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S.A.C.

Political Bias in the Media

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S.A.C.

So this topic is pretty straight-forward. Is there a political bias in the media? I personally believe there is. A leftist bias. Sites such as YouTube or Facebook are silencing conservative voices by terminating their channels under the guise of "rule violations". Now, I get it, they aren't owned by the government so the whole "freedom of speech" thing may not matter to you. But they're sites with billions of users and they're widely known by everybody, so I don't think it's fair nor professional to ban certain users just because you don't agree with their views. It's childish. They claim to be tolerant and accepting yet don't want to hear differing perspectives. Some examples of leftist bias in social media would be against Alex Jones and PragerU (even though I don't like either of them). Another example would be SPLC. Supposedly it's all about tolerance and pointing out hate groups, yet it ignores all the liberal hate groups and mainly focuses on conservatives. In October 2014, the SPLC added Ben Carson to its extremist watch list, citing his association with groups it considers extreme, and his "linking of gays with pedophiles". In October 2016, the SPLC published a list of "anti-Muslim extremists", including British activist Maajid Nawaz. The SPLC said that Nawaz appeared to be "more interested in self-promotion and money than in any particular ideological dispute", identified what it said were gaps and inconsistencies in his backstory and rebuked his assertion that British universities had been infiltrated by radical Islamists. Nawaz, who identifies as a "liberal, reform Muslim", denounced the listing as a "smear", saying that the SPLC listing had made him a target of jihadists. Pretty much every big time, mainstream news channel is biased towards either party, usually the democrats. Just look at CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NBC. Don't get me wrong there's also conservative bias, such as Fox News. But, from what I've seen, there's far more liberal bias.

 

Here's some more examples of bias in the media in general:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/8/mainstream-media-maligned-10-examples-blatant-bias/

Edited by S.A.C.

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make total destroy
27 minutes ago, S.A.C. said:

Is there a leftist bias in the media? 

No

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Svip

If you wonder why your previous attempts at debate topics are closed, this is why.  You start out by simply stating your opinion on a matter, as if you've already made up your mind about it.  That does not start an interesting debate.

 

Now, assuming you are serious (or someone else is reading and want some tips on starting a debate topic), here are some recommendations for starting a debate:

 

Start by categorising the scope of the debate.  Your topic has the title of a bias in the media, but then only talk about YouTube and Facebook.  Is this debate only limited to social media?  And is it just US media?  Moreover, do this in an objective way.  That is; try not to frame the basics of the topic as a bias in itself.  A better title would have been "political bias in the media", so we can discuss all political biases, not just the ones you have a problem with.

 

That's why it's called "General US Politics Discussion", even if "The Anti-Trump Posse" may sound more accurate to you.  At least try and pretend you want an open debate.

 

After establishing the scope, start by linking to articles showing bias, or articles discussing bias in other outlets, to get us started.  Then at least, you can reflect your own opinion on the matter.

 

Because as it stands right now, this is a pretty useless opener for a debate.  And MTD has already answered the question.

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S.A.C.

There. Happy?

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Typhus

Here's the issue, Alex Jones being banned isn't proof of leftist bias. Why? Because his platform was not reasonable, moderate or intended to make a valid point. He accused school shooting victims of being actors, he repeatedly calls his political enemies demons and Satanists, he peddles bizarre conspiracy theories and for the last, oh, decade? More? Has been telling his fans that the world is on the brink of either total collapse or civil war.

 

Now, let me ask you a question: Why would you even care about anything which happens to this man? Why would you choose him, of all people, as evidence of this supposed bias?

Your presumption is that right-wingers are being singled out for unfair treatment, but the right winger you mention has repeatedly abused his free speech to spread disinformation. Why is he the hill you're choosing to die on?

 

Has Twitter banned Jacob Reese-Moog, for instance? Has Twitter banned Mike Pence? Has it banned Nigel Farage or Sean Hannity or Katie Hopkins?

One example does not prove bias. Especially when that example was so far beyond the norm for political discourse. You want my advice? Forget about Alex Jones. It doesn't f*cking matter what happens to him. He didn't get banned as part of a wider purge, he didn't get banned as a prelude to censorship of his beliefs, he got banned because he was a f*cking c*nt, and the fact that you feel any ideological loyalty towards him is absurd.

