The Right’s “Liberal Media Bias” Crutch

Some days I get the sense that if a conservative were to play the classic board game, Clue, they would bypass all the likely suspects – Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, etc. – and name “the liberal media” as the guilty party every time.

dont-believe-libThe entire conservative conspiracy about the “liberal media” began as yet another outgrowth of the Bircher-infested origins of the modern right, a convenient scapegoat for why things like Barry Goldwater’s epic electoral loss occurred. Many of the conservative leaders then, like now, knew that the claim was largely bunk – but it was a convenient shiny thing to distract the rubes and led to multimillion dollar organizations like the Media Research Center.

But now the rote claim of liberal media bias has become yet another Frankenstein’s monster, outside of the control of the conservative establishment and Republican leadership. The convenient lizard-brain response of blaming the liberal media has now done the work of excusing away poor conservative performance, short-circuiting attempts to correct course.

Look at the 2008 and 2012 elections. In the conservative mind, Obama protected by what some loons have described as the “palace guard” media, was able to defeat obviously superior Republican candidates like Mitt Romney and John McCain (oddly, they often also blame the dastardly liberal media for sabotaging true conservatives in the Republican primaries and saddling them with characters like Romney and McCain – playing both sides!)

The idea that people were able to weigh both candidates in their mind and make a selection in favor of the dark-skinned man of Kenyan lineage is repulsive to them. The media bias storyline is far more believable, and their chosen news outlets amplify this world view. Rush said it, Fox confirmed and that’s all they need.

Now obviously, it isn’t as if liberals don’t critique the media. In fact, some of us liberals make a living doing just that. But aside from some who see the invisible hand of a faceless, evil corporation everywhere, it isn’t an article of mainstream progressive thought the way it is a cottage industry on the right (an average program from Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz complains far more about Republican elected officials than an average episode of Limbaugh or Hannity whines about the liberal press.)

Take the case of Marco Rubio’s response to the State of the Union. As I’ve written ad nauseum, it is a thankless job and nobody basically ever gets it right. In fact, Rubio did as best as one can do when handed such a turkey of an opportunity. I’d certainly argue that his performance was better than the horrible tag team of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi from a few years ago (though nobody will probably do as poorly as Bobby Jindal in my lifetime.)

But then came Rubio’s water gymnastics. The attention paid to the moment confirms in the conservative mind the conspiracy of a liberal media out to “get” conservative figures. But those of us who rended our garments after hearing Gore’s 2000 sigh a million times and Howard Dean’s 2004 scream 70 trillion times know that the true bias of the media is towards triviality and stupidity.

Look at the way the press salivates over every utterance and appearance by Vice President Biden in the hopes that he’ll make a “gaffe.” It isn’t because they’re biased right wing haters (outside of Fox, of course) but rather that’s just how it rolls.

The liberal media thing has become a crutch, a convenient target of conservative ire that encourages their increasingly elderly base to shake their fists towards the heavens, expecting the clouds to react.

  • Christopher Foxx

    Seems the directive was given and received.

    Now, now. Just because Dennis continues to flawlessly spout the company line at every opportunity, don’t go suggesting he’s a mindless partisan. As everyone knows,Oliver “Rubio did as best as one can do … [certainly] better than the horrible tag team of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi” Willis and the rest of us here are clearly the ones with pro-Democrat bias.

    • Dennis

      Please explain “Hey look at me, I’m a Latino, and I love old people, etc, etc”, Christopher. Seriously, I’d like to know how that’s not racist in terms of all the things you thought were racist that you’ve been so vocal about here all these past few years. Enlighten me.

  • Dennis

    “Hey, look at me, I’m a Latino, and I like old people, etc, etc…”

    This written by a blogger here, Marco. Somehow I think it wouldn’t be all that amusing to you if someone on the right like your obsession Rush Limbaugh had said about Barack Obama “Hey look at me, I’m an African American, and I like black parents of kids slain by gun-crazed psychotics, please stand up and have your vote counted, etc, etc…”

    In fact, I’m sure you wouldn’t find it all that amusing at all. Your past history has proven you to be the first person to show up and scream about things like that. And the last person to speak up when someone on your side engages in the same thing.

    Of course you find this amusing now that someone on the other side is wondering why liberals are in such overwhelming glee over a Latino taking a sip of water during a speech. You’re a phony when it comes to race.

  • Dennis

    Liberals have been doing that very same thing with Rush Limbaugh and Fox News for the last ten years or more. Only the whining was much greater. This blog especially. The irony of this post on this blog runs deep.

    • Christopher Foxx

      So, no denying that what ocram said is true, just the usual wingnut tactic of crying “but you do it worse.” The moral high ground of the right, ladies and gents.

      • Dennis

        Christopher, I’m flattered, really, I am, but 100% of your posts now are directed at me and no one else, and regarding nothing else in general. You’re getting boring. You need a new muse.

        I say that for your own benefit.

        • Christopher Foxx

          Dennis: 100% of your posts now are directed at me

          The delusions of the right, ladies and gents.

          • The Dark Avenger

            That’s Dennis all over, push the party line at the expense of truth, justice, and pretend it’s the American way.

  • dbtheonly

    Marco,

    Welcome back!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Merl-Allen/695715159 Merl Allen

    I think they did him a favor by concentrating on his water drinking and ignoring his lies and straw man arguments.

    • Dennis

      There are like ten bloggers here now and about five occasional posters, and not one of them has said a word or made one decent comment about Obama’s State of the Union speech.

      Pretty much sums up the mindless liberal obsession with a drink of water by the guy not giving the SOTU.

