"Dan Rather's blunder a threat - to the right" Op-ed in the The Arizona Republic warns of the potential for legislation to craft a more balanced media discourse. His basic premise is that the two following situations have shifted the balance of power away from the mainstream media to what can be considered less reliable internet, cable and radio talk show formats. The piece can be read here.
The quotes below outline his case.......
- But day in, day out, the establishment media led the national political dialogue. Two events this election suggest that is no longer the case.The first was the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's criticisms of Kerry's Vietnam record. The establishment media decided to ignore them. The Swift Boat Vets didn't initially have much money for their ads.
- The second was the rapid discrediting of the CBS National Guard story. Previously, it would have taken a very long time to establish that CBS' documents were likely forgeries, if it ever happened at all.With the new media, it was done in a matter of days, if not hours, and substantially by people who a CBS executive initially dismissed as sitting around their living rooms in their pajamas. The establishment media's days of leading the national political dialogue may be over.
There have already been proposals to revive the Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to balance the views expressed on their stations. In today's environment, that would operate primarily as an affirmative action program for liberal commentators on talk radio. John Kerry has indicated support for its reinstatement.
Who is going to police an effort like this? And even if they institute some kind of mamby-pamby program for radio, that still leaves cable and the uncontrollable serpent of the internet.
He also cites the Supreme Court decisions supporting the deeply flawed McCain-Feingold bill as a toehold for intervention. This is a piece of legislation that proves, once again, that all attempts to control election campaign funding only causes new innovative ways to get the message out.
I argue that the shift of the balance of power has already happened in the minds of consumers of media. The real problem, today, is the outing of the decades old rule of left leaning bias in the mainstream press, using the very tools of the press, fact checking and analysis. Bias, denied by the MSM, is being chronicled by the public in polls.....
Rasmussen's poll network bias here.
Rasmussen's poll print bias here.
And a study on liberal media bias here.
The mainstream media has been accused of a liberal bias but has argued that they are balanced and fair. The study above shows that by some measures it does have a strong liberal bias. The poll numbers indicate that the public knows this to be the case and is not being fooled. The only ones that are being fooled are those that want to be and the caccooned leaders of MSM that still are desperately holding onto their own half-truths.
The bottom line of policing the press, is that it will all boil down to a he said/she said type of argument. And who would be the ultimate arbitrator of what is liberal and what is conservative? Sounds like a recipe for some interesting discussions. And that will probably take decades......