Right Wing Media: The Victimized Majority

For years, people have been talking about the media, and its supposed liberal slant. This so-called bias is one of many tactics employed by outspoken conservatives, and has been assimilated into the mainstream conservative rhetoric.The conservatives have done a remarkable job putting themselves into what I call the victimized majority. They make themselves out to be victims of the liberal media, the liberal conspiracy, and any other phrase which begins with “liberal.” They complain about Michael Moore, Al Franken, and the New York Times. Last week, Maroon-News columnist Scott Krummey cited “the latest available data” which marked sixty percent of newspapers as liberal or Democratic, and only fifteen percent as conservative or Republican. I’m not really sure where those numbers came from, but there a few problems here. For one, equating liberal with Democrat and conservative with Republican is a generalization that can be untrue. Zell Miller, anyone? We’ll get back to him in a second. But in Krummey’s defense, he said that “there is… a growing movement of conservative media.”But what he missed is that the “growing movement” is the majority. First, look at the pundits who are running around and getting airtime. Ann Coulter, described as the “reigning diva of the hysterical right,” is putting her gorgeous face everywhere she can. Right-wing evangelicals Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are speaking out even more than before – Falwell even filled in twice for the conservative side of Crossfire. Media Matters For America has been documenting the amount of liberals and conservatives on the air. On February 18th, they showed that, in the past year, CBS had 83 conservative speakers on and only 65 progressive ones; on January 20th, they documented how few progressives were on to talk about the inauguration. Fox had 19 conservatives and 7 progressives on; MSNBC had 13 conservatives and 2 progressives; and CNN has 10 conservatives and 1 progressive.Fox News has prided itself on being the most popular cable news channel. Its owner, Rupert Murdoch, has continually supported the Republican party, and was a huge supporter of Ronald Reagan. Fox News’ CEO Roger Ailes was a strategist for both Richard Nixon and Reagan’s campaigns. Brit Hume, an anchor on the station, also writes for the very conservative Weekly Standard. Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity toe the pro-Bush, anti-liberal line every week. The station’s tag line is “Fair and Balanced.” However, Fox News lies about having equal representation of leftist and rightist commentators. For example, they recently hired Zell Miller on as a “Democratic” commentator. Miller spoke at the last Republican National Convention, and endorsed George W. Bush for president. Fair and balanced, indeed.Also, MSNBC hired Tucker Carlson, the former conservative commentator on CNN’s Crossfire, on February 4th, to give him a primetime spot. And despite of all the movement recently, there’s always been a conservative voice. Conservative hosts own the talk radio circuit. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity (also on Fox News’ “Hannity and Colmes”) and Michael Savage are in the lead, but there are others. James Dobson, who runs Focus on the Family and who advocates corporal punishment from parents, has an international radio show heard by more than 200 million people.The conservatives have entered into this position of false victimization. They cry and complain about the false liberal bias, and they still go on the attack. The claims conservatives make are hyperbolic, over-the-top comments that are meant to get at people’s core values. Their statements are usually not based on articles, and when they are, it’s often a misreading of such articles. And they are often false. Michael Savage can still say that we shouldn’t give tsunami aid because those “countries that were hit by these tidal waves were hotbeds of radical Islam.” O’Reilly remarked that “Hitler would be a card-carrying ACLU member. So would Stalin.” And Coulter can still call Bill Clinton “a very good rapist.” Oh, how the conservatives love Clinton. He’s still being blamed for everything, from the economy doing poorly to the woes of social security. And yet when a liberal says something equally absurd – or talks about one of the conservatives – they get yelled at for their bias.Let’s bring this back to Colgate. Tim Sanford has been quite vocal about Colgate. Personally, I don’t care about the frat life on campus. If people have issues with it, fine; that’s not what I’m here to discuss. When sa4c first started, no one knew who made it. Now that Sanford is willing to own up to it, he’s using it as a platform where he can talk out against the administration. That would be fine – but why is he getting so much airtime? Has anyone read sa4c? Am I the only person who noticed how he bashes the liberal arts curriculum, complaining about women’s studies and other classes that don’t fit his ideal of a classical education? Or the latent racism and sexism of his so-called arguments? Sanford’s whining is pretty much the rhetoric of the victimized majority. Complain about one thing (in this case, Greek life) while attacking on another front. And yet, all the while, he still makes these happy, empty claims: “Colgate is a wonderful place and a great college… When you put a well-qualified faculty and 2,800 young enthusiastic people together, you get a wonderful result, called Colgate.”Indeed, the victimized majority has done an excellent job in slanting American political discourse in their favor. As a result, the word “liberal” and liberalism in general have taken on pejorative connotations. This sets up an arena in which leftist arguments can be written off as part of the liberal bias, and right-wing arguments are accepted. And until this scheme is recognized by the people of this country, nothing will change.