The Conservative Echo Chamber Is Making the Right Intellectually Deaf

One of the more interesting developments since the emergence of the web as a mass medium is the establishment of a conservative media presence. Prior to the internet, there were basically no large-audience right-leaning media operations aside from a few talk radio programs.

Since the 1996 establishment of Fox News and the popularization of the web, it has now become possible for a conservatively inclined people to consume all kinds of news and opinion catering to their specific tastes and viewpoints. Many right-leaning people have hailed this development, believing that they have finally defeated the hated liberal media. They suppose that because they can now obtain their news entirely from conservative-leaning media that this is what others do as well.

They couldn’t be more mistaken.

While the conservative media constellation is far larger than it once was, its audience is completely dwarfed by the left-leaning mainstream media. People who are “very conservative” love right-wing media outlets. No one else appears to, not even Republicans who are “somewhat conservative.”

The fact that a majority of average Americans has never even heard of the Right’s biggest stars like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck is a perfect illustration that Republican political junkies live in a media bubble.

Conservative activists who dislike GOP nominee Donald Trump are constantly asking themselves how their party could elect an inexperienced bomb-thrower who constantly messes up. The relatively small influence of right-wing blogs and talk radio is part of the answer. Trump-hating hosts like Mark Levin and Glenn Beck bashed Trump daily on their programs for months. Their criticism had no effect, however, because the only people tuning in were those who already agreed. (It didn’t help that their denunciations were completely hypocritical and politically motivated as well.)

Fox News Is a Paper Tiger

While it is true that Fox News Channel has dominated the cable news ratings for many years, the reality is that conservatives are extremely underrepresented in mass media, contrary to what wishful-thinking people on the Right and their Fox-hating left-wing counterparts imagine. Beyond that, it appears the reason Fox News is so dominant is that it has effectively cornered the market on Republican news television viewers, not because it is actually the most influential and respected TV news operation. In some ways, the literal reverse is true.

Table I below illustrates the disadvantage conservatives face on television by comparing the Nielsen Media Research ratings of the broadcast and cable morning news shows, the broadcast evening news shows, and the top-rated cable shows in the same time period.[1] The Left-leaning shows have more than 2.5 times the viewership of Right-leaning ones:

Table I: Television News Show Ratings

Rank Show Name Political Orientation Total Viewers
1 Nightly News Lean Left 7,857,000
2 World News Tonight Lean Left 7,570,000
3 Evening News Lean Left 6,495,000
4 O’Reilly Factor Conservative 4,596,000
5 Good Morning America Lean Left 4,202,000
6 Today Lean Left 4,111,000
7 Kelly File Lean Right 3,880,000
8 This Morning Lean Left 3,323,000
9 Hannity Conservative 3,164,000
10 On the Record Lean Right 3,069,000
11 Special Report Lean Right 2,772,000
12 The Five Conservative 2,423,000
13 Shepard Smith Lean Left 2,197,000
14 Your World Conservative 1,678,000
15 CNN Tonight Liberal 1,664,000
16 Anderson Cooper 360, hour 2 Lean Left 1,623,000
17 Anderson Cooper 360, hour 1 Lean Left 1,536,000
18 Rachel Maddow Liberal 1,333,000
19 Erin Burnett Lean Left 1,309,000
20 Fox and Friends Conservative 1,280,000
Total Liberal 43,220,000
Total Conservative 17,021,000


The more than 2:1 ratio seen above of liberal to conservative viewership is actually only part of the picture, however, since the “totals” in the table above are not quite accurate since many Fox News viewers actually watch multiple shows on the channel and are thus counted multiple times in the simple addition.

Things are even worse for conservatives when one considers that the table doesn’t include weekly shows such as Meet the Press, Face the Nation, and 60 Minutes. It also does not include the numerous and reliably Democratic comedy news programs like Real Time with Bill Maher, The Daily Show and John Oliver ’s Last Week Tonight as well as the very popular, left-leaning current affairs shows aired on the Spanish language networks of Telemundo and Univision. Tens of millions of people watch these programs. And, of course, there are the magazine and newspaper businesses which are overwhelmingly run by progressives.

Conservatives have significant outposts in talk radio and Fox News but their audience size is still dwarfed by the sum total of the center-left media behemoth. The Right’s bad situation is made worse by the fact that cable news as a medium is actually in decline as many of its older audience members are dying off and not being replaced because many younger people are refusing to purchase cable and satellite television subscriptions. Among those who do pay for TV, younger adults aren’t watching cable news.

As the Pew Research Center reported, cable news viewership has been on a steady decline since 2008. Increased interest in the candidacy of Donald Trump has boosted cable ratings, however this is likely to only be a temporary interruption. Even in the presidential election year of 2012, the ratings for cable news only increased by 1 percent compared to the year before.

pew cable viewership

Still, at least for now, a fairly significant number of people still tune in to cable news. Typically, in the TV business, most of the attention is on the average ratings for shows as well as their individual ratings but in order to really gauge just how influential a channel is overall, we should look at what is known as the “cumulative viewership,” the total number of people who tune into any show during a period of time (usually one month). Measured by this metric, CNN is actually the most popular channel, not Fox News. Numbers released for 2011 showed that CNN had a cumulative viewership of 99.4 million. FNC had 82.8 million and MSNBC had 80.7 million. In late 2012, CNN was still in front. Unfortunately, there is no later public data with these statistics.

The ratings data are also supported by traditional public polling. In 2014, according to the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of Americans said they had obtained news in the last week from CNN. 39 percent said they had done so from Fox News.

The online numbers bear this statistic out as well. According to web statistics company, always receives significantly less online traffic than

When considering the power and influence of Fox News, we must also consider that it is severely distrusted by people who do not lean Republican. According to a survey done by Quinnipiac University, 26 percent of respondents said they did not trust Fox at all while 20 percent said they trusted the channel a great deal. This made Fox both the least trusted and the most trusted name in news. Other polls have indicated similar results.

The reason for this disparity is that only Republicans have a lot of trust in Fox News. In the Quinnipiac survey mentioned above, 80 percent of Republicans said they trusted Fox a great deal or somewhat. Just 49 percent of self-described independents said did; 48 percent said they did not trust FNC at all or “not so much.”

