Don Goodman: The myth of the 'liberal press'
Published: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 3:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 3:07 p.m.
Two recent letters to The Sun complained about perceived injustices inflicted on Americans by the "liberal press," a mythological institution that is regularly resurrected by conservatives to explain why their reality is so often at variance with what we read in the mainline press.
In one, the writer complained that this press had reported at length of President Obama’s reelection but failed to mention the GOP’s victory in the House. This is because there was none; The GOP lost a net 7 seats, leaving them with a smaller majority. Three more of these GOP victories will deliver majority control to the Democrats.
The second letter complained of Democrats fighting dirty, of using distortions and outright lies for political gain and having none of their misdeeds reported in the "liberal press," but, as usual, provides no evidence whatever of these alleged wrongdoings, just a jab at the press for not reporting them.
In this case, the mythological institution is being taken to task for not reporting what is, in itself, a myth, since it is the Republican Party that always been the party of dirty tricks. In the most recent election, they tried to enact policies to suppress voter turnout by groups that typically favor Democrats. Even as voters waited in line for up to ten hours to exercise democracy’s most sacred privilege, our governor refused to expand the early voting period to accommodate them.
And don’t forget who created the outright lies that President Obama was not American-born and that the Affordable Care Act would result in health decision-making by death panels. Republicans even stooped disgracefully low when they organized a bogus group called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to try to cast doubt on the valor of John Kerry, who won three Purple Hearts for his service in Viet Nam.
The myth of a "liberal press" has existed in the psyche of conservatives since Nixon groused about the unfair treatment he had received at the hands of this insidious institution following his memorable “now you don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” concession speech. However, he failed to respond to a challenge from the New York Times to provide a single example of this purported liberal bias.
There is, nonetheless, a conservative media empire dominated by the Fox News “echo chamber,” as it has been called. Many of its readers, viewers and listeners were genuinely shocked by the GOP rout as their perception of affairs made no allowance for such a calamity, while those of us who take our information from the mainstream media saw the vote unfold as independent polls had predicted, with one battleground state after another falling into the Obama column and Democratic gains in the House and Senate.
I urge any conservatives still harboring a post-election grudge to stand behind our President and Congress, as Americans always have, and help dig ourselves out of a mess we’ve all made together. And when we bury the hatchet, let’s toss in the myth of the ‘liberal press.’
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