newsman."

    He wrote for Stars and Stripes in WWII, went into commercial TV after his 22 years of service ended, and before he passed in 1993 told me (in effect), "The consolidation of media into a few large corporations is the end of democracy." He was watching (in his retirement) the merger of larger and larger entities, until "news" departmants were basically budgeted out of existence. He wondered how a news outfit could sustain itself as a part of a multi-billion dollar corporate empire without being in thrall to that same empire.

    Time has proven him correct. Again.

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:26:56 PM PDT

  •  Recent article in the Cap Times cited a Kos post. (15+ / 0-)

    Police order duct tape removed, arrest woman during abortion debate cited Noise of Rain's diary on the hearing.

    I saw that and didn't know whether to laugh or scream. Maybe a little of both. The mainstream press is dead. They are relegated to printing what their corporate overlords tell them, or, rarely, what we bring to their attention.

    We are the press.

    The fourth estate is dead. Long live the fourth estate.

  •  Many youth already know this: see Harry Potter (8+ / 0-)

    Hermione Granger: So the "Daily Prophet" exists to tell people what they want to hear?
    Rita Skeeter, tabloid journalist:The "Prophet" exists to sell itself, you silly girl.

    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." -Salvor Hardin, first Mayor of the Foundation in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy

    by Duane Kilian on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:29:34 PM PDT

  •  Good discussion. (8+ / 0-)

    One note, though: the MRC is actually fairly new to the bias-accusation game. The liberal bias charge has been around MUCH longer -- at least since the 1960s (and foreshadows of it could be heard in earlier decades as well among conservative intellectuals and politicians).

    The first book-length treatment of it was Edith Efron's The News Twisters from 1971, and the first MRC-type organization was actually AIM (Accuracy In Media), which goes all the way back to 1969.

    Hope you fall on your burger and fries.

    by cardinal on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:36:29 PM PDT

    •  From my research the MRC... (4+ / 0-)

      ...kind of took up all of the loose ends and multiple sources screaming about Liberal Bias and combined them into a one stop shop. the meme has been around longer than MRC; however, MRC is the big boy on the block that is pushing it.

      "Republicans only care about the rich" - My late Father (-8.25, -7.85)

      by Mark E Andersen on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:40:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They've done a (6+ / 0-)

        good job taking advantage of the immediacy of the Internet to amplify the charge -- but I'd characterize them more as stepping into an already pervasive meme and helping to amplify it, rather than being the "big boy on the block."

        The charge had two major surges in the American consciousness: The first was in the late '80s and early '90s. The main factor was that the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine enabled Rush Limbaugh and his zillions of clones to dominate AM radio -- and thus, for the first time, the charge had a high-profile venue through which to be communicated. The first Bush administration served as great fodder for the bias cops, as he was widely perceived by conservatives to be mistreated by the press (see, for example, Dan Rather's horrible live interview with him during his candidacy in early 1988. Conservatives also universally blame the press for his 1992 defeat).

        The charge died down a bit during the late Clinton years -- I mean, how could you argue that the press favored him when they spent a whole year talking about a blow job? -- but it resurged with a vengeance in 2002 with Bernard Goldberg's huge best-seller, Bias. This time it was amplified by Fox News as well as talk radio, and it's never really gone away.

        As for MRC, they didn't even exist during the first surge; and, while Brent Bozell can be seen frequently on Fox, I've never seen evidence that his MRC is the "big boy" in the bias-charge universe. They do provide a lot of material to the media-based bias cops, however.

        Hope you fall on your burger and fries.

        by cardinal on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:52:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The So-Called Mainstream Media ... (6+ / 0-)

    is, as you say, corporatively biased. You don't bite the hand that feeds you, after all. Since corporations (especially large ones, such as media giants), tend to be right-leaning, how on earth could the media as a whole, be "liberal?" How many times must that strawman be knocked down?

    "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

    by midnight lurker on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:39:40 PM PDT

  •  Bravo. Great diary. (7+ / 0-)

    I'm sick and tired of both sides do it substituting for real journalism.

    Truth is truth. Facts are facts. Report them.

    It's just like adding 2+2+4.  Granted, that at times is it 2.5+2.5+3, but the math don't lie.

    In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

    by Sixty Something on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:41:00 PM PDT

  •  what is killing good journalism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dadadata, a2nite, Oh Mary Oh

    1. non-stop 24 hour news cycle based on sensational stories because networks are not separating their news for profits.
    2. Amateur journalists starting blogs (i.e Glenn Greenwald).
    3. A younger generation who cannot write and knows little about history, research, or investigate facts before they spread them across the internet.

