This is an introduction to a theme I hope to follow up on over the coming days on the elitist view of the "masses." If time allows I'll follow John Carey, The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice among the Literary Intelligentsia. 1800-1939. Faber and Faber: London, 1992; and Eric Hoffer, The True Believer. Time Pub. : New York, 1963.
This theme follows along the lines of gnostic and Platonist fascism as discussed numerous times in previous posts: that there are those who consider themselves superior to the masses, entitled to rule others by virtue of their special knowledge; and that the masses are incapable of living rightly or in accord with cosmic harmony without such guidance and leadership, rulership by the elite.
In my experience, reporters, editors and publishers don't have "an agenda." They don't meet in smoke-filled rooms and hatch plots to slant stories in order to "liberalize" America.
Rather, what's at work here is much less organized and much more subtle. First, there's a process of self-selection that goes on when a young person chooses a career. Those who opt to go into the news business are what I call "Crusader Rabbits", i.e., they want to change the world, make it better. They want to make a difference. Such people tend to be liberal. Then they attend J-School where the professors are cut from the same cloth. Upon graduation, they find a job with a news organization filled with, you guessed it, other Crusader Rabbits. They socialize where they discuss the day, the world, their lives -- all from a liberal perspective. Eventually, they come to believe that their perspective is the norm, that "most Americans" believe the way they do.
In the dozen years I was in the business, I rarely heard anyone voice a non-liberal opinion. Abortion? Well, everyone is for that, aren't they? It's not even an issue. Fundamentalist Christianity? Well, only the fringe is into that, you know, those "rednecks" who dance with snakes! Vote Republican? What, are you a Neanderthal? A muscular foreign policy? Are you a war-lover? The U.N.? Best hope for mankind! One-World government? Inevitable.
On and on it goes. So no one meets behind closed doors to map out a policy to present only one side of the news. They don't need to. One side is presented because that's all there is, one side. The side we ALL believe in.
And because newspeople (like all people) are fundamentally lazy, they rarely go out into the real world and see that their's is the minority view. That average Americans have a much more rounded view of the world. And should a newsie finally make this connection, he/she will likely then blame the folks out there for not being as enlightened as they should be. It then becomes the reporter's self-imposed task to "enlighten" the masses, whether they want it or not.
Thus you get a leftist news media.
Polls of news medial people show that, at the big MSMs, over 80% are registered democrats; a media research group found that just under 50% of all MSM stories were liberally biased, compared with less than 20% conservative; another research group found that liberal positions were mentioned at a 5-1 rate compared to conservative positions.
From the UCLA Study - "While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.
These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.
"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."
From the people I have talked to, there seem to be two reason's for the creeping bias:
1) The newspaper industry is becoming more and more insular. Like the magazine editor of days gone by, who reportedly told acquaintances that she couldn't imagine how Nixon could have won, since nobody she knew voted for him. When 90% of DC reporters admit to voting Democratic, you rapidly reach the point where you actually you can't imagine why anyone would disagree with your positions. You start to actually believe that you are being centrist, when in fact you are just centering yourself inside a left wing clique.
2) Many reporters view their job not as informing, but rather educating. Their goal is to teach their readers how to think and believe the way they, and all their friends do.