A new report from Media Research Center has provided some pretty damning statistics when it comes to CBS, ABC, and NBC and their coverage of the midterm elections. In a year where Americans are growing increasingly frustrated with President Obama, the big three networks have decided the election isn’t worth covering. With the GOP poised to take the Senate, our nightly news broadcasts are focused on anything but politics.
That might be forgivable, except that MRC has compared their findings with the 2006 midterms to give us a stunning look at liberal bias in action. The 2006 midterms were much like today’s except that the parties were reversed. Anti-Bush sentiment was riding at unprecedented levels, just as anti-Obama sentiment rides today. In response, voters were expected to make their dissatisfaction known at the polls. That they did, sweeping Democrats into control of both houses of Congress.
The differences in the two elections, as weighed by comparative coverage, is startling. In a seven-week period in 2006, the big three networks ran 159 stories on the midterm elections. In 2014? They have run a whopping total of 25. That’s a 6 to 1 difference, putting to rest any doubts mainstream Americans might have about the biases inherent in their news media.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” is by far the worst offender. Seeing as how they did not run a single story about the elections in the entire seven-week period, a regular viewer might not know the midterms were happening at all! In 2006, their nightly news program ran 36 stories about the elections.
Liberal Bias Is Sneaky and Pervasive
Unfortunately, this is the most dangerous and common form of liberal media bias. When people talk about the liberal media, they mistakenly bring up people like Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddow. MSNBC, in 2014, is making no bones about their biases, though. The least politically-educated person in the country can watch the channel for five minutes and figure out that they have an agenda. These are commentators, paid to present an opinion. That’s not what “bias in the media” is all about.
Real liberal bias is much more subtle. It doesn’t play out in snarky comments from newscasters. It doesn’t involve Brian Williams telling the country he gets a “chill up his leg” when he hears Obama talk. It is found in the stories they choose to run, the angles they choose to cover, and the problems they choose to spotlight. All of it is presented with a high-gloss sheen of neutrality, but the machinations are constantly working behind the scenes to influence viewers in the subtlest of ways.
We have it a lot better than some countries, to be sure. Our networks may lean to the left, but they aren’t run by the state. Still, simply because we aren’t subject to government-sponsored propaganda disguised as news doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. As this MRC study shows, the mainstream news networks are neglecting their responsibilities. It’s up to us to demand better.