Just got back from camping (well, yesterday afternoon). Didn't have to defeat the hungry bears, as dad29 suggested in the previous post. They have all successfully pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, completed their internships and now have productive jobs ... won't have to ply them with money to keep them happy, ala liberal policy-making, right daddio?
Still, the four days of camping were a blast. This is an event that has been going on for nie 30 years ... a group of friends from before high school. We don't so much camp, we bring our electrical equipment to the woods. I brought a blender for margueritas ... you get the picture. However, my kids and I did sleep in a tent that I put up all by myself. We even survived a rain storm successfully. Ooooh.
Anyway, back in town and I see the Fairness Doctrine argument has been going all ga-ga in my absence (see this from Jay Bullock not only for his excellent comments but as an easy means to see all the other arguments flowing from the blogsphere ... so I don't have to). As I rocked my baby daughter to sleep this morning, I started scooting around the Internet and found this piece by the Anonymous Liberal. It exactly says what has been rocking about in my thick skull for the past week ... the irony that the free market skreed by conservatives somehow doesn't apply to the supposedly "liberal" media. Somehow, free market forces are the entire reason for conservative talk radio dominance, yet the free market argument doesn't apply to the other media. Rather, because of their "obvious liberal bias" (lol) they are viciously handing it to conservatives. Read the article below ... it's good.
This week the Center for American Progress issued a report documenting the severe imbalance between conservative and liberal political talk radio (over 90% of programming is conservative) and postulating that structural factors such as consolidation of ownership and syndication practices are at least partly responsible for this imbalance.
The reaction from the right was swift and dismissive. Among right-wing bloggers and pundits, the suggestion that anything other than normal market forces explains the dominance of conservative talk radio is greeted with instant mockery and scorn. As Ed Morrissey put it:
Rather than run crying to the federal government, progressives may want to find out why their shows don’t attract listeners. It’s a market, just like any other in broadcasting. If liberal talk shows attracted listeners, then advertisers would line up to sponsor them.
Now putting aside the question of whether Morrissey is right about the radio market, can anyone spot the astounding bit of cognitive dissonance embedded in this claim? If the phrase "liberal bias" popped into your head, then congratulations, you're smarter than the average conservative blogger.
Yes, the people who insist that conservative dominance of talk radio is purely a product of the market and mock any suggestion of structural imbalance are the very same people who complain endlessly that every other form of news media is plagued by "liberal bias." According to conservative gospel, the "mainstream media" is dominated by liberals who continually foist their liberal views upon the public.
But, you ask, why doesn't the magic of the market work in the television and print industries? By Captain Ed's logic, shouldn't conservatives stop "crying" about liberal bias and just come up with better ideas? After, it is a market. If conservatives would just come up with material that people liked, the advertisers would flock to them, right?
It really is amazing. A central tenet of the modern conservative worldview is that all sorts of structural imbalances in the news media unfairly disadvantage conservatives. This is supposedly why they had to go and create Fox News, because everything else was dominated by liberals. But when it comes to talk radio, they insist that only market forces can possibly explain the situation, that any suggestion of structural imbalance is crazy talk. Is a little bit of intellectual consistency too much to ask?
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