Gillian Tett laments the partisanship of news:
This isn’t exactly… errr… news. But I thought the juxtoposition was interesting. As she opened, one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind was “other countries have partisan news outlets, don’t they?” (I knew the UK did). I didn’t know that our TV situation was so unique, though. In fact, for reasons I am not going to get into (involving a manga on a US presidential election that provided a neat Japanese view of how American politics works), I had thought that ours had been (with the exception of Fox News and before MSNBC took its leftward turn and The Current signed Olbermann) a little different in the sense that it is self-described as objective and neutral.
Anyhow, A part of me actually wonders the extent to which the attempts at neutrality in newspapers (in particular) spawned the hyperpartisanship of cable news and the increasing separation between liberal news content and conservative news content. One of the things that always struck me about Fox News is that it is, at least in the eyes of the people I know who watch it, a response to what is perceived to be liberal bias elsewhere. Now, we can argue the extent to which there is (MSM) news bias. But rightly or wrongly, the perception is there among conservatives. And I wonder if, had there been more soft-right news outlets before, Fox News never would have really come into fruition. And if conservatives felt less alienated by traditional news outlets, if they wouldn’t have spent all of the time and effort coming up with their alternative ecosystem.
I look at Fox News as a distorted sort of mirror of what the right considers the MSM to be. Though I do believe that there is a leftward tilt in media (not in all times and all places, but generally speaking), I still couldn’t find Fox News to be any more different from CNN than I do. In other words, they got it all wrong. And, having done so, figured out that getting it wrong actually gets it pretty awesome ratings. So wrong became the new right. At some point, liberals tried to come up with their own counterparts (Air America, MSNBC) and got it wrong (Air America, early new-MSNBC) until they got it right (new-new MSNBC) (or so it would seem). And the result is that the news organization that tries to play it straight, CNN, is struggling mightily.
To get back to my main point, if I had one, I do lament the current state of affairs. The appropriate response to the perception of news bias should have been to come up with more conservative-leaning news outlets. Not mere media outlets that are conservative-friendly. I fear, however, that it’s too late to provide that niche. Conservatives have their raw meat. They don’t want their veggies. And so there is some malnutrition involved.