The Vast Left-Wing Media Conspiracy

Fred Barnes says everyone knew most of the press corps was hoping for Obama in 2008. Newly released emails show that hundreds of them were actively working to promote him, in the Wall Street Journal:

When I’m talking to people from outside Washington, one question inevitably comes up: Why is the media so liberal? The question often reflects a suspicion that members of the press get together and decide on a story line that favors liberals and Democrats and denigrates conservatives and Republicans.

My response has usually been to say, yes, there’s liberal bias in the media, but there’s no conspiracy. The liberal tilt is an accident of nature. The media disproportionately attracts people from a liberal arts background who tend, quite innocently, to be politically liberal. If they came from West Point or engineering school, this wouldn’t be the case.

Now, after learning I’d been targeted for a smear attack by a member of an online clique of liberal journalists, I’m inclined to amend my response. Not to say there’s a media conspiracy, but at least to note that hundreds of journalists have gotten together, on an online listserv called JournoList, to promote liberalism and liberal politicians at the expense of traditional journalism.

My guess is that this and other revelations about JournoList will deepen the distrust of the national press. True, participants in the online clubhouse appear to hail chiefly from the media’s self-identified left wing. But its founder, Ezra Klein, is a prominent writer for the Washington Post. Mr. Klein shut down JournoList last month—a wise decision.

It’s thanks to Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller website that we know something about JournoList, though the emails among the liberal journalists were meant to be private. (Mr. Carlson hasn’t revealed how he obtained the emails.) In June, the Daily Caller disclosed a series of JournoList musings by David Weigel, then a Washington Post blogger assigned to cover conservatives. His emails showed he loathes conservatives, and he was subsequently fired.

This week, Mr. Carlson produced a series of JournoList emails from April 2008, when Barack Obama’s presidential bid was in serious jeopardy. Videos of the antiwhite, anti-American sermons of his Chicago pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, had surfaced, first on ABC and then other networks.

JournoList contributors discussed strategies to aid Mr. Obama by deflecting the controversy…

[continues in the Wall Street Journal]

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  • Honuman

    Here's the thing…..I constantly hear the beat of the drum by the right about this left wing liberal media bias but really, where's the proof? And at what point along the political spectrum is the right drawing the line in the sand to say this is left leaning and this is right leaning coverage. From my perspective I saw Bush get away with what basically amounted to treason and the media didn't do sh-t until about his 6th year in office when there was a move to expose some of his b.s. At that point you started hearing the right complain about the 'liberal media' again but I have to ask them, if there are truly illegal things going on, how does that make it a liberal bias instead of simply 'news'. Obama got the star treatment during his campaign no doubt but McCain made it easy by making many missteps including bringing Palin on board who, objectively speaking, was not ready for prime time with all her lack of understanding of national policies among other things. Obama is still getting some of that honeymoon period press but not a complete red carpet like he used to have and certainly not like Bush had for many years into his presidency. And then let's look at the racism, xenophobia and all around hysterics coming from the right. All the charges made about Obama from the extreme right including the tea baggers are getting all the press on a regular basis, more or less co-opting the whole of the Republican party, and are completely out of step with reality. Obama is not a socialist, communist, marxist or nazi nor was he not a native born American. There's no evidence that his healthcare reform will have death panels and that he will take people's guns away. No evidence whatsoever. And these people who say things like this are getting legitimate news coverage? Give me a break. Fox 'News' not just selectively edits their stories to have a right wing bias but out and out lies. This has been proven over and over. All their commentating shows have flame throwing hosts. Then there's talk radio which is like a right wing playground with Rush, Beck and others with a few left wing shows that I can't even find on my dial where I live. No, this charge from the right that the media is liberally biased holds very little water. The right just simply doesn't want to be criticized and if facts bear out that some of their ideas are wrong they knee jerk react that it's a liberal bias. I'm not buying.

    • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

      Hmm, while I agree with you in general (or at least I would like to) have to take exception to certain of your specifics.

      When the author of the article says “vast left-wing conspiracy” he's using a phrase that mocks Hillary Clinton's accusation of “vast right-wing conspiracy” that was out to get her and her husband. I don't think he's actually claiming that there's a “vast” conspiracy, just some partisan reporters on JournoList.

      You're right when you question the idea of a “liberal media” though. When I work for someone else I generally do what they tell me to do and I suspect most people do too. So if you look at who owns most of the media in this country, you get the distinct impression that the people signing the checks are more likely to have a plain white t-shirt, than a “Che” t-shirt, under that brown business suit.

      After this point is where we start hitting problems…

      As it turns out, Obama is a socialist. The United States is socialist, too. Public roads – that's socialism. Public Education – socialism. Municipal Utilities – socialism. Government regulation of navigable waterways – that's socialism. Government managed airspace – socialism. Government operated court system – socialism. Public police and fire departments – you can bet that's socialism.