    Thanks god for the New York Times

  •  If things DON'T go better with Koch, what's the (5+ / 0-)

    latest on the Los Angeles Times? Did everyone resign except the few that agree with the Koch machine?

    Very fine diary, Mark!  Right on the mark, if one may be permitted a little pun. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 04:01:15 PM PDT

  •  "For All the Alarms Over the Decline in Newspaper (5+ / 0-)
    competition--of the 1,754 U.S. dailies, 775 now belong to chains--just what constitutes newspaper monopoly has never been legally defined.
    Newsweek, this week, Summer of Love 1967.

    Media have been consolidating since the Beatles were still touring.

    Also remember, broadcast was required to demonstrate programming in the public interest at license renewals about every 3 years. To keep scrutiny off their lucrative entertainment programming, most outlets had a journalistic news staff and kept the advertising department firewalled out of influence of it.

    As we relaxed those rules, and I don't think they ever applied to cable did they, it became reasonable to operate news for profit.

    The free press concept doesn't work, as we can see from having the best press during our one brief period when it was least free.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 04:03:00 PM PDT

  •  I'm glad for CSPAN (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, devtob, deep info, Oh Mary Oh

    They cover a very broad spectrum of newsworthy issues from a very broad ideological and political spectrum, in terms of viewpoints, advocates, analysts, politicians, pundits, etc. They could have Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck ranting hysterically about how Obama wants to sell the US to China one minute, then Noam Chomsky talking about how Obama is Bush II in some ways the next. There's a lot of crap on it for that reason, but there's also a lot of good stuff too. It's up to us to do with it what we wish. I've long sensed a mild rightward slant to it, but it's not hard right like Fox or NR.

    An aside, I was just watching a recording I made of CSPAN's coverage of last week's senate hearing on the NSA scandal, and I couldn't help but notice that when NSA head Keith Alexander was answering Mark Udall's question with a response to the effect that the NSA has no interest in going and does not go beyond its declared mandate, his top assistant, who was sitting right behind him to his right (he pointed her out minutes before), suddenly turned away, like she didn't want to look into the camera, and kept her gaze averted for most of his response. Seemed kind of weird.

    Ok, tinfoil hat off again...

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 04:07:06 PM PDT

  •  "Trustbusting"...when was the last time you heard (5+ / 0-)

    ...someone utter that word (or a synonym) while calling for the monopolies to be broken up?

    I know I haven't.

  •  Who Owns It (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I recall in the past Clear Channel, Viacom, NewsCorp  and Disney owned a lot.  Who owns it all now?

    Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.

    by Renie57 on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 04:23:59 PM PDT

  •  I shared this article on Facebook with my (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark E Andersen

    question of "How real is real" when the news is presented by  limited news organizations that are driven by profit.  So when we see the headlines about the IRS, Medicaid study in Oregon, Benghazi and the NSA we know that the reporters are more intent on being the first with the scoop than the true journalism we need.

    Have your article on my iPad now, off to the deck with a glass of wine to read it.

    "To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medication to the dead." Thomas Paine

    by My two cents worth on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 04:35:55 PM PDT

  •  Awesome master's thesis... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark E Andersen, Mike Kahlow

    Thank you for sharing that as part of this article!

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 04:37:52 PM PDT

  •  Maybe that's why (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Kahlow, vzfk3s, devtob, Dirtandiron

    my hometown newspaper still lands in my yard every morning despite the fact I quit paying for it 7 years ago.  This is not just any newspaper but the paper of record in a state capitol which will remain unnamed.  Easily 85% of the "news articles" are bi-lined AP.  Maybe it wasn't such a bad (maybe a good) thing that their lines were tapped.  These are the people who are spewing Koch rot all over this country.  At least once weekly my wife & I affirm we're glad we don't pay for it, but hey, it's got a crossword puzzle & local obits.  

  •  It's the Fairness Doctrine stupid (6+ / 0-)

    As Noam Chomsky said, it's all about the Fairness Doctrine.  Until the FD is reinstated, there is no chance anything will change in the media.

    I wrote a detailed essay on this here:

    •  you're right, but we can't get a new FD w/out (0+ / 0-)

      destroying the radio monopoly first IMO.

      as you point out in your primer, they have the monopoly, and those 1200 radio stations go batshit crazy whenever anyone of media or political stature even mentions fairness doctrine.

      i think the monopoly can be destroyed by getting our universities sports off of RW radio stations - RW radio is hurting financially and as many as 30-40% of rw radio stations depend on those associations for community cred and ad dollars (see link in sig). it couldn't survive if universities were shamed into taking their mission statements seriously and declared they were not renewing their contract and were looking for non-partisan alternatives.

      most of the damage done by getting rid of the FD has been done with rw radio - (see below- )

      unfortunately RW radio is off the radar of most media analysts.