A 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center found greater support for FNC among those with mixed political beliefs but still found that it was only the fifth-most popular news source among the politically unaffiliated, ranking behind local television news, CNN, ABC, and NBC (see page 20). The study also found that 54 percent of respondents said they trusted CNN compared to only 44 percent who trusted FNC. Those numbers correlate well with a study conducted by Facebook on the link-sharing habits of 10 million of its users. According to the social giant, 98.6 percent of all links to shared on Facebook were posted by people who were either somewhat or primarily conservative, yet another indicator that the people tuning in are primarily conservative Republicans.[2]

Besides not really reaching people who are not loyal Republicans, Fox News also has the problem that it is not very popular among people who are younger. According to a 2015 annual ratings report released by Nielsen Media Research, the median age of an FNC primetime viewer was 68 years old. By comparison, CNN’s primetime average age was 59 and MSNBC’s was 63.

Though former Fox News president Roger Ailes never publicly voiced concern over his network’s aging audience, his 2013 shift to promote 43-year-old Megyn Kelly to a primetime show clearly reflected a desire to bring in younger viewers. It does not appear to have done much good, however, since the average age of Kelly’s audience is 72, even older than Fox’s 68.

Looked at in a fuller context, it’s quite apparent that Fox News is not nearly the media giant that gloating conservatives and paranoid liberals think it is. But even if FNC were unquestionably the most influential news channel, that really would not be much of a victory for conservatives. Given the paucity of TV news options for people on the political Right, it’s no wonder that Fox News trounces CNN and MSNBC. The fact that one major national news outlet exists that is not stuffed to the gills with Democratic-leaning employees is not something conservatives should boast about, it’s something their donor class should be fixing.

Conservatives Are the Only Ones Using Conservative Media

While Fox News is not as influential as most conservatives believe it to be, it still remains far more prominent than any other Right-leaning media outlet among the general public.

A 2014 Pew Research study found that aside from FNC, most Americans had almost no interest in receiving news from media outlets that conservatives find trustworthy. In many cases, the public has not even heard of them.

Only 34 percent had heard of the Drudge Report. Just 15 percent had heard of Just 18 percent of Americans had heard of TheBlaze, the online news site owned by Glenn Beck. In contrast, 93 percent of Pew’s respondents had heard of Fox News Channel.

The lack of awareness of Right-leaning media is also true of conservative radio. Just 45 percent of respondents in the Pew study said they’d heard of Sean Hannity. 49 percent had heard of Glenn Beck. Rush Limbaugh was more famous with 66 percent of those surveyed saying they knew who he was. But in the vast middle of those with mixed political views, a full 45 percent had no idea who Limbaugh was.

Being aware of Right-leaning media is one thing, actually using them as a source of news is quite another. The situation is even worse in this regard for conservatives as Pew reported since no single Right-leaning outlet aside from FNC was turned to in a given week by more than 9 percent of respondents.

Table II: American Political Attitudes by Ideology
Source: Pew Research Center
Assessed Ideology Percent
Consistently conservative 9
Mostly conservative 17
Mixed 36
Mostly liberal 22
Consistently liberal 16

The general unpopularity and obscurity of conservative-focused media makes sense considering that dedicated political conservatives are a small segment of the public, something many on the Right have long refused to admit.

When Americans’ political attitudes are measured in an objective fashion instead of the flawed self-reporting method, it turns out that there are far fewer conservatives than many have supposed.

In the Pew study referenced above, “consistently conservative” individuals were only 9 percent of respondents. (See Table II.)

Pew also found another surprising finding: people who are “mostly conservative” tend not to follow media outlets favored by more dedicated conservatives:

Even among those with mostly conservative political values, there is a drop-off in usage of sources like the Rush Limbaugh Show, the Sean Hannity Show and the Glenn Beck Program. For instance, just 19 percent of those who are mostly conservative got news about government and politics from Sean Hannity’s radio show in the past week (compared with 45 percent of consistent conservatives). Far more in this group got news from sources such as ABC News (32 percent) and CNN (32 percent).

Consistent conservatives, then, are both united around a single source in a way no other ideological group is, and when they turn to other sources, they opt for those not consumed by many others.

The following table, based on the Pew Research Center report discussed above, provides an illustration of how (with the exception of Fox News Channel) news sources favored by dedicated conservatives are not popular among the general public. It’s sorted in descending order by the last column.

Table III: Media Consumption by Ideology
Percent of Respondents Who Got Political News from Outlet in the Past Week
Source: Pew Research Center

Source Overall Consistently liberal Mostly liberal Mixed Mostly conservative Consistently conservative
Fox News 39 10 24 39 61 84
Sean Hannity 9 1 0 3 19 45
Rush Limbaugh 8 1 0 3 17 43
Glenn Beck 6 1 0 2 13 34
TheBlaze 5 1 1 1 10 29
ABC News 37 33 38 42 32 26
CBS News 29 30 32 32 24 22
NBC News 37 37 44 40 29 21
CNN 44 52 48 49 32 20
Drudge Report 5 1 1 2 10 20
Yahoo News 24 16 25 27 25 17
Wall Street Journal 10 12 10 7 13 16
Breitbart 3 1 1 1 5 16
MSNBC 27 38 32 25 23 13
Google News 22 18 23 26 19 13
USA TODAY 12 13 13 11 13 11

The General Public Is Largely Unaware of Conservative Views

Given the data above showing that non-conservative Americans overwhelmingly are reading and watching Left-leaning media outlets, it stands to reason that news topics that are important to many on the Right are probably not going to be that significant to the public at large.

And that’s exactly the case when we look at specific news stories. For the most part, Americans are generally unaware of what conservatives think. This is apparent when we look at the public’s interest in the two biggest scandals of the Obama Administration during the 2012 presidential campaign: The attacks on American interests in Benghazi, Libya and the deliberate targeting of conservative groups for extralegal scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service.

According to Gallup, even though these two scandals received near-daily coverage for months on Fox News Channel, talk radio, conservative blogs, and by right-leaning Twitter users, the general public was paying attention to them at a rate “well below the average for news stories Gallup has tracked over the years.” This makes sense because it is far easier for a person to avoid (or never even hear of) media outlets run by conservatives.

In addition to not knowing much about the scandals above, most Americans had no idea that the sad state of economic affairs prevailing in 2012 had almost nothing to do with George W. Bush. Keying off of the famous James Carville dictum that “it’s the economy, stupid,” Mitt Romney and his chief campaign strategist Stuart Stevens believed that they could primarily rely upon the poor state of our nation’s private sector to defeat Barack Obama. It was the centerpiece of Romney’s campaign, in fact.

