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Monday, June 25, 2007

Fair is Fair

Just got back from camping (well, yesterday afternoon). Didn't have to defeat the hungry bears, as dad29 suggested in the previous post. They have all successfully pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, completed their internships and now have productive jobs ... won't have to ply them with money to keep them happy, ala liberal policy-making, right daddio?

Still, the four days of camping were a blast. This is an event that has been going on for nie 30 years ... a group of friends from before high school. We don't so much camp, we bring our electrical equipment to the woods. I brought a blender for margueritas ... you get the picture. However, my kids and I did sleep in a tent that I put up all by myself. We even survived a rain storm successfully. Ooooh.

Anyway, back in town and I see the Fairness Doctrine argument has been going all ga-ga in my absence (see this from Jay Bullock not only for his excellent comments but as an easy means to see all the other arguments flowing from the blogsphere ... so I don't have to). As I rocked my baby daughter to sleep this morning, I started scooting around the Internet and found this piece by the Anonymous Liberal. It exactly says what has been rocking about in my thick skull for the past week ... the irony that the free market skreed by conservatives somehow doesn't apply to the supposedly "liberal" media. Somehow, free market forces are the entire reason for conservative talk radio dominance, yet the free market argument doesn't apply to the other media. Rather, because of their "obvious liberal bias" (lol) they are viciously handing it to conservatives. Read the article below ... it's good.


This week the Center for American Progress issued a report documenting the severe imbalance between conservative and liberal political talk radio (over 90% of programming is conservative) and postulating that structural factors such as consolidation of ownership and syndication practices are at least partly responsible for this imbalance.

The reaction from the right was swift and dismissive. Among right-wing bloggers and pundits, the suggestion that anything other than normal market forces explains the dominance of conservative talk radio is greeted with instant mockery and scorn. As Ed Morrissey put it:

Rather than run crying to the federal government, progressives may want to find out why their shows don’t attract listeners. It’s a market, just like any other in broadcasting. If liberal talk shows attracted listeners, then advertisers would line up to sponsor them.

Now putting aside the question of whether Morrissey is right about the radio market, can anyone spot the astounding bit of cognitive dissonance embedded in this claim? If the phrase "liberal bias" popped into your head, then congratulations, you're smarter than the average conservative blogger.

Yes, the people who insist that conservative dominance of talk radio is purely a product of the market and mock any suggestion of structural imbalance are the very same people who complain endlessly that every other form of news media is plagued by "liberal bias." According to conservative gospel, the "mainstream media" is dominated by liberals who continually foist their liberal views upon the public.

But, you ask, why doesn't the magic of the market work in the television and print industries? By Captain Ed's logic, shouldn't conservatives stop "crying" about liberal bias and just come up with better ideas? After, it is a market. If conservatives would just come up with material that people liked, the advertisers would flock to them, right?

It really is amazing. A central tenet of the modern conservative worldview is that all sorts of structural imbalances in the news media unfairly disadvantage conservatives. This is supposedly why they had to go and create Fox News, because everything else was dominated by liberals. But when it comes to talk radio, they insist that only market forces can possibly explain the situation, that any suggestion of structural imbalance is crazy talk. Is a little bit of intellectual consistency too much to ask?

4 Swings of the bat:

elliot said...

I don't understand your point.

Liberal views tend to dominate old-line media like TV, newsweeklies, and most major urban newspapers. They're also doing well on the Internet.

(You belittle that assertion, but even the venerable, and supposedly neutral, BBC recently admitted to a liberal bias. Also, journalists give overwhelmingly to liberal causes. And lastly, on a personal note, having been a journalist I am very familiar with the smugly liberal attitude of most journalists)

In response, many conservatives have flocked to media's low-rent district ...A.M. radio.

I don't understand why the left continues to try to portray this as some sort of corporate conspiracy.

And why they don't recognize that the left's complete and utter dominance of the documentary film market as an analogous example. Surely, you wouldn't argue that the popularity of left-wing views in documentaries was the result of some sort of unfair practice on the part of independent theater owners?

Other Side said...

I've found more often than not that the conservative brain is incapable of comprehending irony. Perhaps why the comments of conservative bloggers are so full of irony ... unintentionally.

Dad29 said...

A serious argument would begin with the proposition that radio listeners are able to discern the validity of argument and weigh those arguments against others.

But that doesn't seem to be the foundation of the Left's drive towards "fair."

Tune in Public Radio, or read the newspapers, or watch CNN, for the Left's take on events.

Then listen to the other view on talk radio.

Think.

Compare.

Decide.

Behind the curtain, Ms. Feinstein and Ms. Clinton argue (in effect) that the average American just ain't smart enough to do the above actions.

Nice of them.

Other Side said...

But daddio, I do exactly what you prescribe and my views remain unchanged.

I do not agree with Clinton, Feinstein and the others 100% of the time. In fact, I often find myself in opposition. However, I disagree with Sykes and his ilk nearly that amount. I can speak prviately with you dad, with others like James ... even Owen, and we can come to some consensus ... but with Sykes and his mind-numbing rambles I can find no common ground.

The fact is, too, that IMO the vast majority of right-wing radio listeners react primarily from fear and anger. I believe that it is Sykes and company that treat their listeners with utter disrespect because they know their listeners will react reflexively to anything they say.

Call it the cattle response ... ring the bell and the groupies will follow.