      This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

      by certainot on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 10:36:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If DKos Would like to hire an online proofer... (0+ / 0-)

    I am available.  With strong writing skills and a good grasp of grammar, I am getting really tired of seeing all the typos and frankly sloppy inability to go back and edit out extra words and such!!!  Please STOP!  Or hire me and I will provide editing  services so that other folks won't be driven crazy!!! LOL!

  •  Back when I was a kid the 2 local channels (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, Dirtandiron, Mike Kahlow

    were owned by men who lived in the area. There were shows that were filmed in the studio other then news, all had local content.

    After each being sold at least 3 times each, the local news is down to 3 minutes if you don't count weather and sports, the other 3 mins.  of news is feed from networks.

    Local print is even worse. Cut the size of the paper by a 1/3 and raised the price by the same amount.

    Maybe MB will will stop by with His thought on how to change course.

  •  Good diary, thank you... Altho for anyone (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, Stude Dude, bartcopfan, organicus

    who's been paying attention, IMO, nothing really new here.  I'd initially argue with the contention that

    Corporations have one interest in mind: Profit above all else. Financial gain is their only reason for existence. Informing the public is not the corporate media’s principal function, making money is.
    The principal function, above all else, is perpetuation of the status quo, that being the few control the many.  Absent that reality, the secondary (the profit thing) is vulnerable to change by a motivated populace.  As long as the many are controlled (and we ARE BEING CONTROLLED, RIGHT NOW -- only the naive believe otherwise, IMO), the few's interests will be perpetuated.  Of course, profit is necessary to finance that control, but there is plently of money waiting in the wings to pay for continuing propaganda.

    To increase massive recognition of what's going on, more people have to come to terms with how massive and wide-spread has been the few's manipulation of all media.  Who controls the national dialogue controls the people.  As long as tens of millions of Americans are kept ignorant, nothing will change.  Chomsky, Vidal, Zinn have been saying for decades that we have two corporate parties.  Slowly but surely, they are being proved correct.

    None other then Joseph Goebbels recognized this truth and the result was Hitler's power and WWII.  Also illustrative is the Powell Memo of 1971.  Other examples include the (staying) power of the Catholic Church, which was aware of child molestation by the priesthood 1600 years ago.

    Enlightened folks need to begin recognizing propaganda wherever it occurs.  Movies are a good start...  For example, there were subtle anti-communist messages in many universally popular movies of the 1930s and 1940s.  Such messages helped misinform the masses, and that misinformation continues to be held today as fact.  

    Another example: 40 years ago, a political force as far right as the Koch Bros. -- e.g., the John Birch Society, laughed at AT THE TIME by most Americans, similar to the Westborough Baptist Church today -- would have caused a national outrage at an attempt to take over a media as powerful as the Tribune Corporation.  But that is happening RIGHT NOW, in front of God and everybody, and the push-back is slight and largely unreported.  Surprise, surprise...

    It has been nothing but corporate propaganda that has changed the national perception of corporate America into a force for the good among hundreds of millions of voters. The propaganda that perptuates the condition of the few controlling the many is everywhere, and it is largely believed, being handed down from generation to generation.

    Americans who vote against their own interests are driven by "the human need to find a strand of significance that will hold everything together that isn't on TV..." (quote is from P. Roth in "Sabbath's Theater")

    by ceebee7 on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 05:21:43 PM PDT

  •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

    I've been looking for this info all weekend!

    Catch St. Louis' progressive talk show, The Murdock Report, every Tuesday @ noon! Stream or download it: I do the twit thing too @SmokinJoesTruth

    by Da Rat Bastid on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 05:32:58 PM PDT

  •  god old photo journalism gone too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I remember Look & Life magazines..great photo journalism.

    Now every tom , dick & harry takes photos, & posts them but they are not photographers.

  •  Danny Schecter, the news dissector (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    has written extensively on this topic, and is well worth reading.

  •  The problem with this is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, Dirtandiron

    There are those that willingly lie in order to gain the advantage, and those that are true believers. I can't figure which is worse. Those that lie willfully can at some point stop lying when they realize they're doing irreparable harm. Those that actually think they're on the side of angels however can't be reasoned with. I don't think the Right ever really believed that the true believers would actually become part of the establishment. It's one thing to lead sheep. When the sheep however begun going a different direction and leading some of your flock away, you've got serious problems.

