Sunday, November 7, 2010

Politics: The Real Bias of the Media

"The Media1 has a pervasive, absolute liberal agenda."

Sound familiar? Most of us have probably heard this claim levied at the media (or conservatism in the case of Fox). 

But is it true? Well, I think to a degree it is. No doubt many in the media do lean to the left, and whatever their intentions they cannot help but be influenced by their worldview. However, I do not think this is the most fundamental bias of the media.

No, the most fundamental bias in the media is a bias for sensation. Sensation gets attention. Attention gets money. That is why disasters, celebrity scandals and wars are its favorite topics. Moreover, I even think this is part of what often influences it towards progressivism, since progressivism overturns what is and is therefore much more sensational than "conservatism" (unless of course those conservatives are shouting and calling people Nazis).

1. I should note, that the very language of the Liberal Agenda, or any other generic mass noun "agenda" (the gay agenda, the religious right's agenda, etc.) is actually quite disingenuous as it implies that large, diverse groups of people have some unified agenda.