Last night The O’Reilly Factor had a segment featuring Tim Graham of the Media Research Center. The purpose of the segment was to compare and contrast the Media Research Center with Media Matters. Mr. Graham did a fabulous job on the show and led with the fact that MRC is focused on liberal bias in main stream news while Media Matters is focused on conservative bias from conservative commentators on conservative opinion shows.
O’Reilly hammered a second important distinction stating that Media Matters is in business to hurt people. I couldn’t agree with O’Reilly more. Media Matters doesn’t seem to have the intellectual honesty or fire power to sincerely debate ideas. They resort to smears and innuendos.
O’Reilly is doing a great job addressing the issue of media bias, but he glossed over one critical point. As Graham was saying many of the items put on Media Matters website get splashed all over the news proving there is a liberal media bias, O’Reilly cut him off saying something to the effect of:
I’ll cede the point there are many more liberal outlets, but don’t you do the same thing?
O’Reilly’s question reflects what most of the people I know think about media bias. They think that some media is liberally biased and some media is conservatively biased, and everything washes out in the end. Unfortunately, that is not the case and things are not a wash. MRC does not have access to the Associated Press; Media Matters does.
When Media Matters attacked Bill Bennett they were able to get the Associated Press to file a story exactly 33 hours and 52 minutes after his show signed off for the day. Virtually every major newspaper and television station across the country picked up the AP story. Can you imagine that ever happening with a MRC CyberAlert?
When talking about media bias, we cannot underestimate the importance of controlling the agenda or the importance of landing sound bites in the venue that most people pay attention to. Until conservative are able to tell any story they want in every major newspaper and television station, or until liberals are prevented from doing that, the playing field will not be even. I hope one day the AP and the main stream news media will get back to objectively reporting the events of the day. I long for the who, what, why and where of the old days.