Unfortunately for the former Massachusetts governor, this strategy proved completely useless—partly because the economy was actually not in a recession but also partly because the national media was unwilling to focus on negative economic indicators like unemployment the way it had in 1992 against George H. W. Bush. Both Obama and Bush faced re-election with slowly growing economies that had left many Americans behind. But only Bush was held accountable by the national press.

Based on my background conversations with people who worked within the Romney campaign, there was a widespread awareness of the problem of liberal media bias. Generally, the candidate and his staff tried to work around the issue, hoping to get around it somehow by hammering the economy issue almost non-stop. At nearly every campaign stop and during every debate, Romney talked about it. Unfortunately for him, it was all for naught because he was utterly unable to get the press to tell the story. Despite the Romney campaign’s constant attempts to spotlight the economy and Obama’s policies, left-leaning journalists had almost no interest in the subject.

The double standards used by the media become obvious when one compares how the media treated the economy overall under Bush 41 and Bush 43 compared to the Obama economy. Even though things were actually better under both Bush presidencies, because they were Republicans, the American press was far more critical of the economy during their terms of office. From January to September of 1992, according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs, the major television networks ABC, CBS, and NBC ran 1,289 stories about the economy, 88 percent of which portrayed the economy negatively.

As conservative media analyst Rich Noyes noted in 2012, in 1992, “the unemployment rate was 7.6%, lower than today’s 7.9%, and economic growth in the third quarter was 2.7%, better than today’s 2.0%. Yet the media coverage hammered the idea of a terrible economy, and Bush lost re-election.”

During 2004, the American economy was performing even better relative to the 2012 economy. In September of 2004, unemployment was 5.4 percent compared to 8.1 percent in September of 2012, the price of a gallon of gasoline was $1.91 cheaper, consumer confidence was 26.5 percent higher, and the economy was growing at a rate of 3.3 percent versus an anemic 1.3 percent.

Despite all this, network news coverage of Bush was more than twice as negative as it was for Obama. One study found that 14 percent of stories about the economy sought to place some sort of blame on Bush versus only 6 percent of stories eight years later under Obama. The study also found that even though gas prices were twice as low in 2004 compared to 2012, the broadcast networks were three times more likely to complain about them when Bush was president.

Elections can only be about the economy if the nation’s elite journalists are willing to make them so. While candidates can do their best to highlight an issue, elections are about what the media want them to be. Politicians can run all the advertising they want trying to push the economy or any other subject but unless the media are willing to play along, those efforts simply are not going to work.

Mitt Romney learned this lesson the hard way. Exit polls after the 2012 election showed that, even after four years and several trillion dollars of “stimulus,” 53 percent of voters blamed Bush for the bad economy versus just 38 percent who blamed Obama.

The news media are even biased on the subject of public polling itself. That’s a problem because political science has long demonstrated that there is a “bandwagon effect” whereby people sometimes change their opinions and behavior to conform to what they perceive to be the majority opinion. For instance, one study found that when people knew what exit polls were on the day of an election, they were 12 percent less likely to vote.[3] This is significant because for all the hoopla surrounding television news operations’ calling of Florida for George W. Bush in the 2000 election, it is estimated that TV’s earlier and erroneous call of the state for Al Gore actually caused somewhere between 8,000 and 28,000 voters in the state’s heavily Republican western region to stay home. It is highly probable that because of the media, Bush did not win Florida by a close but much more comfortable margin and instead became the figure of controversy from the very beginning of his presidency. The early and incorrect call of Florida almost certainly had an impact on Republican voting in other states as well given how crucial the state was to the Bush Electoral College strategy.

The beginning of Bush’s term was not the only time the press’s reporting about polling negatively impacted him. As his presidency entered its final years, the three broadcast networks were 26 times more likely to report that he was facing low approval numbers in public opinion surveys than they were to report the same fact about Barack Obama in 2014.

No Media, No Message

While millions of people can now obtain news that is not hostile to conservative-leaning perspectives, they still must actively seek out such information because it can only be had in the Right’s “alternative media.”

Indeed, it could be argued that the Right’s success at creating overtly conservative media infrastructure has actually made it harder for conservatives to grasp their inability to reach the casual news consumer. Because the Right now has a comparatively larger media audience than before, it is difficult for many to realize that they have been primarily talking amongst themselves as this analysis clearly shows.

While the influence and popularity of the mainstream press has fallen in its traditional venues of print and broadcast television, the left-wing media establishment also is in control of the rapidly growing mainstream online news and social media properties.

The reality is that all of the most significant news sites such as Yahoo, MSN, Google News, and Wikipedia lean Leftward. The news side of the web is also dominated by the online presences of big-time traditional media players such as CNN, the New York Times, ABC, and Politico.

Despite what some well-cocooned conservative Twitter addicts may believe, the Left also dominates the social media scene as well. While it is true that some on the Right have been able to use Facebook and Twitter effectively to push messages and spur activism, the ownership and top management of both companies lean hard to the Left. This has very real consequences such as the deep financial and technological collaboration that Facebook freely gave to the Obama presidential campaigns or the continued bias that Twitter demonstrates by its practice of “shadow banning” users it doesn’t like by making their tweets harder to find. Twitter has also been much quicker to ban right-wing media figures while actively working to promote far left groups like Black Lives Matter.

The Left’s dominance of news production also helps it in the social media environment as well since many of the stories which people post to Facebook are actually something they happened to read on another website. Since the Left controls the vast majority of the most popular national and regional news websites, this filters back into the Facebook environment.

Even then, however, the present reach of social media as a source for political news is almost non-existent. According to a comprehensive analysis done by researchers Seth Flaxman, Sharad Goel, and Justin M. Rao which examined the web browsing histories of 1.2 million Americans, among the tiny number of people who are politically engaged, 79 percent obtained their online news from going to the homepage of their favorite website, almost none got their news from Twitter.

The Value of Mainstream

Besides the fact that left-leaning mainstream news outlets help Democrats get their message out, they have the additional benefit of helping Democrats refine their own policies and messages. Smart Democratic strategists know that if a scandal is a problem to their unaffiliated sympathizers in the press, it is something worth taking seriously.

By and large, conservatives have no such positive feedback loops. Instead, the Right’s media monoculture has created negative feedback loops whereby people with little political acumen like Mark Levin, Michael Savage, and Glenn Beck are able to fill Republican voters’ heads with nonsensical ideas like planning to shut down the government with no backup plan or electing fewer GOP officeholders in pursuit of more “pure” ones, primarily because they grossly overestimate the number of conservatives in America. It is poetic justice that many of the same people who pushed these naive positions and strategies saw their own imbecilic noise machine turned against their preferred presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, in this year’s Republican primaries.