      So, unless Obama disagrees with all of those things (and a whole lot more I didn't mention) he's a socialist.

      There is, of course, no question that John McCain wouldn't qualify under the “native born” American standard that people have attempted to apply to Obama. However, I can't say that I'm entirely satisfied with the citizenship (and general credibility) questions surrounding Obama either. He's used several aliases and SSN's and held and traveled under a passport from at least one other country. I'm sure it's convenient for people, but I've got a problem with dual-citizenship, especially when we're talking about the one person in the world who's supposed to put the best interest of the U.S. above all other considerations. Guess I'm old fashioned that way, about divided loyalties.

      As far as the “death panels”, their existence, the evidence for their existence, etc goes, I'll provide you with a link to what Paul Krugman said about them and let you form your own judgment.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aogCaGv9i78</a>

      All I can say to Paul is, “Doh! What were you thinking?”

      There's no question that Obama has endorsed, voted for, or made comments that suggest he supports taking away guns in the past. He is politically savvy enough to know better than to make overt attempts in this political climate, though.

      So, here's a link to his vote FOR a bill which would outlaw “assault weapons” when he was an Illinois Senator. There's plenty more evidence of his anti-gun stance, but your statement was “No evidence whatsoever”.

      • Hadrian999

        he said there was no evidence that he would take guns away not that he wanted to.

        • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

          So, you want evidence that Obama is going to take guns away sometime in the future… His attempts to do so in the past don't count…

          Well, that's pretty crazy, but as you wish:

          As the head of the Executive branch of the United States, Obama is ultimately responsible for the actions of the ATF.

          They take guns away from people all the time and they'll certainly take a gun away from someone before he leaves office.

          Thank you, please pull through.

          • Hadrian999

            guns and abortion are the bedrock our fake democracy is based on.
            they are issues that get the sheep all riled up and ignoring everything the government actually does,
            they are the magicians lovely assistant, to touch either one in a meaningful way would break the machine.

          • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

            Unfortunately, it's not clear to me exactly what you mean.

            But, I would like to take this opportunity to ask a very important question.

            Why can't I vote for a political candidate that'll let me manufacture automatic weapons AND perform abortions?

          • Hadrian999

            because they'll never make it to the show.
            if you do not play the game you don't get the money required to get anywhere
            the 2 parties have such a stranglehold on the system that anyone that doesn't have their blessing is either never heard from or is a joke.

          • Conniedobbs

            As long as there's a second amendment, you don't need to legalize abortions, just paint targets on bellies.

        • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

          Reply #2

          Your comment now is considerably different than the one I replied to earlier today. Enough so that it deserves a different response. Suppose that'll be a lesson to me that I should quote the parent post in the reply.

          There are in fact principled politicians. Love him or hate him, Ron Paul is a study in “principled failure”. That is, general failure due to principles rather than failure of principles. Beyond Paul, there are politicians who worry about more than where the next fund raiser check is coming from. Cynthia McKinney comes to mind and arguably Ralph Nader.

          More importantly, your categorical pronouncement of “if you think any politician has loyalty of any kind to anything other than his latest kickback you need to grow up” is the type of indiscriminate over-generalization that I took exception to in Honuman's post.

          Assuming that we're attempting to positively contribute to the general discourse here, such overbroad and categorical statements are seriously counter-productive on several levels. They are obviously false and trivially refuted and so seem to weaken the position to which they are ostensibly attached.

          Further, such statements add nothing to the discussion beyond distraction and muddled emotionalism.

          Finally, they indicate a lack of intellectual precision on the part of the poster which impeaches their judgment on other issues whether you agree with them or not, on the subject at hand.

          Mindless party/group/affiliation cheerleading, spouting untruths, and hurling blanket invective is what Beck and Olbermann get paid for and is probably best left to them.

          • Hadrian999

            you may see principled losers.
            i see a good con, very obviously damaged candidates that regular people would never support acting as a way for the disaffected to be penned in by the parties, separated into small groups so they never reach a critical mass for real change.

      • bill1776

        Obama is going around our constitution to the anti-American U.N. to pass laws to take our gun rights. After Obama signs the treaty to ban fire arms it will then go the Senate to be ratified. With our liberal dark side democrat senate what chance do we have?

  • Hadrian999

    by this guys standards he works for a right wing conspiracy

    • Conniedobbs

      Oh yes, the WSJ is absolutely part of the right wing conspiracy.