    •  Good comment (0+ / 0-)

      There are a lot of "true believers" in the conservative movement that believe the ends justify any means.  And many of them are armed and openly talking revolution. Those people are dangerous. People in this country seem to have forgotten Timothy McVeigh.  Yes, they will be taken out in minutes when they're stupid enough to make a move. But I hope no innocents get caught in the middle.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 07:45:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  NOT just media - nearly every industry (4+ / 0-)

    Media is especially important and critical - since abandoning the Communications Act of 1934, lifting cross ownership rules and approving near monopoly acquisistions - the government has undermined the integrity of our news and information commons.

    Auctions of the peoples RF spectrum for satellite and terrestrial uses - rather than leases with regulated public interest rules - has turned public property into private monopoly.

    The blatant misrepresentation, half-truth and complete fabrications made possible by this concentration of power AND the will to use it to advance a particular political agenda threatens the concept of democracy.

    As important is it is, don't stop at media.  The concentration of economic power has been rampant in nearly every industry.

    Banking, pharmaceuticals, energy, meat production, air transportation, shipping, etc the list goes on.

    Every industry has been consolidated to fewer and fewer companies controlling more and more.  

    And don't forget that the ownership of these companies often has major holdings in foreign hands.

    The governments abdication of a necessary and proper oversight and regulation of markets is a disaster.

    Where are our trust busters?   We need a new Teddy Roosevelt, a new Taft and a new Brandeis.

    We need President Warren!!

  •  Almost every media outlet -- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, organicus

    TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, etc. -- is dependent for its existence/profitability on advertising.

    Most advertisers are businesses owned and/or managed by conservatives who want less regulation and lower taxes on business owners/managers.

    So, most media support the political wishes of their advertising masters.

    This happens at every level -- from the national networks who  pimp for Wall Street to the local newspapers who pimp for the local chamber of commerce.

    And it's getting worse every day.

    A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

    by devtob on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 06:53:10 PM PDT

  •  I Had a Really Bad Day! (0+ / 0-)

    This morning, walked the dog to my brother's house and check on it while he's out of town.

    Took a sit down and turned on the screen.  Not knowing how to use his system I got,          wait for it . . . .

    "FoxNews Sunday" featuring Dick Cheney.

    To demonstrate to myself my open mindedness I sat through the "interview" and follow-up panel.  I know what you're thinking, . . . .WHY?

    This afternoon took a break from my yardwork.  I had left PBS on my TV for my dog to sleep to.  I walked in on "The Lawrence Welk Show" and some ancient footage of some elderly bouffant coifed woman in red, backed by a chorus singing,       wait for it . . . . .

      "God Bless America".

    Like I said, it was a really bad day!

  •  Very good work (0+ / 0-)

    I hope this is just the beginning. There's a lot to discuss on this subject.

    Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 09:20:13 PM PDT

  •  Advertisers v. controversy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    At one point you note that media outlets are reducing their willingness to tackle controversial topics for fear of alienating advertisers.  

    For journalists in the Village, I think a key reason for not taking sides is the laziness and cowardliness of the journalists (not willing to risk "access" to politicians if they offend them).  

    The good news on advertisers is that the blade cuts two ways:  Flush Rush is reducing the Limbaugh program's advertising base by exposing advertisers to the content they are supporting, and they have been pulling back.

  •  The media is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    certainly very biased toward the RIGHT! not the left and has been for quite a few years. Eric Alterman wrote a book pointing this out in a book published in 2003 titled "What Liberal Media?" It should be required reADING BY ANYONE who is related to the media including those who read or listen to the news media.

    old, tired, poor, unemployed, sick of republicans screwing us over.

    by MDhome on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 06:11:43 AM PDT

  •  mark, i have problems with this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    you underestimate radio- problems with the MSM cannot be accurately analyzed without factoring the coordinated repetition from 1200 radio stations. most all media analysis misses this fact- unfortunately you're not the only one.

    and the reason it is routinely glossed over is why it has been so successful- there is no way to read what is being blasted across the country on a daily basis. there is no database that can be searched to know what is being repeated and how often, or how state megastations are effecting state politics.

    what happened in wisconsin and the protests there, referred to in you paper, cannot be accurately recorded without factoring in radio. in you paper you write:

    I saw the trucks from the major television news organizations parked around the square: CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox News;
    many of the facts about what was happening in Madison were not getting out via mainstream media.
    consolidation and the profit motive are major problems in the MSM but the effect of media on politics in this country and the success of the right in dumbing us down and obstructing nearly everything progressive is due primarily to ignoring the right's talk radio monopoly.

    the MSM is significant for what they leave out but they can't create like talk radio. even in consolidation there is still some competition. when the BS detector goes on we can turn the page or change the channel. but in most parts of the country there are no free alternatives for politics while driving and working. unchallenged talk radio repetition is where the alternate reality and lies are made acceptable.

    what happened in wisconsin, like the OWS protests, was being distorted on RW talk radio all over the country. and it will continue to be distorted long after the protestors are gone. how many protestors is one (ignored) blowhard with a megaphone worth? locally, the main madison limbaugh station WIBA-AM, 1310, with UW badgers logos on it, was attacking protestors and supporting walker all day- especially the local blowhards. that was walker's biggest booster but the protestors ignored it.

    walker's entire program has 20 years of unchallenged radio repetition behind it.