More center-right media outlets could also have been able to detect that the GOP’s economically libertarian message has little to no popularity among average Americans. Since these journalistic structures did not exist, however, the popularity of Donald Trump’s abandonment of that orthodoxy took the Republican elite completely by surprise. It shouldn’t have.

News institutions also serve a very valuable role for the left in providing a place for people who have similar values to remain connected to the larger movement while still maintaining the independence from parties and advocacy groups that they desire. Due to conservatives’ current willingness to spend only on elections and think tanks, people who lean rightward but do not like partisan politics have nowhere to go.

Conservatives and America as a whole are poorer intellectually because of this. While center-right individuals might not always fall in line for a policy battle, having large numbers of journalists who are willing to be skeptical of all sides would be a very good thing as both Left and Right need close scrutiny. Republican elites are now paying the price for refusing to subject the consultants who advise them to the skepticism they deserved.

The seeming success of Fox News and talk radio has made many conservatives think they now have a massive media empire. In truth, they have constructed an intellectual ghetto that no one else wants to visit.

[1]       Please note that due to the proprietary nature of Nielsen ratings, only publicly available sources were used for this comparison. Broadcast morning and evening shows in the table are based on weekly median viewership beginning July 11, 2016. Cable news data is based on July 14, 2016. The figure for Fox and Friends is from February 29, 2016 through March 9, 2016.

[2]       Eytan Bakshy, Solomon Messing, Lada Adamic. Science Express, May 7, 2015. “Exposure to Ideologically Diverse News and Opinion on Facebook.” Table S4. “Proportion of links from popular news outlets that are shared by primarily liberal (-2), somewhat liberal (-1), bipartisan (0), somewhat conservative (1), and primarily conservative (2) audiences.”

[3]       Morton, Rebecca B., Mueller, Daniel, Page, Lionel, & Torgler, Benno (2013) Exit polls, turnout, and bandwagon voting : evidence from a natural experiment. In Botticini, Maristella, Abbring, Jaap, & Biais, Bruno (Eds.) European Economic Association and Econometric Society Conferenece (EEA-ESEM 2013), 26-30 August 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden.

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  1. 1

    This article series is literally the best stuff ever written about the stupidity of the GOP. Serious research about important topics.

    Praxis is now in my bookmarks.


  2. 2

    These columns have been generally excellent regarding the damages done by the current conservative systems. But I think they’re a bit too simplistic regarding conservatives’ other options, and too quick to assume other strategies were more viable.

    Given the choice, we’d all rather control the mainstream media and the leading social media companies. Given the choice, we’d all rather Fox News were reaching a large audience with intelligent and reasonable discourse instead of with Hannity and O’Reilly.

    The root of the problem IMO is that the left’s positions sound moral and wonderful and ours are easy to portray as bigoted and hateful. So they get to banish Brandon Eich and take over his company, and take the commanding heights of media companies while feigning neutrality.

    Sure, we can do a better job. But let’s not blame National Review for Hannity.

    • 3

      Gil, there is a lack of introspection on your part here. If your message is easy to portray as bigoted and hateful, why is that and why hold on to that belief?

      • 4

        Why is it that you believe that just become something can be portrayed as bigoted and hateful means it’s wrong? Or that it’s actually what it is being portrayed as by people opposed to it?

        Having to make hard decisions based on facts is rarely “nice,” but often necessary.

        I could easily say that liberal messages are easy to portray as delusional and not based in reality (and it’s just as true) – so why do you hold on to them?

        • 5

          The issue is that people who are clearly bigoted and hateful are attracted to them. It’s not an accident that David Duke runs as a Republican.

          The left has its share of loons but they tend to find other outlets like the Green Party.

  3. 6
  4. 7

    The data tells the opposite of the headline. Conservatives and those with mixed views get news from conservative and leftist media. Leftists, on the other hand, are intellectually deaf, watching only news that supports their ideology.

    • 8
    • 9

      I hope you don’t wear out your arm patting yourself on the back for making right partisans seem like the obvious good guys

  5. 10

    Republican doesn’t mean conservative anymore. That’s what the GOP and MSM are missing. I was a moderate democrat pushed out of the party by the disgusting behavior of the Clintons. Now I am a moderate republican, christian but not evangelical, pro choice, financial realist, and Trump supporter. Oh, and Latina as well.

  6. 11

    So what this piece is saying is that most media is left leaning and biased. And that Republicans are willing to listen to lefty news and evaluate it but Democrats are unwilling to listen to righty news. So Republicans are more open minded then Democrats. Sounds about right.

    This piece was written in a very confusing way. I think you proved a point but not in the way you think you did.

    • 12
    • 13

      No. You missed the point by a furlong, intentional or not. In fact you took a complete opposite away.

    • 14

      My take away was that Confirmation Bias is rampant, and not attached to any particular ideology. One must force oneself to absorb and evaluate ideas one may find reprehensible, and I think most people lack the wherewithal. The internet makes this easier, but it’s still daunting to find views opposing ones own that are reliable and well thought out. I am very far left in my views and it frankly took years assembling a list of right-ward leaning sites and commentators that are reliable and thoughtful enough to take seriously and make me question my own worldview, but I still find myself going to places and people I find disreputable for the sake of understanding what the average person is seeing and hearing. And the same situation applies to those outlets that are supposedly biased in a direction I should support. Can anyone say with a straight face that “The Huffington Post” or “” are any better than digital versions of the “Weekly World News” with a political slant? Republican, Democrat….don’t most people really just want to hear someone tell them they’re right at the end of the day?

  7. 15
  8. 16

    So….conservatism is doomed to perpetual failure because we are and we reinforce our exclusion from the mainstream media,
    allowing the vicious and biased caricature of conservatism to be the only common concept of it?

    (pinches bridge of nose) Is there a way out or do we send the stars and bars to the dry cleaners to get it ready for another roll?

    Seriously though, Mr. Sheffield or anybody else, whats the solution?

    • 17


      The solution is enormously complex and multifaceted. Some of it involves admitting that conservative size-of-government viewpoints are totally undesired by the public. Some of it involves ejecting the corrupt, incompetent and wrong-headed elites who have been destroying American conservatism. The firing of Roger Ailes was a great step. It should be one of many such sackings, however.

      The very first step is to understand that the problems are numerous. That is what this article and others like it in this series are about. I encourage you to continue reading as I delve into this topic in the weeks and months ahead. Thanks for reading this piece.

