Gillian Tett laments the partisanship of news:

[Excerpt Redacted]

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.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. “Newtclear Power”
    “Defending against Blackheads with Newtrogena”
    “Newtcleotides and Genetic Engineering”
    “Newtunundneunzig Luftballons”

    Let us never speak of this again.

    • “Let us never speak of this again.”

      Are you trying to Newter our conversation?

        • Well we are talking about The Newtster.

          Why wouldn’t zombie’s have souls? Shouldn’t the nature of zombie souls have some important theological ramifications? Maybe we need to reinvent zombies so they have souls.

  2. I’m not sure i buy that we got hyperpartisan news since we didn’t have openly slightly partisan news. I’d go with the simpler explanation that people like hyperpartisanship. Glenn Beck is whatever he is but most of what he was peddling wasn’t new at all. he was pushing decades old books and conspiracy theories. John Bircher non-sense is old school.Energetic populism of the left and right, puritanical judgmental people, people who stick with their own tribe, religiously superior types are old stories in the Good Ol US of A.

    I don’t like this much either. I watch some Fox at the gym and its just weak weak stuff. A good thoughtful conservative station would be interesting. Oh and CNN…CNN blows and sucks at the same time.

    • I’m not sure I buy it, either. It’s just a thought. It’s just kind of strange to me that we go from 0 to 60, from stuffy self-proclaimed neutrality to abject hyperpartisanship.

  3. The BBC is legally required to be politically neutral, probably because that is the only way for a state broadcaster to survive in a multi-party system. A BBC that openly campaigned for one party would loose funding pretty quick when the other won an election. Since our politicians want a BBC they avoid this with fairly strict rules on neutrality and editorial independence*

    *Yes Dr Kelly but the relevant fact there is the government had to complain after the broadcast they did not get a veto in advance.

  4. I am going to finish reading this post, which is a subject near and dear to me, but I had to stop and quickly say I was amused that the fist part in a cut and pasted quote was a note about how you shouldn’t cut and paste it.

    • I’m not sure you shouldn’t redo the quote to match their rules. this makes it look as if FT are willing to be quite unpleasant about unautorised copying.

      • Having read that, it seems to me that Will has followed their rules but posting the link, and a “teaser” of the article as opposed to the entire article.

        Still, I must say I have never heard of an internet publisher not welcoming other sites creating an atmosphere that links back to itself. I am wondering is FT is a dinosaur or the wave of the future.

        • According to the T&S, my “teaser” isn’t supposed to be more than 140 characters. Insane. I don’t have time right this minute, but I will touch it up and likely deny the link altogether.

          The link-back-self thing is actually not that uncommon. Usually, though, all it does is append whatever you copied with “Read More: [Link]” and sometimes will limit how much you can copy.

  5. Heaving read the whole thing, I have two quick comments:

    1. Great post, and I find I agree with pretty much everything you say.

    2. If I may, this seems like front page material… In fact, it seems like the kind of front-pager that would spark a series of posts by multiple writers.

    • Appreciate the compliment. I hope to get my act together, thicken my skin, find the words, and write a post or two on Gingrich and the South.

    • I second this sentiment. In fact, I bet this subject could generate 150+ comments over the course of only a few hours.

Comments are closed.