January 24, 2005
Big-media dinosaurs face extinctionBy J. Matt Barber
Even today obstinate, lumbering, big—media dinosaurs inhabit and roam the vast terrain of Paleolithic journalism. Theirs is a rapidly dying breed, having succumbed to stubbornly self—inflicted wounds of poorly camouflaged liberal bias — all this lending credence within conservative circles to the popular 'pea—brain' hypothesis.
Among the future—fossils are nearly all major print publications and broadcast news networks, to include: the New York Times (all the news that's fit to slant), the Los Angeles Times (Arnold Schwarzenegger will grope your Aunt), the Washington Post — and forget me not to throw in...the pitifully dwindling regal 'big three' — NBC, CBS, and ABC.
Through the process of journalistic evolution, ancestors of the big media dinosaur slithered to land long ago from the deep primordial sludge of liberal ideology. The following are among the more prominently evolved species:
noun: of, or relating to leftist class of clever, ancient, cold—blooded reptilian with sharp teeth and little regard for objectivity; carnivore — primary food source: conservative Republican presidents [syn: Document—Daddy—Dan]
noun: large, North American herbivorous dinosaur hailing from the Dakotas, noted for slanted, partisan, slurred speech pattern; lives in denial (not the river) of own liberal bias [syn: Tom—Broke—jaw]
Conservatives have been grumbling for decades about the 'liberal mainstream media.' Through both act and omission, the media's reporting on the events of our day, arbitrarily deemed newsworthy by the New York Times, enters our homes through the prism of a demonstrably leftist worldview.
It would seem that most in the press report the news in a manner intended to impress both one another, and other like—minded cultural elites. They clearly strive for the coveted 'attaboy' from their tightly—knit fringe fraternity — They're one big slaphappy family — not a single red—state redneck among them.
With a nepotistic pat on the back here, and a self—aggrandizing Pulitzer there, these dyed—in—the—wool liberals do their thing, perhaps naively buying into the fiction that they truly are 'objective.' But, as they report, that dyed wool begins to bleed a pinko shade of blue—state blue, irreparably staining the story, and further damaging their credibility as an un—biased news source. They report — They decide.
With his number—one best selling book Bias, Bernard Goldberg, a CBS insider with nearly 30 years experience as a correspondent, caused a firestorm of controversy (particularly within the mainstream media) when he exposed the liberal man behind the objective mask.
It was the first time a relatively prominent media insider had broken ranks in such a fashion. Goldberg provided the world with a consolidated collection of his own personal experiences, and testimonials from his former colleagues, offering irrefutable evidence of left—wing media bias. Many of those experiences involved Goldberg's friend and colleague, Dan Rather. For the aforementioned grumbling conservatives, it was nice to be proven right.
Goldberg's book helped to make permanent within popular lexicon, the term 'liberal media bias.' He was branded a traitor, and blacklisted from traditional journalism. The media loves a whistle—blower, so long as they're not targeted by said whistle.
Just prior to last year's Presidential election, Bernie was vindicated. RatherGate, the forged Bush National Guard documents — you remember the scandal — proved the case. CBS ran an old recycled story that was to supposed to show that President Bush had been derelict in his duty during his Air National Guard service some thirty years ago...and, by God, they had the documentary evidence to prove it!
Only problem...the story wasn't true. Rather relied on forged documents that, if vetted by a public school third grader with just below average intelligence, would have been discounted and discarded, thereby killing the story.
Oh, but how they wanted it so! Would, that it could have been true! CBS News and Dan Rather could taste a John Kerry victory.
A few enterprising web—loggers (bloggers) determined within hours of the dinosaur's airing of the doomed story, that the documents were blatant forgeries.
There was an investigation — four lower level CBS News lackey scapegoats were fired and thrown to the rabid conservative wolves — Rather suddenly decided it was time to retire. 'Liberal bias' will now and forever be affixed as the centerpiece of his legacy, and the reality of that same bias in the larger media is both verified and permanently secure.
Enter the new media — the Fox News Channel, talk radio, internet bloggers. It's a beautiful thing to watch the free market at work. Good old fashioned capitalism has broken—up the longstanding media monopoly.
'But what about journalistic integrity? What about accountability?' the dinosaurs groan — this from the same media moguls who, for so very long, had their way with the truth in a vacuum entirely devoid of accountability. Finally, people are pointing out that the emperor has no clothes (Chris Matthews, for the love of all things sacred, put some on)!
But, as with every vacuum, something must fill the void. The new media has stepped up to the plate — it's their turn to take a swing. The Fox News Channel arrived on the scene with a revolutionary new media concept — 'fair and balanced' reporting. In contrast to the dinosaurs, Fox presents both sides of an issue — 'We report, you decide.' They've taken off like gangbusters and lead the pack, having lapped the other cable—news networks several times over.
Not unlike the dinosaurs, talk radio king Rush Limbaugh and a legion of others in syndication and local markets are biased (from a conservative perspective of course). The difference is that they don't claim to be anything but. Full disclosure enables their listeners to consider the words they hear, weigh those words against the speaker's admitted bias — and to then decide for themselves what is, or is not credible — there's your accountability.
Bloggers and other pajama pundits also share accountability. Oh, sure they can publish anything on the Internet — but for every falsehood, there are a hundred fellow web—bloggers eager to point it out. In fact, it's the bloggers of late who have, in large part, been responsible for holding the mainstream media's feet to the fire. As singer/songwriter Johnny Lang put it...'it's been a long time coming.'
So, as the big—media Dinosaurs die off one by one — the catastrophic meteor to blame for their impending extinction is their own damning construct — their transparent—yet—denied liberal bias. That bias is now, and will continue to be the fossil fuel driving tomorrow's new media — a new media whose long awaited arrival and ascendancy has already begun.
J. Matt Barber is a non—practicing attorney, an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer (Matt 'Bam Bam' Barber), and a jazz drummer in Chicago, IL. E—mail your comments to Matt, at firstname.lastname@example.org