      • http://frothslosh.typepad.com/ Ol Froth

        Thta’s because the post isn’t about the SOTU. Its about the SCLM and Rubio’s response to the SOTU. If you bothered to read the post, Oliver is commenting on the triviality of media focusing on Waterloo. And that’s the problem. Media coverage isn’t driven by substance, its driven by apperance, and Rubio’s Waterloo is the takeaway, no matter the content of his speech, or the content of the President’s speech. Had the President audibly farted while giving the SOTU, THAT would be the story, and not the substance of his words, or what Rubio did or didn’t do.

      • noctua minerva

        IT’s the NWO, dude! Shit, black choppers outside looking for true patriots to take away our guuunz and whisk us off to FEMA death-camps, gotta go…

        • The Dark Avenger

          B-ware of the death panel trucks!

      • Christopher Foxx

        Pretty much sums up the mindless liberal obsession with a drink of water by the guy not giving the SOTU.

        And Dennis’ post pretty much demonstrates the mindless wingnut inability to deal with what is actually happening.

        • The Dark Avenger

          Ah, c’mon, Rubio’s performance was comic gold. My wife laughed at it when I showed it to her cold, not explaining the setting and everything.

          Clowns and freaks like Rubio and Ted Nugent representing the public face of the folks on the right, no wonder the Republican party is going down the tubes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.g.grady Patrick Grady

    Short Oliver: Confirmation bias confirms everything I say. Because I said so.

    • Dennis

      Cookie cutter. All the ingredients go in the bowl…… –the Bircher-infested origins of the modern right……..Barry Goldwater’s epic electoral loss………multimillion dollar organizations like the Media Research Center……the control of the conservative establishment and Republican leadership……lizard-brain response……. “palace guard” media………..playing both sides!……..the dark-skinned man of Kenyan lineage ……the invisible hand of a faceless, evil corporation ……….Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz…..Limbaugh or Hannity whines about the liberal press……. Mix it all up together, bake for 30 minutes, and what comes out is the silly notion that there is no liberal media. And Marco Rubio is a brown guy Caribbean senator who really, really needs his water, but don’t ask me to say anything about the nothing burger sandwich Obama laid on us that same night…… at the, you know, The State of the Union Address.

      • Christopher Foxx

        And Marco Rubio is a brown guy Caribbean senator who really, really needs his water

        This is what Dennis desperately needs the response to Rubio to be. It’s why he’s used essentially the exact same words in multiple responses to several articles here. So, naturally, no matter what anyone actually says about Rubio’s speech, even if they praise him for having done as good a job with it as possible, even if they praise his efforts while criticizing the previous efforts of Democrats, Dennis will claim that what was actually said was a racist attack on Rubio.

  • Dennis

    “an average program from Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz complains far more
    about Republican elected officials than an average episode of Limbaugh
    or Hannity whines about the liberal press.”

    My God, Oliver, Maddow and Shultz whine about Fox News all the time. They’ve both made their living whining about conservative media. Shultz has been suspended over his whining about people at Fox. That’s the craziest statement you’ve ever written here.

    If it wasn’t for their incessant whining about Fox, no one would even know who those two people were.

  • dbtheonly

    Agreed that the “Liberal Media” concept is self-validated by it’s constant repetition by the RWMO; which in itself somehow doesn’t invalidate the idea of the “Liberal Media”.

    The question is what can be done?

    • The Dark Avenger

      Comparing Obama to Mao, as Rush did a few days ago, that’s mainstream, am I right?

      • dbtheonly

        Not sure what you’re asking DA. Is Rush mainstream RW Media? I’d answer yes, he is mainstream RW. Of course he uses the “Shock Jock” style & so will put some pretty absurd stuff out there. But I remember the Republican Presidential Contender having to apologize to Rush for “dissing” him, so yes, he’s a player.

        • The Dark Avenger

          I was being sarcastic. Clearly he is more than an entertainer, and he still remains a force as a social conservative.

          • dbtheonly

            Indeed DA, the line between Pundit & Entertainer is thin.
            For me, I still can’t see how the “Liberal Media” argument is made with a straight face on Fox “News”, the Washington Times, The WSJ, NY Post, & the innumerable RW web sites essentailly proving that “The Media” is not monolithic.

          • http://frothslosh.typepad.com/ Ol Froth

            I’d say the media IS monolithic as they must make a nearly daily nod to the “both sides do it” canard.

          • dbtheonly

            Ol, That’s the response to the “Liberal Media” onslaught. The MSM is trying hard to look not liberal biased so they have to give credence to whatever BS the RWMO is pushing.

    • Buzz Killington

      Well, it’s not that there are never cases of liberal bias, of course, it’s that they successfully manipulate confirmation bias in their listeners to make them think it’s more pervasive than it really is. As for what can be done, well, if you can figure out how to change devout believers’ minds en masse you could probably take over the world.

      I think all that can be done, as is do often the case, is wait for people to hit rock bottom, so to speak, and realize what has taken them there. We may be closer than it seems.

      • Christopher Foxx

        Yeah, some few will eventually find themselves unable to continue to support the weight of their delusions, unable to reconcile what they believe with the constant actual reality that things aren’t that way.

        Most, thought, we’ll simply have to wait for them to die.

      • dbtheonly

        Buzz,

        We might argue how much of the perceived “liberal bias” is really a bias in favor of facts as opposed to whatever RW “slogan du jour” is. “Trees cause air pollution”, “Nixon knew nothing of Watergate”, “Iraq has WMD” etc. In pointing out the errors is “the media” being “liberal” or “factual”?

        • Buzz Killington

          There’s some of that, too, of course.