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S.A.C.

Okay yeah Alex Jones isn't the best example. You're right. I've added more

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Svip

From a historical point of view, media outlets of the 1800s were created with a specific political party in mind.  Indeed, most of newspapers these days were originally fiercely political and it was clear whom each paper supported.  This all changed during the intervention of radio and television.  Since these outlets were a combination of news information and entertainment - unlike newspapers, which was mainly just a news source, they wanted people to stick to their channel, regardless of political affiliation, and therefore tried hard to strike a neutral approach to news.

 

Eventually, this objective news approach filtered to the newspapers as well, where readers wanted a more broad approach by papers, as they've come used to by radio and television.  However, striking a neutral tone means you'll have to give screen time to people, a group of your audience may not particularly care about.

 

Sticking with the United States for the rest of this post, CBS found itself being accused of biased reporting during the 1968 DNC convention, and conservatives around the country thought that the so-called neutral networks were against them.  CNN was created in the 1980s with the purpose of taking the objective and neutral news reporting of the networks and bring it to a 24 hour format.  But again, conservatives was having a hard time finding themselves heard on this channel.

 

Fox News was specifically created to return to the old days of political bias outlets; a conservative news outlet.  But unlike the papers of the 1800s, they weren't willing to admit it.  As Fox News perpetrated a staunch conservative bias in its broadcasting, the business became entrenched, and other outlets started to counter the bias of Fox News with their own bias.  MSNBC is a famous example of this.

 

Indeed, more news outlets' political stance in the US are becoming known, and they are more or less openly flaunting it these days.  And we mostly have Fox News to thank for bringing it back.

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sivispacem

There is a great deal of bias on the mechanism but contrary to the belief of those on the right, it isn't left-leaning. People on the left have frequently made similar allegations that the MSM is intrinsically right leaning. Both are inherently wrong, and both are in a way correct.

 

The Big Six media companies which comprise the overwhelming majority of public exposure are hardly uniformly left leaning. In fact, each of them, Disney and Fox aside, tend to have multiple brands under their umbrella with differing ideological viewpoints. If you look at clear subsets of the media landscape, then the picture becomes even more muddy. Local syndicated networks lean heavily to the right, because that's reflective of their viewership. Digital media tends to lean, not to the actual "left" but to neoliberalism/social liberalism- again, because that's reflective of the viewership. 

 

There are lots of glaring issues with this narrative. When people say the media is biased against X or Y, what is hey normally mean is that the media is biased against an ideology they associate with . So you end up with this fallacy of the excludes middle- the individual claimant believing themselves to be representative of "balance" whist actually inhabiting an extreme of the political spectrum. Those on the right are IME far more prone to manifestation of this delusion.

 

There are other confusing factors- like the US political spectrum looking absolutely nothing like that anywhere else in the world. In the US, centrists are treated as extreme left wingers and the far-right is the centre-right. You have a President who calls white supremacists "good people" and the right leaning aspects in the media praise this narrative. Like politics, media is also broadly polar. There are very few, if any actual centrist or impartial (in a legally enshrined sense) outlets in the US. 

 

Also, social media is very much independent from "the media". At the end of the day the social media platforms are private spaces beholden to none but their shareholders so expecting them to behave as independent arbiters of free speech is always going to leave a bad taste in your mouth.

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G's Ah's

One can always move to New Zealand. There's no media bias because most of the main media outlets are absolutely terrible. 

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Eutyphro

There's mainly a corporate bias. The concentrated capital that large political campaigns are based on also colours media reporting. Furthermore there's an identitarian bias, because concentrated capital has an interest in a divide and conquer tactic based on identitarianism. As long as people get fed narratives such as that the police are a bunch of institutionally racist gangsters, then people will become cynical and politically passive, which will make it easy for capital to dominate political decision making.

 

The news has an interest in a mechanism to manufacture a never ending amount of outrage and sensationalism through identitarianism and social media. Fake outrage is a business model at this point for the media.

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Doctor Holliday

Eutyphro appears to be on the correct track.

