Monday, April 25, 2011

FOX News claims of "media bias" unfounded

"Liberal bias" meme a tired excuse for conservative lies and mistruths

Last Friday, FOX News aired a special hosted by Sean Hannity alleging a radical liberal bias within American media. The special, however, was riddled with errors. For example, Hannity brought up a long-debunked claim that Katie Couric had called Ronald Reagan an "airhead" in 1999.

Couric was, in fact, quoting someone else who had written a book on "the Gipper," who had made that claim himself. At no point during the segment did Couric make any reference to her own personal opinions of Reagan.

Hannity's program was, by all accounts, a complete fabrication, hardly a "report" by any stretch of the imagination.

The problem with the "media bias" meme that conservatives constantly push is that there isn't a media problem at all, but rather that conservatives today make wild and blanket accusations based on little, skewed, or non-existent facts. It's as Stephen Colbert put it: reality has a pesky liberal bias.

Consider for a moment the criticisms conservatives level against liberals: that "death panels" are within the health care bill that Democrats passed; that President Obama isn't actually a naturally born citizen; that Democrats in general are trying to raise YOUR taxes (not just the top 2 percent); and so forth. Each of these assumptions are simply false, hold no weight of truth to them -- and yet, conservatives carry on their use, whether through their own ignorance or through their purposeful attempts to push forth ignorance in others. It's a disturbing trend and a vile attempt of conservatives trying to discredit their liberal counterparts through the dissemination of lies and mistruths.

If conservatives like Hannity want to debate liberals on the issues, if they want to bring about facts and opinions that are based upon sound research, then that would be acceptable. But instead of facts, Hannity and FOX presented their viewers with "facts" -- which aren't really facts at all, just spliced together sound bytes and videos taken out of context.

Sadly, this sort of thing works for them -- their viewers remain dumbfounded, uninformed about the events of the real world outside of their favorite "news" channel. But for the rest of the world, it's clear to anyone with a fourth grade education that conservatives, whether in the media or in the political spotlight, are losing their minds.

This doesn't mean ALL conservatives necessarily -- there are still rational-thinking people who happen to adhere to conservative principles, who also don't stoop to the levels FOX is going to. But the conservatives that matter, the ones who are running for office and disseminating the talking points, are taking part in a collective dumbing-down of our culture, in hopes of appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Conservatives' use of the "liberal media" meme is nothing more than a red herring, a distracting force that hides the fact that their own bias within their own media clouds their ability to reason sufficiently.

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