      • 18

        Explain why the majority of state governments today are Republican?
        The lame stream can no longer hide the fact of the Democrat policies that are so destructive as we all can easily see that the largest municipalities run by Democrats for decades are fiscal disasters filled with crime, poverty and corruption. The lametream, which is now a campaign arm of the Democrat party, and the Democrats no longer have monopoly control on dictating political correctness.

      • 19

        I guess I really don’t understand the point you are trying to make with this article. As for size-of-government viewpoints, they may be undesirable by the public but that doesn’t make them wrong. People are naturally going to want “free” stuff which means huge bureaucracies to oversee them. Which means spending money we don’t have. It also means the government then has way too much power over the people. Are you saying conservatives should just ditch their values because they aren’t popular?

        Corrupt, incompetent elites should be ejected from both sides of the aisle. In government and media.

        • 20

          Letting go of the satisfaction about being ‘right’ about your principles and values might be a good start.

          • 21

            If I didn’t think I was “right” about my principles and values wouldn’t I then have different values? Your response doesn’t really make sense. Unless you are saying “let go of your values and agree with mine?”

          • 22

            On the contrary, I think he’s saying that if you are not convinced by his argument, why should he be convinced by yours? You’re making assertions you can’t or won’t back up with data. “Spending money we don’t have.” A tired argument, easily refuted with data. But even raw data can be open to interpretation, thus we argue, which means the system is working the way the Founders intended. “Corrupt, incompetent elites should be ejected from both sides of the aisle. In government and media.” Ejected by whom? Who gets to decide who is an incompetent elite? I suspect we have very different lists, you and I. And to be replaced by who? What’s to stop the replacements from then becoming corrupt and incompetent elites themselves? By your own assertion, that is the natural trajectory of a great many people handed enormous power. I consider many Conservative ideas to be ancient, vicious and historically discredited. And I believe I have all the data I need to back that up. However, I leave open the possibility that I am wrong. Indeed, I count on it that I am most likely entirely wrong. That’s why I am willing to listen to and give weight to the other side of the argument. I thought the thrust of this piece is that if everyone acted this way we, meaning the human race in general, might make more progress.

  9. 23

    After witnessing the media lying about Sarah Palin in 2008, I turned to conservative media and have been much better informed because of it. For instance, when someone claims that conservatives were harping endlessly on the IRS scandal during the 2012 election cycle and most of the public didn’t care, I’m glad to be equipped with the knowledge that the IRS scandal became known in May of 2013.

  10. 24

    It’s important to remember that “liberal” has become a dirty word and has a whole slew of connotations. CNN is “liberal” but watching the network lately, I’m seeing pundits who have signed non-disclosure agreements with Trump and can’t say anything negative about him dominating the panels. More and more I’m seeing two right-wing bloggers against one “liberal on panels” The network is definitely stacking the deck to the right for ratings. Plus, you have to remember the “liberal bias” deal is a canard. Studies have shown that Sunday morning news shows have been dominated by conservative voices for years. This cry of “liberal bias” is a reflection of the paranoia of the right. They comically think the world has a “liberal bias,” from Twitter (hence Twitchy), Wikipedia (hence Conservapedia), and we all know about the Facebook witch hunt, even the Pope is a liberal plot. Teachers, scientists, AARP etc. etc. are all “libtards.” But the real indicator is that every time a conservative is cornered, they blame the media. Every frikkin’ time. That says it all.

  11. 25

    This is so dumb. Your point is correct – the conservative media echo chamber has made the right deaf to reality – but then you, yourself, seem deaf to reality. You call all network news left-leaning (it’s not – that’s just a conservative tone-deaf fantasy version of reality) and you say “The general public is unaware of conservative views,” which is also completely false.

    I would suggest looking in the mirror. If you believe that the media has a liberal bias (and I know most of your bubble-bred readers believe that as an article of faith) and that people would agree with your views if only they weren’t for that meddling liberal media, then you live in the bubble yourself.

  12. 26

    I think your “Total Liberal” and “Total Conservative” numbers in Table I are either slightly misleading or miscalculated. “Total Liberal” = Liberal + Lean Left, while “Total Conservative” = Conservative + ???. “Total Conservative” = Conservative + Lean Right = 22.9mil, which I think would be the apples-to-apples comparison. It’s still about a 2:1 ratio, just not quite as skewed as those numbers portray.

  13. 27

    “most Americans had no idea that the sad state of economic affairs prevailing in 2012 had almost nothing to do with George W. Bush.”

    Since you got that fact, probably the defining fact of the last 20 years, so almost 100% wrong, it’s no surprise that the rest of this article is also almost 100% wrong. You did get right that in 2012 economic affairs was in a sad state. And you did get right that the Conservative echo chamber is making the Right intellectually deaf.

    Bush took over an economy that was flying too high and needed a “soft landing”. Whether or not one was possible, Bush landed the economy hard instead. While overseeing the defense of the country through the worst domestic attack since Pearl Harbor, and the worst civilian one (even excluding the Pentagon) since the Civil War. In that first year, even just those events kicked an economy needing careful management into the gutter. The Bush response was to open the credit floodgates even wider than they’d been 1999-2001, masking the real economy’s failure with a fake financial economy – at interest.

    Then Bush counterattacked the wrong country – Iraq – while failing to get Afghanistan, or even the Taliban, or even the Qaeda, or even Binladen himself under control. That kind of demoralization 2002-2008 further undermined the US economy. To pay for the Iraq and half-handed Afghanistan wars, Bush borrowed over a TRILLION AND A HALF dollars. While gutting taxes, while pumping up spending (helping hide the collapsing real economy) – causing even more borrowed $TRILLIONS. Diverting that borrowed money from agencies properly managing the country, so leaving the economy and morale collapsing further. Even just those few big ticket items, in an 8 year presidency that remade America’s gargantuan and costly military system, represent several $TRILLION new burdens on an economy that had just recently come barely into surplus after generations of deficit. Of course those $TRILLIONS defined the 2008 economy when it collapsed, when newly unpayable private debts of several $TRILLION more became the brickload breaking the camel’s back.

