It’s that time of the year when football is back. In less politically sensitive regions, so are the cheerleaders: “Lean to the left, lean to the right, stand up, sit down—fight fight FIGHT!!” (Old school cheer, before more rap/showbiz influence).
Americans watch games only for the game itself, of course…
not the sideline entertainment. But for those who want the latter, cheerleaders are on duty 24/7, and 365 days a day . . .
They’re working for national media outlets.
Most people consuming media don’t even recognize the cheerleaders, those who see Job #1 as influencing instead of reporting. That’s because they celebrate Halloween non-stop, masquerading as talking heads on cable nets, at the New York Times etc and throughout Al Gore’s information superhighway, the internet.
Watch headlines on cable and you’ll see a consistent theme. If someone from the left makes news, it’s often described like this:
“Senator Bumsquat brought relief, supplies and loads of cash to hurricane victims today”.
On the other side, this would be the headline: “POLITICIAN ATTEMPTS TO EASE SUFFERING CAUSED BY HIS PARTY’S BUDGET CUTS — WOMEN, POOR AND PETS HURT MOST”.
The right “attacks”, the left “embraces, feels, comforts”.
Let’s face it: There’s always been inherent bias within even the most “unbiased” journalists. Every human being has a point of view and unique life experiences.
The most skilled news people learn to keep that in check, if their role is simply to “bring you the news”. Some still do that, especially in local news (much to the surprise of elite national media). But today what’s known as “advocacy journalism” becomes the norm. And it wins awards. It’s taught as well.
Sometimes the people delivering such news may just do it because it’s written that way. Rip ‘n read. Others work their inner agenda. Whatever the reason compared to, say, forty years ago, we’re more likely to experience someone whose job is to bring the news but instead lobbies from the anchor desk, microphone or pen.
Many sailing in the midst of Lake Bias (at tributary of the River of Denial) may not even see it. Despite polls that show small numbers of conservatives in media overall and majority support for liberal views, in many media offices there’s a mutual feeling of, “YES… we are so objective, always”.
A classic example of living in a bubble of elitism is the case of New Yorker columnist Pauline Kael. When Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey in 1968, the media were shocked. The Larson paraphrase of Kael’s reaction was, “How could this be?!??! I don’t know ANYONE who voted for Nixon!” Actually, that’s quite close to her quote.
Wow, does that sound like today, after Trump whupped Hillary in electoral votes (please break into small groups and discuss).
It’s one thing to have Op/Eds (like this article), editorials, investigative reports and commentaries. It’s another to claim “Here’s the news, unbiased and just straight down the middle” when it’s delivered by someone like Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos.
We’ve now reached a new level of influencing. And it’s often delivered by the same “experts” who are desperately searching for this Fall’s schedule for the Electoral College’s football team.