The Hill, not necessarily known as a conservative-leaning publication, has published an article entitled, "The shrinking impact of mainstream media," by Patrick Maines. The article announces that the mainstream media is a "carrier" of left-leaning news and opinion, and of Democratic viewpoints, generally.
Maines is the president of the Media Institute. According to the organization's literature, "The Media Institute is a nonprofit research foundation specializing in communications policy issues. The Institute exists to foster three goals: freedom of speech, a competitive media and communications industry, and excellence in journalism."
The Institute seems fairly well connected, with numerous important media types sitting on its board. But despite his organization's own exposure to mainstream media, Maines puts forth some maverick opinions in this article. He seems to believe the mainstream media is doomed. It has the feeling of an important piece of journalism and was posted for several days on Drudge. Here's an excerpt:
The bottom line is that perhaps one-half of the potential audience for these media outlets holds negative opinions about them. This practice confounds most people's understanding of the marketing of mass products.
It's not what explains why the reporters and editors don't care that they are perceived as biased. They don't care because the overwhelming majority of them are Democrats and/or liberals, and they think their point of view is both objective and correct.
Maines then tries to figure out why the owners of media corporations don't make more of an effort to provide a balanced approach to news and information. He speculates that it is hard for the heads of corporations and their immediate assistants to "exercise control" over the editorial end of the business without being accused of unethical meddling.
He also speculates that corporate CEOs may actually agree with the left-leaning bias of the mainstream media. Finally, he offers the idea that editorial biases are woven into the texture of modern journalism to such a degree that it is difficult or impossible to do much about them.
What makes Maines's article compelling is his contention that the challenges to biased, mainstream journalism have now reached a critical mass. "It's unlikely that this state of affairs will go on much longer without notable consequences for the mainstream media," he writes. Why? Because of the explosive growth, "courtesy of the Internet," of conservative and libertarian publishing outlets.
Of course, there are those who may disagree with Maines's timing. For instance, we'd argue what he is observing actually happened years ago: that the Internet's impact has been stronger and swifter than Maines suggests.
This may be an arguable criticism, but others likely are not, in my view. For instance, Maines states the challenges to the mainstream media are conservative and libertarian publications. Claims of media bias, he writes, are "made by all the right-of-center media and conservative journalists within the mainstream media."
Surely this cannot be true. There are significant conservative or quasi-conservative mainstream publications that provide right-of-center views, especially major business publications and media.
Also, many so-called liberal publications tend to be quite conservative when it comes to military adventurism. Both conservative and liberal publications often accept intelligence narratives of the military and law enforcement at face value. Thus, there is not so much difference between liberal and conservative publications as Maines seems to believe.
He postulates that half of the population is skeptical of the mainstream media. But probably it is more than half because there are many non-conservatives who find the mainstream media off-putting because portions of it are increasingly intolerant (anti-Islam) and generally and militantly interventionist.
Thus, Maines is misreading the reason that the mainstream media is losing credibility and viewers. It is because there is plenty of content in the mainstream that now offends EVERYONE, given that people are more aware of ways mainstream media reports diverge from reality.
The media revolution taking place in the US is far broader than one that pits conservatives against liberals. It is one that affects every part of the national conversation. I strongly believe that broad cross-sections of the population find parts of the so-called conservative agenda to be just as offensive as conservatives find parts of the liberal agenda to be.
There is no single truth embodied on either side, and both sides rely on government for part of their agendas; the state remains central to the sociopolitical narrative. Conservative leaders often want the government to further activate the military-industrial complex. Liberal leaders want additional and expanded welfare programs.
Fortunately, in the Internet era, there are numerous publications that approach reporting without supporting either the warfare or welfare state. If you are reading this article, you may know some of them already.
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