    All this was executed with 2001-2006 Republicans in total control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. To say nothing of the partisan Supreme Court that had inaugurated Bush despite the failed 2000 election, reinforced by two Bush appointees. The economy started collapsing in 2006, while Republicans still held that trifecta, as deregulated and corrupt mortgages hiding the mismanaged real economy contractually jacked up their rates, triggering unpayable mortgate insurance contracts among banks. Incidentally collapsing the US manufacturing industry that revolves around carmaking, which itself practiced the same scam financial economy during that outlaw era. That 2006-2008 slide was presided over by Bush’s Executive Branch, including its Treasury and Federal Reserve staffed and chaired by Bush appointees. Bush himself completely disappeared from leadership as the economy collapsed for months while he was still president.

    It’s astonishing that I have to remind you that the sad state of the 2012 economy was due overwhelmingly to the financial collapse in 2008 Q4. Or that the 2008 collapse saw Bush completely abandon the job during the last 10% of his presidency.

    It is completely unreal to state that Bush had almost nothing to do with the sad state of the 2012 economy. But to believe that you have to live in a Conservative echo chamber. Which goes to show that the Conservative echo chamber is hopelessly wrapped in layers of onion. You can see the dysfunction of the chamber that’s further gone than you: Fox and its feedback networks. Just as Fox can see the dysfunction of the Trump chamber further gone than itself. But you’re chambered yourself when you think that the giant corporate news outlets not quite as Conservative as Fox are “left leaning”. They are at best “centrist”, hewing to an opportunist corporate agenda without regard to actual ideology, but since many core Conservative values and actions are indistinguishable from corporate values and actions they’re really “right leaning” (and “leaning” only relative to the more extreme right like Fox and then Trump’s mediasphere after it).

    Most importantly you skipped the even bigger picture: Fewer than 10% of Americans watch TV news of any kind even once during any typical week. TV news is itself an echo chamber. But if you’re not going to admit that Bush was the person primarily responsible for the bad 2012 economy he’d spent 8 long years harming in so many existential ways, you’re not going to notice that either.

  14. 28

    I challenge your use of the term “left-leaning” for various corporate media. More accurate would be “reality-leaning.”

    You just briefly mentioned Meet the Press, but the Sunday Morning Pundit Shows are all crappy due primarily to the fact they are corporate welfare to the Right. When does Noam Chomsky ever appear there? Michael Moore? Angela Davis? Bernie Sanders, before he ran for President? In contrast it’s like John McCain and Lindsay Graham are such regulars the green room has got to be well-stocked on their favorite liquors and snacks.

    Al Franken busted the ridiculous “liberal media” myth with the comment “Most reporters are less likely to be personally acquainted with someone who’s bombed an abortion clinic than most Republican officials.” He was right. You are a shill for buying into the myth or else incredibly thick-headed.

    • 29

      You seem to have missed my usage of “center-left” in reference to media.

      I agree that there are very few far left voices like Chomsky on TV. But the academic research and the polling is crystal clear that national-level journalists are not Republican. Literally only 7% in a recent poll said they were.

      You make the common mistake that many on the further left do of not differentiating between center left and far left.

      To be perfectly honest, I wish there were more Bernie Sanders-type voices in the elite media. It’s becoming a neoliberal monoculture that’s rather suffocating.

      • 30

        Actually, you make the mistake of thinking that a journalist who doesn’t identify as a conservative doesn’t report the news with a conservative frame. You guys have done such an effective job in harassing the media with accusations of liberal bias that they now bend over backwards to cover whatever you want and to allow conservative misinformation to be covered unchallenged (lest they be accused of bias).

        That is the nature of the bubble and the tone-deafness problem on the right – you’ve cowed the traditional media into not challenging misinformation, and as a result, you guys can’t sort of out fact from spin anymore. To make things even worse, you still believe as an article of faith that the media is biased against you because reporters aren’t mostly personally conservative (big stars like Mark Halperin and Ron Fournier aside), which blinds you to the disconnect Americans feel between their reality and the narratives in the media.

        The tactic was extremely effective for you in the 2000s, but by the time conservative economic and foreign policy had both failed miserably by around 2005-2006, Americans no longer took their cues from the media. People knew how Republicans had failed, no matter how much ABC or CNN tried to play it off like both parties are equally to blame all the time, for everything.

        But, yeah, you keep believing that reporters who are not personally conservative don’t bend over backwards to prove to you that they aren’t liberal – and that is guaranteed to keep you in the deaf-to-reality bubble you decry.

    • 31

      If you don’t think most of the media is left leaning I would suggest that maybe you are having trouble getting out of your bubble and objectively analyzing the news. It’s not just what they cover, it’s how and also what they don’t cover.

  15. 32

    You make some good points in your article.

    However, what is your methodology for the Political Orientation labeling of media programs?

    I consider most mainstream programs to be “Washington consensus” in proclivity which would be center-right. They generally book more Republicans than Democrats as guests (John McCain, anyone?).

    Since there is no cite for your labels, I get the feeling that the Political Orientation labels reflect your own bias which appears to be center-right.

    • 33

      “Washington consensus?” I didn’t see any citations for your assertions either. And even if the programs book more Republicans than Democrats (and that’s highly suspect) that doesn’t mean they don’t lean left. Maybe Republicans are just more willing to be interviewed.

  16. 34
  17. 35

    Excellent article. Thank you!

    A few supplementary points, and then I would like to talk with you about the BIG question, What to do about it:

    1. The mainstream media make sure we’re kept isolated. You point out how twitter, facebook, and others do their best to isolate and sometimes censor conservative material. So do the old networks. Look how Juan Williams was purged from NPR and other mainstream media, for the sin of consorting with Fox. They call Fox “not a real news media” when they’re claiming a professional monopoly for themselves, but they count Fox as big regular media (and as you show, exaggerate its role) when making their denial-arguments that there’s no such thing as an overwhelming left-liberal domination in the mainstream media. In fact Fox IS different, as you say its an Alt-Media, but because it has to be, it has to fight a war against the dominant mainstream, for all the reasons you show. Conservatives invited onto MSM outlets, such as George Will, are kept in their place, as tokens. With leftists or journalists from farther left outlets — NPR, MSNBC, Radio Pacifica, Al Jazeera, etc. — the mainstream networks have a revolving door.

