Napoleon had Snowball and Big Brother had Goldstein, if you know your George Orwell references. Each providing convenient excuses as to why the feckless regimes in Orwell’s cautionary world were unable to do what’s best for the people.
And the feckless leadership of today’s Republican Party has its Snowball and Goldstein as well — the dreaded and dastardly liberal media.
Ah, yes, the liberal media. The most potent and powerful force ever unleashed upon this republic. Able to shred the world’s longest standing Constitution in a single news cycle. The liberal media is our side’s ongoing excuse for standing for nothing, doing nothing, and fighting for nothing. The liberal media has Republicans so psyched out we might as well put our GOP politicians in little league baseball uniforms that are sponsored by “Chico’s Bail Bonds” on the back.
Not since the Chicago Cubs blamed a century of baseball tomfoolery on Steve Bartman has a professional organization had a more pathetic excuse for its own malfeasance than Republicans consistently crying in their room temperature Scotch about the liberal media. Worse yet, this little bit of leaven from GOP leaders threatens to ruin the whole loaf of the party itself. Some of the same people that call my radio show to complain about the GOP’s lack of masculine courage, then turn right around and say the GOP probably can’t do any better, lest they face the wrath of the liberal media.
What exactly is this liberal media industrial complex we’re all supposedly so afraid of? As someone that has worked with and been quoted by more of what we call “liberal media” than just about any conservative media personality in the country the past few years, I might be one of those best equipped to answer that question.
Before joining the Washington Times, I contributed to Politico and Business Insider, as well as USA Today. In fact, my column defending “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s stance for Judeo-Christian values last December was USA Today’s second-most shared column of 2013 on social media. Do you know what was number one? A column by Kirsten Powers of Fox News criticizing the liberal media’s shameful ignoring of abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s infant slaughterhouse.
That’s right, the two most popular USA Today columns of 2013 on social media were a pro-life and a pro-moral values column. Somehow, Kirsten and I each slipped those past the liberal media gatekeepers.
Since I live in Iowa and have my ear to the ground in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, I consistently get calls from a who’s who of liberal media, looking for comments or background on what’s going on here in presidential politics. During these conversations it’s obvious they’re not friendly to conservatives, yet I’ve generally found provided I’m professional and can defend what I’m saying they don’t misquote me or take me out of context. That’s not to say they wouldn’t if they could, but that’s the point. I don’t give them an opening to do so.
During the 2012 election cycle, I appeared on all the major news networks before settling in as a regular panelist on MSNBC. I consistently took probably the most conservative positions you’ve ever seen on any of these networks, let alone the most liberal one. I even gave my Christian testimony on MSNBC once. Nobody every told me not to say certain things, or to change my stances to suit their audience. That’s not to say I didn’t think they weren’t crazy for what they thought, and they thought the same of me, but as long as I could reasonably defend my assertions no one attempted to filter my belief system at all.
In fact, I found that most of my listeners had never watched MSNBC before I was on. You know what’s funny? Neither had I. In fact, the first time I was asked to be on Ed Schultz’s show, I had my wife Google him to see if he was legitimate because I had never heard of him — absolutely true story. I come from a family of working class Democrats, and most of them had never watched MSNBC either. They don’t really watch any news, unless there is a significant story breaking.
And looking at the real numbers, they’re not alone.
The most conservative program in cable news, Hannity on Fox News places in the top-five highest rated shows in the key adults 25-54 demographic. Meanwhile, MSNBC has its lowest daily viewers aged 25-54 since 2006, which not-so-coincidentally is before it went all-out progressive in its coverage and primetime presence. CNN’s highest-rated show, Anderson Cooper 360, is the 21st most-watched show in cable news overall.
Over in broadcast news, Pew Research says about 22 million people watch one of the three commercial broadcast news programs on CBS, ABC, and NBC each night, which represents about 7 percent of the population. You read that right — 7 percent. The networks’ combined morning news viewership is even lower. A combined total of 12.6 million, which is about 4 percent of the population. Pew also says newspaper ad rates have declined 50 percent in the past decade, and the newsroom workforce has declined by 30 percent since 1989.
The liberal media has two problems here. Basically half the population rules them out as legitimate up front because of their documented bias, which is why polls show a distrust of media is at an all-time high. However, its other problem is cultural. With the advent of new technology, people just don’t consume media the way they used to. This cultural shift even impacts ratings king Fox, where the median age of Bill O’Reilly’s viewers is 67 years old.
More and more people are getting their news on-line via their various mobile devices, and look whose side is winning there, too.
According to Alexa, which is sort of like the Nielsen ratings for online media, here are the top 15 most popular political/news sites online (sites catering to liberals are in bold):
1. Huffington Post
2. The Blaze
3. Drudge Report
7. Info Wars
9. Daily Caller
10. The Washington Times
11. Christian Science Monitor
13. The Daily Kos
14. Think Progress
15. Town Hall
As you can see, only six of the top 15 are liberal media. Explain to me why we’re so afraid of these people again?
As someone that has had bylines on almost half of those sites, and communicates with thousands of people each day, I can promise you about the only time my audience knows what the liberal media has to say is when I tell them and I react to it. Thus allowing the other side’s propaganda to gain a foothold in our zeitgeist.
Most Americans aren’t consuming any news media at all, which is why we have so many “low-information voters” who do a better job of keeping up with the Kardashians than they do their own government. From 1840 to 1916, only two presidential elections had a lower voter turnout than 60 percent. Since 1920 the average voter turnout is just 55 percent.
When you look at the actual numbers, you’re left wondering why we preemptively cede so much ground to a liberal media narrative over 90% of the American people aren’t even aware of, let alone consuming. How did Reagan overcome an almost liberal media monopoly to win two landslide elections before talk radio was conceived? How did the 1994 Republican Revolution happen before Al Gore had invented the Internet and Fox News went on the air?
If you listened to today’s Republican sissy pants whining, you’d become convinced Democrats have been undefeated at the ballot box since Watergate. If the liberal media has Jedi mind control over the American people, then why is President Obama so unpopular at the moment?
The reality is the only people the liberal media still has control over happen to be running the Republican Party, and herein lies one of our main problems.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.