 

On 9/9/2018 at 9:50 AM, Eutyphro said:

The concentrated capital that large political campaigns are based on also colours media reporting....
The news has an interest in a mechanism to manufacture a never ending amount of outrage and sensationalism through identitarianism and social media. Fake outrage is a business model at this point for the media.

If you're actively looking for it, you can easily find Leftwing and Rightwing bias.

Which is more prevalent? Which is "worse?" Who cares. They're both guilty of trying to mask their true loyalty; they never actually cared about responsible journalism, their one and only God is the Almighty Dollar. They reap fortunes on the back of our political infighting. It's in their best interests to maintain dissonance and strife. Compromise and compassion doesn't sell. Vitriol and distraction is their trade.

 

The real issue is corporate bias and sensationalism.

No matter what their personal beliefs, they're all addicted to money and ratings, which means that truth and investigation and reason are the first sacred cows to be slaughtered on both sides of the spectrum. Rachel Maddow often looks as ridiculous as Tucker Carlson. I'm not sure who is more insufferable to be honest. And it's really beside the point because they're both the product of the same broken system.

 

The news used to be a Loss Leader.

Your sitcoms and your vapid entertainment used to cover the costs of honest journalism. The news didn't have to generate a profit because it wasn't trying to be entertaining, it was trying to be informative. The news studio used to be separated from the network studio so that their competing interests didn't overlap. But today the networks expect the news to make money... and since money is literally the root of all evil it's really no surprise what has happened to our society.

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S.A.C.
8 hours ago, Doctor Holliday said:

and since money is literally the root of all evil it's really no surprise what has happened to our society.

Correction: the love of money is the root of all evil.

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Saggy
On 9/9/2018 at 2:32 AM, sivispacem said:

There are lots of glaring issues with this narrative. When people say the media is biased against X or Y, what is hey normally mean is that the media is biased against an ideology they associate with . So you end up with this fallacy of the excludes middle- the individual claimant believing themselves to be representative of "balance" whist actually inhabiting an extreme of the political spectrum. Those on the right are IME far more prone to manifestation of this delusion.

 

On 9/9/2018 at 8:50 AM, Eutyphro said:

As long as people get fed narratives such as that the police are a bunch of institutionally racist gangsters, then people will become cynical and politically passive, which will make it easy for capital to dominate political decision making.

I'd say you made a pretty good example of sivi's point above.

 

Let's just both acknowledge we have differing subjective view points surrounding the issue of police shootings.  Your bias is bleeding through glaringly because you assume there is a singular running narrative, and it is one that is tacitly absurd to everyone in the way you phrase it, which goes out of its way to ignore any nuance and context in what people are actually contending is the issue.  Basically you've created the exact type of spin and rhetoric in your representation of the issue that any media outlet would have, but yet you're operating from a perspective where you believe that yours is actually a moderate, reasonable position that's taken by most people.

 

It's interesting because we can both agree that the media is sensationalizing police shootings, but you've come to a wildly different conclusion about what their motivation and intent for doing so is.  I mean, you haven't specified, but I'm imagining that you think there's some kind of hierarchical corporate cabal pulling the strings of everything and using that for great political maneuvering.  I personally don't believe it's quite as orchestrated, and think media companies are just greedy whores like any other corporate entity, so they'll do what they need to for a dollar.  They're in no way above stoking the fears and outrage to increase viewership, despite however valid the public's fear and outrage may be.  The one thing we can both seem to agree on, but for different reasons, is that the "police shootings" issue is a hot button issue that can be exploited at will by media outlets and it is done so frequently. 

 

What I don't think you realize is that it's done by both sides.  See this narrative you believe exists about people thinking cops are just racist thugs, that itself is a narrative they sell to conservatives over at Fox News to get them to believe the liberals are creating animosity between the police and the public.  What's really creating animosity is a 1000 shootings per year and media whores selling any way to spin it.  The problem is once you jump on any side and run with it, you're just contributing to the spin.  Bias is basically what allows people to jump to one side or the other despite critical thought telling them there's not enough evidence to support such a bold claim.  The people who believe all cops are just intrinsically racist and blood-thirsty thugs are cut from the same cloth as those who believe the entire issue is part of some conspiratorial effort by "the left" to stir up political animosities.  Both the latter and former summations sound equally over-simplified to a non-biased person who can identify the nuances overlooked on each side's perspective.

