According to a recent Pew Research survey, the political affiliation of cable news viewer break down as follows:
- CNN: 51% Democrats, 18% Republicans, 23% independents
- MSNBC: 45% Democrats, 18% Republicans, 27% independent
- Fox News: 33% Democrats, 39% Republicans, 22% independents
I find this interesting on so many different levels. But one of the most interesting things is the response from popular liberal bloggers. Many are saying stuff like maybe it is time to “rethink the no liberals allowed on the teevee rule.” Of course those on the right will say wrong, the media is already too liberal.
I personally, as a very proud liberal, think this misses a much more important point. The media shouldn’t be liberal or conservative. It should report the news, the facts if you like, and let the audience draw their own conclusion. The American public is a lot smarter than the media, talking heads, and politicians think. If you give us factual information, even complex information, we can figure it out.
The problem is the major TV media outlets effort to be “fair and balanced.” This means that if you watch almost any 24/7 news channel there is a person to the right and the left debating any given topic. Of course I have no problem with this, you need to report both sides of the story.
No the problem is they don’t fact check both sides of the debate. It seems that in an effort to be fair both sides (and I am calling out my party as well) can say anything they want, cause I guess the news producers think this gives the public a “fair” debate. This of course is total BS.
It shouldn’t be the sole job of the person on the other side of the issue to point out misleading facts or outright lies, the person conducting the interview should be educated on the topic and step in and inform the viewers what is factual and what isn’t.
One of the best recent examples is the Republican talking point that expanding offshore oil drilling would lower gas prices and give consumers (insert voters) relief at the pump. Now of course we’ve all heard it would take 5-7 years for the new found oil to hit the markets. But what is almost never said is that Bush’s own experts on this topic, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that:
Offshore drilling would not have a significant impact on oil prices.
Now this isn’t some liberal think tank, this is the EIA, the government experts on this topic. Yet I have not really heard this mentioned once on any 24/7 news channel. So the entire house of cards related to this debate, more drilling will equal lower oil prices, isn’t correct. Or if it is correct, but we are talking pennies not dollars of savings per gallon.
I am betting the public, which a vast majority are in favor of more drilling, might change their minds if they actually knew the facts.