It's the end of the world as we know it...

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25.2.05

Sarah made me think (as she usually does) the other day about the perpetual myth about the "liberal" media. As she said:
I watched Real Time with Bill Maher last night, and he brought up a great point
about the whole
Jeff Gannon thing: if it happened while a Democrat was in office, the Republicans would be like a throng of villagers with torches. . . Between Gannon's softball questions, Armstrong Williams' income, and Fox News, it'd be nice if we could finally put the nail on the "liberal media" coffin.

Amen. Yes, all the paid advocates like Armstrong Williams et al, and "reporters" such as Jeff Gannon and so forth are in the news, and yet the stereotype continues. And then AlterNet came though (as it usually does) with some statistics.

The conservative media use an ideological propaganda model that produces a more ignorant audience. One recent study showed that 80 percent of Fox viewers got the facts all wrong about the war in Iraq. Not only did they believe that Saddam had a chemical arsenal, they thought that U.S. soldiers had actually discovered it. Similarly, they asserted that the 9/11 Commission had definitely linked Hussein with al Qaeda. Only 23 percent of the NPR/PBS audience, and even fewer of those who get their information from the internet, had similar misconceptions. (1)

Another study shows that conservative media undermines core values such as equality, environmental protection, and community. (2)

In 1992, 30 percent of Americans agreed that men are naturally superior to women. Over ten years, that figure rose to 40 percent. During the same decade, the number of Americans who say that a father must be master in his own house increased by 25 percent.

In '92, only 17 percent agreed that pollution is necessary to preserve jobs. Now 29 percent agree.

In '92, 66 percent said they discussed "local problems with people in my community." Only 39 percent said they had such discussions today.

The Conservative Media Machine Keeps Growing. Rupert Murdoch owns not just Fox News and the Fox television network, but 29 cable stations, three film production studios, 20 newspapers, five magazines and 38 publishing companies.

His recent purchase of DirecTV gives him access to 11 million satellite subscribers. (3)

Fox News has more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined. Clear Channel Communications owns 1,200 radio stations, in 248 of the nation’s top 250 markets, along with 36 television stations, 776,000 outdoor advertising displays, and over 200 concert venues. (4)

Starting this year, more than 100 Clear Channel stations will begin each hour with a 5-minute newscast provided by Fox Radio.

Sinclair Broadcasting owns the largest percentage of network television stations in the U.S. (62 stations in 39 second-level markets, reaching 24 percent of the US audience). (5)

The top four religious cable networks have combined weekly viewing of more than 7 million households. 52 percent of U.S. adults listen to Christian radio programming. (6)

Rush Limbaugh is still heard on 600 stations and has an audience of 20 million daily.
Nine out of 14 of the most widely-read columnists are conservative, and Focus on the Family’s James Dobson is the most popular of all.

Sources
Misperceptions, The Media and The Iraq War. Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA). October 2, 2003.
Strategic Values Project, as presented in the Death of Environmentalism by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger. October 2004.
Who Owns What, Columbia Journalism Review. 7/30/04.
Who Owns What, Columbia Journalism Review. 3/16/04.
About Sinclair, Sinclair Action web site.
Faith and Values Advertising Supplement. Cableworld Magazine, 2004.


This is the same media that repeatedly turns a blind eye to things because Americans don't like to think about things that cast them in a negative light. Prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib - was it truly that contained? Who knows? We don't want to talk about it anymore. WMD? Oh, no, we went to war to spread freedom like jam. Sure. It's a liberal media. Whatever. But I digress.

Matt was talking the other day about how the Bush administration, if they don't like your message, will just attack you through lies (such as the campaign against the AARP). (Really let's consider the conduct during the primary in 2000 to McCain. This STILL surprises people? 5 years later? Americans are slow...) ;-) How truly, how has it become that disagreement makes you unAmerican? Unpatriotic?

Let me tell you a story about my drive home today. I have a reply brief to write but I left early today. 6. (This meant, by the way that it was still light when I got in the car. Maybe spring really IS coming. But I digress again.)

I have political bumper stickers on my car. They change fairly regularly (they are the magnetic kind -- the rest are on my fridge) so for purposes of my story it doesn't matter what ones happen to be up now. (And because other than one of them - which does become part of the story in a way - it doesn't matter what I have. They all have the same "tone" to them.) (For full disclosure reasons, I shall mention that I also have one of those yellow ribbons that my Uncle sold to us (the ones truly sold my the US military families) for my cousin in Afghanistan.)

Anyway, I can't tell you how many times I get cars from behind me speed up, pass me, give me the finger, move in front of me, and slam on the breaks. One of these times, I just may not stop...I was so tempted not to tonight (because (1) I was tired; (2) my car was bigger. Unfortunately, as usual, I wasn't wearing a seat belt, so I did. Oh, and I like my car.

Ironically, one of those bumper stickers says exactly what I said to Matt - "freedom of speech means the freedom to disagree." My disagreement is not appreciated. And I live in a "blue" county...

Speaking of, I got this shirt



in the mail yesterday. Ordered from here. I can't wait to have a chance to wear it and annoy people. (I like to annoy people; this explains a lot about me, doesn't it?) Yes, I ordered a tshirt not from Northern Sun. I thought variety would be nice...

4 Comments:

  • At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ACK!!!! Please stop the cutesy colored lettering on a black background!

     
  • At 12:33 PM, Blogger Me said…

    Actually, it's because I don't like the white on the black b/c it's hard to read. And I managed to change the background once, but it took several (as in maybe 6) hours and I'm not sure if I can do it again.

    But I'll take doing it because it's cutesy...

     
  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger Matthew said…

    Great post, Stephanie! (and thanks for the shout-out).

    The myth of the So-Called-Liberal-Media is one of those things which conservatives still pound their war drums about. I guess they need fake red meat to pounce on, whenever any real stuff isn't available.

    Oh, and your site is seeing an extreme amount of traffic today. Where's it all coming from?

    Take care.

     
  • At 4:52 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    It's interesting, because on that same program, Maher cited some study that said 50% of high schoolers believe that newspapers should have government approval in order to print something (at least that was the gist of it). How fucking scary is that? We'd still be under British rule if we followed those guidelines!

    I guess that's the post-9/11 generation, where jingoism has replaced patriotism and the right to disagree is looked down upon. With that mindset becoming so prevalent, and the Bush administration getting passes for every despicable thing they do, I think it's pretty obvious that the Liberal Media is merely a scary story conservatives tell their kids at night.

     

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