 

See I don't understand how you can actually allow yourself to believe there is no nuance, and that such a tacitly absurd narrative as the one you've identified to be present is the only one or even the most relevant.  Honestly I think the only reason you allow yourself such a leap is because it facilitates the second part of your theory.  Step 1) Exploit police shootings Step 2) ???  Step 3) Profit.  I mean it all fits, it follows logically, but just because an argument follows logic, it doesn't mean it's sound.  You actually have to have evidence, and so to assume what takes place at Step 2 just because it follows logically with what you can observe at Step 1 and 3 is basically what the media outlets are exploiting: Peoples' propensity to speculate, assume and jump to conclusions based on the most lofty criteria.  As soon as you speculate what happens at Step 2, and someone comes and says it, without any proof, your brain wants to lend the benefit of the doubt to that theory because you had entertained the same possibility.  Everybody is guilty of this, and that's why it's easy to exploit.

 

I mean honestly, I don't mean to poke fun, but it's a little ironic...  You bemoan the media and journalism as if it is so insidious in doing this, yet you can't see that you're just taking some other guy's bait. Hook, line and sinker.  I'm not saying I'd be wise enough to avoid every baited line either, but damn, if you can't acknowledge when you've been fooled once, it probably won't be any harder for them the second time around.  Or the third, or the fourth, until basically most people that are watching news are only doing so to have their assumptions and speculations validated.  Once it gets to that point, it's merely a matter of flipping the channel until you find the narrative that matches your ideology.

 

 

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Eutyphro
5 hours ago, Saggy said:

but yet you're operating from a perspective where you believe that yours is actually a moderate, reasonable position that's taken by most people. It's interesting because we can both agree that the media is sensationalizing police shootings,

I'm not operating from a perspective where I have a moderate position taken by most people. I'm operating from a perspective where my position is informed by empirical fact. The empirical fact is that there's no evidentiary basis to pretend the police is more prone to shooting black suspects. The facts don't indicate it. But the media can run with it, because it is a cliche, and cliches are useful when you are in the business of sensationalism.
 

Quote

I mean, you haven't specified, but I'm imagining that you think there's some kind of hierarchical corporate cabal pulling the strings of everything and using that for great political maneuvering.  I personally don't believe it's quite as orchestrated,

I don't believe that either. We don't know the exact mechanism, but that corporate sponsors and owners have influence on what narratives are aired is a fact, and we see it in practice.


This is a clip of Cenk Uygur telling about his experience in the media, where he was consistently nudged for speaking about narratives 'Washington insiders' didn't like, eventhough he had good ratings. It's pretty interesting. I hate TYT these days, but this is a good clip.
 

Quote

What I don't think you realize is that it's done by both side s.

Sure it is, but the conservative media occupies a minority stake. What used to be the case years ago was that Fox was the most biased outlet. But these days CNN is as biased as Fox in my view.

 

Quote

What's really creating animosity is a 1000 shootings per year and media whores selling any way to spin it.

As a European I'm in favor of strong gun control, but this is another issue.
 

Quote

and that such a tacitly absurd narrative as the one you've identified to be present is the only one or even the most relevant.

Race is the leading narrative when it comes to media coverage of police shootings, and it probably shouldn't be, because there's no data to indicate that the police pull the trigger sooner on a black suspect. But the idea that this is the case (that the police are racist) is implied by the editorial choices.

I used this example in my post, and I knew I would disappoint progressives with this example, though they'd like the idea of 'corporate bias' being the problem, which is practically a leftist argument. But it is the example where identitarianism skewing the perception of reality is the most evident.

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sivispacem
2 hours ago, Eutyphro said:

Sure it is, but the conservative media occupies a minority stake

The other issue here is treating the "media" as one amorphous blob and the making sweeping generalisations about it that don't really reflect reality. Conservative ideologies are not a minority species in local syndicated news and radio, or in the print media, or really much of the national television landscape, or even in vast swathes of the internet media outlets (which are distinct from social media). Outside of local news, Fox and the alt-right sphere there's a definite anti-Trump general narrative but it's a pretty big stretch to categorise much of it as "anti-conservative". And even amongst that which is very little of that is politically left-wing.