      • Hadrian999

        he works for fox news as well

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Because a liberal has questions…conservatives only have answers (and generally lousy ones at that.) Therefore the questioning curious mind is ideally suited for journalism. Also, what we now mislabel as 'liberal' is a the ability to stand for any principle other than cash… (the idea that a newsperson's first responsibility is to work for an informed public. This may mean 'muckraking' because the info people really need to know is not easily obtained when powerful people work to hide it.) Taken as a whole, since good journalism only leads to annoying entrenched powers…it gets blackballed as 'liberal' unless its empty meaningless fluff or approved propaganda(Fox).

  • wfzlsster

    The media is neither liberal or conservative it is corporate through and through. The will push whatever agenda their masters have decided on. This is why the so called liberal media got behind the war in Iraq so thoroughly. This is why none of the mainstream media has questioned the governments bogus 9/11 story.

    • Polymorpheous

      QFT

      the liberals and conservatives are one in the same.

      • wfzlsster

        Exactly!

      • 5by5

        Bullpucky. You're drawing false equivalencies without any basis in fact, dude.

        • Polymorpheous

          you really think so?
          seems to me obama's policies are pretty much in line with bush's policies.
          government is a huge cash cow for corporations.

  • Haystack

    There's a bumper sticker that says “Reality is liberally biased.”

    What passes for the “conservative” movement nowadays prides itself on its anti-intellectualism. Its leaders are identified as Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and their ilk. Do we really want the media, in the name of being fair and objective, to give equal time to the birthers, and their provably false claims? At bottom, a lot of these accusations of “liberal bias” simply reflect the fact that certain media try to maintain a realistic editorial standard.

    That is not to say that conservatives don't have intelligent arguments, but where they used to have people like William F. Buckley speaking for them, they've lately given themselves over to the lowest, talk show radio-grade demagogues, and expect those viewpoints to be given equal weight as their more fact-based (and therefore “elitist”) counterparts.

    And as others have pointed out, if there is a bias in broadcast TV or cable news (as opposed to, say, talk radio), its within the limited range acceptable to mainstream opinion and corporate interests.

    • bill1776

      Obama is spending millions hiding his past he must have something to hide. The senate should pass a law that in order to run for the high office of president of the Unites States one has to show their long form birth certificate and has to prove beyond as shadow of a doubt that he or she was born in this country the United States of America..

      • http://adavies.org/ Andrew Davies

        Good job.  You just proved Haystack’s point.

  • Andrew

    Obama isn't liberal or progressive, so it was more of a conspiracy against stupidity (Palin) than anything else.

    • 5by5

      I'll second that.

    • bill1776

      Obama was raised in a communist home, his mother was anti-American, his father was a Muslim, he attending a hate America church for many years. What does that make him? A communist, anti-American, Muslim.

      • Andrew

        Prove his home was communist. Prove his mother was anti-American. Explain how his background inevitably makes him what you say he is, despite his current actions to the contrary.

  • Rohatsu

    I don't think 'left-wing' is so much a part of it. The problem is more like The Vast Media Conspiracy.

    • 5by5

      Actually, since there are really only 5 mega-conglomerates feeding America everything it sees, hears, and reads, it's kinda not so “vast”. More like one giant, 5-headed hydra of corporatism, which while individual reporters may be liberal, means that if any one of them tries to put anything on the air that threatens that mega-corp bottom line? That shit ain't never making it to air. People need to stop thinking in terms of right vs. left, and realize this battle is rich vs. poor.

  • GoodDoktorBad

    The left, the right, they all piss in the pool. Now the pool is full of piss. The warm piss slicks converged and now it doesn't matter who pee'd. We are standing in piss. The pool is foul.
    Everybody out of the pool!
    Take a bath, mellow out…..

  • Hadrian999

    you may see principled losers.
    i see a good con, very obviously damaged candidates that regular people would never support acting as a way for the disaffected to be penned in by the parties, separated into small groups so they never reach a critical mass for real change.

  • Anonymous

    Obama is spending millions hiding his past he must have something to hide. The senate should pass a law that in order to run for the high office of president of the Unites States one has to show their long form birth certificate and has to prove beyond as shadow of a doubt that he or she was born in this country the United States of America..

  • Anonymous

    Obama was raised in a communist home, his mother was anti-American, his father was a Muslim, he attending a hate America church for many years. What does that make him? A communist, anti-American, Muslim.

  • Anonymous

    Obama is going around our constitution to the anti-American U.N. to pass laws to take our gun rights. After Obama signs the treaty to ban fire arms it will then go the Senate to be ratified. With our liberal dark side democrat senate what chance do we have?

  • Andrew

    Prove his home was communist. Prove his mother was anti-American. Explain how his background inevitably makes him what you say he is, despite his current actions to the contrary.

  • Andrew
  • http://twitter.com/AndrewDavies Andrew Davies

    Good job.  You just proved Haystack’s point.