    The dominant media’s PC demonization of conservative views, and their very forceful demonization of those conservative media outlets that do exist, has the very solid effect of keeping mainstream viewers from checking out conservative media. Liberals and moderates are afraid it would be disreputable of them to read or watch conservative media. Conservatives know it would be disreputable of them if they watched only conservative media. As a consequence,

    2. Conservatives are aware of what liberals are saying. We’re aware of their media arguments and their concept of what is “the news”. Because we watch liberal media all the time. But liberals and moderates are mostly not aware of what are conservative arguments and concepts of what should be “the news”, because very few of them watch conservative media. Your Table 3 documents this with devastating clarity; the imbalance in the numbers in this regard is truly alarming.
    The Left suffers in this way a considerably worse “epistemological closure” than the Right. What the Right in return suffers, as you argue, is a lack of a mainstream media in which it can do its own thinking and strategizing in a calm objective manner, and in which its thinking gets respect as a part of the public thinking. It has to beg for a place at the table, and accept the PC matron’s terms for seating us there occasionally.
    Are we an “echo chamber”, or would a better description be “cul-de-sac”? A much bigger cul-de-sac than we used to have. Maybe one of those “no outlet” developments in suburbia where, if you go through the entrance-street from the main public street network, you can go around on a number of internal connecting streets, but then you have to make your way back to the point of entrance in order to get back out into the main street network and get back across town.
    Or, we’re like a batch of puddles on the side of the main river. We get plenty of spillover from the river when there’s a wind or a swell, but our discourse rarely flows back into the river.

    3. Conservative media lack the journalistic resources to provide direct on the spot coverage for more than a fraction of the issues in the country, much less the world. This makes them dependent on the liberal media for finding most issues and for initially defining those issues. It’s been shown that much of the bias in wikipedia and other wiki sourcing is determined by who first writes the wiki article on the subject. The same goes for network news stories. Liberals define them first.

    Often I’ve found Fox reporters — the news programs, not the talk shows — repeating the categories and assumptions that come from the liberal media’s definition of an issue. Sometimes it seems scandalously wrong, the way they repeat categories that prejudice the whole story in a left direction, but they don’t seem capable of doing otherwise, not even when the Fox talk shows are providing an alternative analysis.

    This often has serious consequences. I found it truly alarming during the Arab Spring. While Fox talk programs provided some degree of independence from the otherwise universal enthusiasm for the overthrow of our friends in Egypt and Tunisia, Fox News mostly didn’t, it too much simply repeated the mainstream narrative about how The People are wonderfully out in the street against the Corrupt Isolated Self-serving Dictator who Has To Go.
    At least, that’s how I remember it. And I was following the matter pretty closely at the time, as a foreign affairs analyst. It was the really alarming media and and Administration unanimity of being on the wrong side of nearly everything in the Arab Spring period — presumably out of a similar near-unanimity of ideological prejudice of wanting to be on the Left and to reserve their attacks for the Right — a unanimity that left no space for thinking, and that consolidated its shared prejudice (following the lead of Al Jazeera in this regard and many others) by the technique of giving itself and the Government a fake criticism instead — the repeated criticism that “we” were supposedly not supporting the Revolution and the Muslim Brotherhood and this was because of Islamophobic prejudices, creating a constant pressure on themselves to become more unanimous and extreme about overthrowing our friends and supporting our enemies — that dragged me out of my pleasant life as a somewhat objective analyst and reactivated me politically.
    Ironically, Christian Right broadcasters did better, on the rare occasions I watched them. I guess it was partly because of religious prejudice against Islam, partly because of connections with Egyptian Copts and concern for the Christians in the region. That shows how sad our situation can be, when one might do better to turn to Chrristian Right broadcasters because even Fox lacks the ability to do an independent job.
    Interestingly, initially France 24 did give a separate view, with honest, skeptical, diverse journalistic reporting and debate on the Arab Spring. It was practically the only channel I found that acted like a quality independent media outlet, not an ideological hack outlet, on this question — and on many other questions. That was back when Sarkozy was in power, France 24 was newly created, and MAM, Michelle Alliot-Marie, didn’t want ben Ali to be toppled in Tunisia, a country where France played a big role. Then MAM was forced out of office for this sin (the sin of being on the side of a long-lasting, peaceloving, pro-Western government); she says it was because America (Obama and Clinton) decided ben Ali had to go without bothering to tell France, resulting in her being left hung out to dry. I have no idea whether her story was true but then, there’s no media around that has ever wanted to bother to investigate it, everyone was so happily celebrating how we were all lining up behind the toppling of our friends. The signals changed for France 24; it quickly turned around to toe the Arab Spring line, and also quickly degenerated into a typical left-liberal mainstream outlet overall, replete with the typical PC demonization of conservative views. And got worse after Holland came to power.

    What I think you and I would like to see is a mainstream media on a mass scale that is like what the small France 24 outlet was when it was first set up under Sarkozy. Probably it was the balance between a conservative French Sarkozy government and the mainstream journalistic left bias that produced the temporarily honest product; but it was an oasis in the desert, and at the first opportunity, it degenerated into just another part of the same old left-liberal media.


    I agree with those who say it isn’t good enough to blame our own side and have mostly just purges on our own side. The other side, the mainstream media, is one great nonstop scandal, an absolute betrayal of public trust, with a huge amount of actual fraud.

    So how can they be changed?

    There’s a serious charge that could be lodged against the mainstream media — that they are lacking in freedom of the press, and enforce a regime of fraud on reporters by mafia-like methods. This would seem to be an opening for changing the situation. The purging of Juan Williams is only one example of that. Defectors from them, such as Bernie Goldberg and Harry Stein, have attested to the mafia-like methods used against personnel and on story assignments and on use or killing of stories — as well as the broader problem of the hostile unprofessional working environment that surrounds conservatives — so as to maintain conformity and prevent much contrary information and thinking from getting out to the public. PC oppresses mainstream journalists even while they themselves are using PC to oppress the rest of us.

    It would seem to me there ought to be something that could be done about this. Freedom of the press is, after all, a sacred cause. Sure, the dominant media would call it “an attack on the freedom of the press” if anyone made a serious effort to restore the freedom of the press in their own newsrooms. But could an effort be made anyway?

    This post is far too long already, so I won’t try to set forth my ideas on that, which are amateurish at this point anyway, but I’d like to be in touch about it “offline” so to speak. Please contact me by email if you’d like. I think it would be well worth our mutual while.


    • 36

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      To understand what must be done, one must first understand who is to blame. In the case of the numerous problems that I’ve detailed only partially, the answer is quite clear: It’s self-appointed “experts” who actually have very little understanding of politics. The consultant piece linked in the sidebar above demonstrates this in great deal regarding the many GOP failures who somehow still manage to get work.

      There is more than enough money on the Right to create or purchase mainstream media organizations. There has been no will to do this, however, largely because of ignorant people at the top who think that parliamentary machinations are all that politics is.

      Purges are needed but not for heresy reasons. They’re needed for honesty and competency reasons. And they need to start at the top.