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Short Stay
10 hours ago, S.A.C. said:

Correction: the love of money is the root of all evil.

Correction: the need to reproduce the human race is the root of all evil.

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Eutyphro
27 minutes ago, sivispacem said:

The other issue here is treating the "media" as one amorphous blob

The reason this is often accurate is because if I remember correctly in the US over 90% of the media is in the hands of six companies. There is such a thing as 'the mainstream media', and they do have a similar generic bias and way of operating.

 

Quote

Outside of local news, Fox and the alt- right sphere there's a definite anti-Trump general narrative

I don't know US local news, but I've read they are owned by the same companies that own the big channels. To be fair, the 'alt-right sphere' is not mainstream, and is an outlier. I don't think outliers are very relevant to this topic. We're not talking about outliers such as Breitbart, or Democracy Now, but about the large corporate players and their bias.
 

Quote

And even amongst that which is very little of that is politically left-wing.

I agree they are not left-wing. Economically they are center right. They're also often quite positive about foreign intervention. They were positive about Trump bombing a Syrian airfield. Though the general narrative on Israel seems to have turned around.

 

They do use social justice identitarianism, because it's a vehicle for sensationalism and click bait. Cliches and stereotypes are useful for sensationalism, because they are instantly recogizable.

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sivispacem
35 minutes ago, Eutyphro said:

The reason this is often accurate is because if I remember correctly in the US over 90% of the media is in the hands of six companies.

As I've already noted, various imprints of these six companies operate stations and services with substantially different political outlooks. Viacom don't really own any core news/current affairs platform, everything Fox-associated is hard right, but between the other four, there's a pretty wide spread of political opinion from offering to offering, largely based on location, brand identity and viewer demographic. Though given that over 60% of Americans say they have little to no trust in the mainstream media to report events accurately, it's probably worth questioning exactly how much influence they wield away from core ownership anyway.

 

35 minutes ago, Eutyphro said:

I don't know US local news, but I've read they are owned by the same companies that own the big channels.

SPG are the biggest television operator by number of stations operated, and provides local station coverage to about 40% of the US population. They're probably the most ardent Trump-supporting media outlet in the US, historically very Conservative biased to the point of basically being a propaganda outlet, and have been attempting to take advantage of the relaxation of concentration of media ownership restrictions implemented by the FCC since Trump took office to aggressively purchase other independent local media companies, forcing must-run segments on their syndicated networks that are usually editorials praising Conservative figures and policy, and using carriage disputes to extract political concessions from transmission providers.

 

35 minutes ago, Eutyphro said:

To be fair, the 'alt-right sphere' is not mainstream, and is an outlier

In the US I'm not sure that this is correct any more. Fox News is inherently part of the alt-right sphere these days, and has the highest viewership of any cable news network in the US. Brietbart is the 62nd most popular website in the United States- behind only CNN, the New York Times and Fox News in the mainstream producers (rather than aggregators) of news media, and ahead of the Washington Post. 

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Eutyphro
1 hour ago, sivispacem said:

SPG are the biggest television operator by number of stations operated, and provides local station coverage to about 40% of the US population. They're probably the most ardent Trump-supporting media outlet in the US, historically very Conservative biased to the point of basically being a propaganda outlet, and have been attempting to take advantage of the relaxation of concentration of media ownership restrictions implemented by the FCC since Trump took office to aggressively purchase other independent local media companies, forcing must-run segments on their syndicated networks that are usually editorials praising Conservative figures and policy, and using carriage disputes to extract political concessions from transmission providers.

Considering I'm not acquainted with US local news, you might be right that I'm underestimating the conservative media share.
 

Quote

In the US I'm not sure that this is correct any more. Fox News is inherently part of the alt-right sphere these days,

I guess that is true. They sometimes run very similar narratives. But Fox has an even stronger tendency to cater towards the Republican party.
 

Quote

Brietbart is the 62nd most popular website in the United States-

But I'd imagine compared to the Washington Times their budget is a joke, and many advertisers do not want to associate with Breitbart most likely. I think Infowars is also quite popular, but Infowars seems to fund their budget through selling fake nutritional supplements. I don't think anyone would actually want to sponsor their show. I don't think we can consider Infowars mainstream.