    Informing the public is not the corporate media’s principal function, making money is.
    the principle function of RW radio, 1200 or so coordinated stations reaching 50 mil a week, is not to make money. profits from ads may keep stations going but that's gravy. the main purpose is to sell propaganda for the think tanks such as
    a right-wing think tank called The Media Research Center that has been pushing the liberal bias in the media meme for over twenty years.
    and to create made-to-order constituencies, and to create buzz, and blow molehills into scandalous mountains in days, and turn mountains into molehills with intimidation (traitor!, terrorist!) and swiftboating and pressure on producers  and distractions.
    This is a problem squarely and solely owned by the GOP. From economic policy to social issues and everything in between. Facts are facts—and the right has clearly become detached from reality.
    When serious news was presented, journalists pretended to find two sides to every story, even when one side of the story was the opinion of an individual or group who had no facts to back up their opinion.
    a primary function of RW radio is to distort, distract, intimidate, swiftboat, and lay out a smorgasbord of prechewed "facts" and talking points the politicians and talking heads can choose from. they know and can feel that RW crap has already been pounded into the earholes of 50 mil a week, in some cases for years and usually unchallenged by the left. RW radio makes the bullshit from those think tanks acceptable. the rest of the MSM, including fox, can't do that to anywhere near the degree talk radio can.
    The driving force behind the false equivalency in reporting is the myth that there is a liberal bias in the media. A bias that until twenty years ago did not exist and because of this incorrect perception that the mainstream media leans to the left, mainstream media outlets have gone out of their way not to be accused of having a liberal bias (Gillmor, 2010). Where did the myth of liberal bias in the media come from?
    team limbaugh have been repeating that every day for 20 years.
    The right has pushed this meme for over 20 years. It has been repeated so many times that people just assume it is true without regard to the facts.
    If you repeat a lie often enough people begin to believe that lie.
    bush's line about catapulting the propaganda was a reference to talk radio.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 10:09:42 AM PDT

    •  If I could have, I would have... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...I am not going to bore you with the ugly details of this thesis, but it is not exactly the paper I wanted or hoped for it to be.

      I had to stay within a very narrowly defined scope for the thesis committee and thesis advisors (yes, I had to fire one of them). Not everything I wanted made it into the thesis and a couple things I did not want did make it in.

      I did have a section on radio it stayed in until revision did not make the cut - I do not remember the reason my advisor had for me cut it out of the paper (with over thirty different revisions over a year, it is hard to remember the reasons).

      "Republicans only care about the rich" - My late Father (-8.25, -7.85)

      by Mark E Andersen on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 01:29:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is a liberal bias (0+ / 0-)

    And arguing that there isn't is counterproductive. The fact that journalists tend to be Democrats is absolutely relevant. As any history major knows, no source is completely neutral.

    The better argument to me is that the professions that are dedicated to discerning truth (law, education, journalism) are dominated by liberals. That is no accident, truth has a liberal bias.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 10:52:46 AM PDT

  • (0+ / 0-)

    Andersen says: "The answer [in the matter of the ‘most important fact’ or question as to ‘what bias is actually in the news as reported?’] is that systematic research has found no consistent partisan or ideological favoritism in news content despite frequent complaints of biases (Lee,2005)."

    Whereas the Lee study explicitly says it is not even looking at the content of anything written by any journalist in terms of the question above as to the content's “actual” ideological bias:

    "The present study was not designed to analyze whether there is an ideological or partisan bias in terms of journalists' stance or news content."

    I contend that this fact destroys Andersen’s credibility as to anything he says: either he can’t read or he is intentionally trying to mislead the reader, especially since people do not like to check out what a linked-to study actually says. They would rather trust the author’s implied claim, under the reasonable assumption that s/he would not do something so blatantly false - such that if the reader actually follows the link, it would directly contradict what the author says the link does. I didn’t like to do it myself, until I repeatedly found that it could be so easy to disprove the author’s implied claim as to what the link says.

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