Americans are getting a look behind the curtain of the national media—and the view isn’t pretty.
In recent weeks, leaked e-mail messages from an online forum for reporters and commentators called JournoList have revealed some journalists’ true colors.
First, Dave Weigel, a Washington Post reporter covering conservatives, lost his job after it was discovered that he made offensive comments about some of the very conservatives he covered. Weigel’s targets included Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge, whom Weigel suggested should “set himself on fire.”
It turns out that Weigel, whom the Post apparently thought was a conservative, voted for Barack Obama, John Kerry and Ralph Nader for President. He has since taken a job at liberal cable news network MSNBC.
This week it came to light that in 2008 a group of journalists tried to protect then-Sen. Barack Obama from a scandal that threatened his presidential campaign, according to messages obtained by The Daily Caller.
Journalists from Time, Politico, The Baltimore Sun and The New Republic, among others, expressed outrage about questions regarding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright that Obama received during a debate. Some of the journalists collaborated to shield Obama from the controversy, according to The Daily Caller.
These incidents shed light on a pervasive problem within the national media. Most reporters have a liberal perspective and it affects their reporting.
Journalists who gave to President Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign outnumbered those who contributed to Sen. John McCain by 20-to-1, according to Investor’s Business Daily.
As a result, the news most Americans get is passed through a liberal prism before it reaches our newspapers, televisions, computers, etc.
Sometimes the national media’s liberal ideology causes them to totally ignore news stories. For example, last year most of the national media were slow to cover the ACORN scandal. They also largely ignored the troubling political associations of President Obama’s former green-jobs czar, which eventually led to his resignation.
More recently, the network evening news programs failed to devote any significant coverage to the President’s decision to bypass congressional scrutiny by appointing Donald Berwick to run the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) during the July 4th congressional recess. Given the importance of Berwick’s position and his views on healthcare, which differ from most Americans’ opinions, the networks should hold the President accountable. Instead, they have given him a free pass.
Given our commitment to a free press, it is particularly troubling that Americans’ freedom to form their own views of events and issues is limited by biased reporting.
Some believe that it doesn’t pay to raise awareness about media bias. “It isn’t going to change, so just deal with it,” the thinking goes. But when the media don’t report the facts about important issues, Americans can’t make good decisions. And if Americans can’t make good decisions, our system of government is threatened.
That is why I started the Media Fairness Caucus (MFC) in Congress last year. I believe this caucus can play a vital role in encouraging a free and unbiased press, as our founders intended. We seek not to censor or condemn, but to urge the media to adhere to the highest standards of reporting and provide the American people with the facts, balanced stories and fair coverage of the news.
Through the Media Fairness Caucus, members of Congress utilize their own 1st Amendment rights to confront media bias and to encourage American citizens to do the same. Through floor statements, op-eds, social networking, and other channels, members of the caucus work to highlight media bias at the national level, promote an open dialogue between national media and elected officials, and encourage the American people to become engaged and educated consumers of media.
My motivation is not personal. The MFC does not complain about negative coverage of me or other caucus members. But when an information source as powerful and influential as the national media has a clear, liberal slant, the problem simply cannot go unaddressed.
Americans have lost faith in the national media. Just 8% of Americans trust the media, according to a recent Zogby public opinion poll. By a margin of three-to-one, Americans said the media are too liberal rather than too conservative, according to Gallup. And two-thirds of Americans say they are “angry” at the national media, according to a Rasmussen survey.
If the media want to restore the public’s trust, they should give Americans the facts, not tell them what to think.