Is the Daily Wire mainstream? I wouldn't consider them that, but now we are ending up in muddied waters of defining mainstream. I'd consider mainstream those news sources that a large share companies and advertisers want to be associated with.
 

Quote

Though given that over 60% of Americans say they have little to no trust in the mainstream media to report events accurately, it's probably worth questioning exactly how much influence they wield away from core ownership anyway.

Which is true, and due to the rise of the internet they are losing the usual monopoly they had on popular narratives, but regardless they still hold a lot of power over information.

Edited by Eutyphro

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sivispacem

All "mainstream" really means is "current though that's widespread". In that respect Breitbart are definitely a "mainstream" outlet, moreso than the likes of the WaPo. The wouldn't consider themselves such obviously- because their entire message is predicated on the notion that they're a response to the majority stream and in some way subvert the popular order- but in viewership they're definitely more mainstream than many outlets they attack as such.

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Brobinski
On 9/11/2018 at 7:04 PM, sivispacem said:

All "mainstream" really means is "current though that's widespread". In that respect Breitbart are definitely a "mainstream" outlet, moreso than the likes of the WaPo. The wouldn't consider themselves such obviously- because their entire message is predicated on the notion that they're a response to the majority stream and in some way subvert the popular order- but in viewership they're definitely more mainstream than many outlets they attack as such.

 

If anything, the way many use the term "mainstream media" these days has nothing to do with actual consumption, as crazy as that may sound. And that stems from what you alluded to earlier in the alt-right not strictly being a fringe thing any more

 

The way that Trump and the alt-right use the term is part of the identity politics game they're running. It's part of the whole "We are not the establishment, we are here to represent you, disaffected person who feels shut out of the system." You can't really upset the establishment if it's propping you up. It benefits them if it appears the mainstream media is against them, because it promotes the underdog mentality and that connects with people who feel like they've been left behind and forgotten about, which is a huge portion of both groups' bases.

 

So they promote this idea that there is an inherent left-leaning bias in the media because it pushes the agenda, despite the fact that media entities such as Breitbart, which I wouldn't say has a bias but more a literal mission statement, and Fox are if anything in much more dominant positions than they used to be.

 

As someone who only gets second-hand exposure on a daily level to most US media, I'd go as far to say as it has a right leaning bias. although admittedly, that largely has to do with the goal posts being in different places in Europe than in the US, and also my tendency to agree with far-left politics.

 

 

I'd also massively disagree with the assertion made above that Fox is anti-Trump. They may be easing off on the direct support, but simply looking at what stories they dont report on compared to literally every other station will reveal an obvious outlier. There's a meme you will often see in leftist circles that fallows the format of: CNN: "Michael Cohen pleads guilty" NBC: "Michael Cohen pleads guilty"  BBC: "Michael Cohen pleads guilty" Fox: [something inane].

 

 

 

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DareYokel

How can there be a left-leaning bias in the media when there's no such thing as real left-wing media in the US? The so-called "left" in the US is pretty much center right by any sane standards. Just because they're left of racism and Nazism doesn't make them left-wing. If anyone genuinely thinks that the likes of CNN and MSNBC and other MSM are left-wing, they're out of their minds. Large media corporations are all pro-corporate and pro-establishment.

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simpjkee

There's a conservative bias in the media. For example, fake news is utilized far more by the right wing, but the media calls it even by saying "well it's happening on both sides". It's true it happens on both sides, but it happens on the right far more than the left. If they didn't have a right wing bias they'd share the facts that fake news in primarily a problem coming from the right. It's not even.

 

Someone on the left could say the sky is blue and a person on the right could say the sky is red. The media would say 'well I dunno what facts are. It's really he said/she said here'. Uh, no it's not.... the facts state the sky is blue. Quit calling everything even!

On ‎12‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 3:55 AM, Darth Yokel said:

How can there be a left-leaning bias in the media when there's no such thing as real left-wing media in the US? The so-called "left" in the US is pretty much center right by any sane standards. Just because they're left of racism and Nazism doesn't make them left-wing. If anyone genuinely thinks that the likes of CNN and MSNBC and other MSM are left-wing, they're out of their minds. Large media corporations are all pro-corporate and pro-establishment.

This guy knows wassup

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