      • 37

        The article is exceptional and while I disagree with certain points (is the comparison between Bush 41’s economy, a result of a mild recession after a major boom, and Obama 2012, coming off of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, an apples to apples comparison?), the general premise is exceptional. A few follow-up questions:

        1) Liberal bias: I am always intrigued by this concept, as it is something that I (as an economic conservative, but social liberal) haven’t really noticed, but I read so many different news sources, it may be just an oversight. I wonder if the general disdain for liberal bias concept is because this “bias” is blamed for everything by some conservative outlets, even when there appears to be significant coverage of many conservative claims? There certainly was significant coverage of every possible or alleged Bill Clinton mishap, even those with little to no factual basis. Allegations of Obama as a Muslim, terrorist, non-citizen, etc., received coverage, despite the fact it really was just ludicrous. Meanwhile, I rarely heard the mainstream media spend time on similarly wacky liberal conspiracies (such as Bush/Cheney knowing about 9/11 ahead of time) or things with even more legitimacy (such as the neo-cons obsession with attacking Iraq prior to 9/11, creating the potential appearance of impropriety when WMD found non-existent in accordance with claims of many prior to the Iraq war). With respect to the latter situation, if President Clinton or Obama had been in that situation, I find it highly likely that FNC would have declared such actions treasonous and demanded their impeachment (if lying about adultery is worth impeachment, how about allegations of lying about going to war?) That really wasn’t the position of any credible liberal news source I saw at that time.

        2) Liberal bias as a determinant: Unquestionably (as some commenters state) the mainstream media submits to pressures from conservative allegations of bias, leading to Joe Scarborough being on MSNBC and many conservative politicians being given consistent roles on “liberal” news shows. But I would highly doubt that a liberal bias did not exist — while Reagan was highly thought of by the media, his election signaled a turn toward a more conservative Republican party (and Bill Clinton’s election was a more conservative Democratic party) and the media would be more liberal without actually making a change.

        I do wonder if it the liberal bias allegations and conservative echo chamber do lead to some further bias. First, if consistent conservatives all go to FNC and Glenn Beck and Rush, etc., the proper marketing technique for opinionated talk shows on other channels may be to market toward the center of the entire viewership other than the consistent conservatives? Also, the continuous liberal bias claim even when not warranted (it wasn’t liberal bias to state that defaulting on US Treasuries would be a disaster, for example) seems to make the legitimate liberal bias claims be ignored. Further, the Republican’s echo chambers seemingly provide reinforcement for positions that many generally would find inconsistent and often the attacks turn vitriolic (somehow the Heritage Foundation, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney’s healthcare plans were great ideas while Obamacare is socialism demonstrating Obama’s hatred for America and his desire for government takeover and to provide handouts for all minorities, for example). These inconsistencies make it difficult to get legitimate consideration when someone who often does rabble in crazy conspiracies, like Glenn Beck, makes valid points.

        2) Republican echo chamber: Hillary’s responsibility for Benghazi was the subject of 9 (nine!?!?!) Congressional investigations, none of which found her liable. The email scandal was terrible but was investigated and a non-partisan director of FBI stated she shouldn’t be prosecuted. Yet we listen to the RNC and they demand we send her to jail. Not just delegates, but actual speakers (and now Trump). The Clinton’s are unquestionably slimy but they have been investigated beyond belief and this overreaction gives them undeserved credibility when comparing Hillary’s personal email use with similar (but not nearly as broad) use by Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice.

        As mentioned above, this echo chamber leads to inconsistent positions that become easy fodder for humor-related shows like the Daily Show or John Oliver. Newt Gingrich’s “flip-flopping” (to use a conservative attack on Kerry) on free trade and government spending to support Trump (while also expressly alleging in an interview that facts like a decrease in violent crime aren’t actually what matters, it is “feeling” that matters) make him an easy target. Of course, Bill Clinton has been mocked constantly on these same shows. Truly not sure of a liberal bias rather than merely who is making humor the easiest.

        3) Goal: You discuss people on the “Right” should purchase mainstream media and provide conservative media. Should this be the goal? Shouldn’t the goal be merely to get all valid viewpoints (while dismissing things that have no credibility from the more radical wings) on all sides? Shouldn’t you push for Scarborough and other conservatives to push for equal treatment? The reason people don’t trust FNC is that people perceive it is skewed (similarly, I haven’t accepted anything I have heard on MSNBC as fact without finding verification from multiple other sources). Adding more outlets viewed as biased seems merely a way to exacerbate the issue. Rather than attacking differences of opinion as “liberal bias”, how about providing coherent counterpoints? Making everything a personal attack, rather than a difference in opinion that could be changed with discussion, truly makes the battle more uphill.

        4) Discourse: Finally, that last point is why I have moved away from more conservative media sites, despite my personal leanings. No matter what I think of Hillary Clinton, she actually is a very loyal American who thinks her policies are the best policies for America. No matter what people think of Bush and Cheney, their actions were based on their love for America. The consistent demonization of Hillary rather than substantive discussion of her proposed policies is just another example. This is particularly troubling when Trump actually stated that Bush 43 lied about the Iraq WMD — how is careless emails treasonous but lies about war not even discussed?

        Thank you again for your article. You provided great insight and evidence on a point that is discussed to great lengths by all sides.

  18. 39

    Trump = Glitter, Lies, Exaggeration, nonsense & NOsense,
    Remember ” Facts are for the little people “

  19. 40

    I kept waiting for the editorial to turn the corner. I mean here we have this headline, implying (through my biases, admittedly) that the Right is finally waking up to the dangers of selling ideology as fact, but all I was getting was this endless drone of liberal media apocrypha.

    Look, Matt, the problem isn’t that your views don’t have the market penetration of Pravda, it’s that conservatives have been increasingly eschewing empiricism for narrative. You guys have erected an edifice of ignorance where politics is more important than data. Jon Stewart and team were right to term that edifice Bullshit Mountain, but their focus was on FOX as opposed to the entirety of the right wing media bubble. Look at how long anthropogenic global warming denial has been going on in the bubble. Look at how long libertarian economics has bounced around, despite a growing accumulation of data indicating that supply side economics has a very small application surface, Look at how many conservatives still believe that Obama is a muslim, or atheist, or Kenyan who was responsible for the disastrous response to Katrina. Look at how many of your cohort were convinced that Romney was a shoe-in, right up until Karl Rove’s meltdown on FOX.

    Your message is out there; the rest of America receives it loud and clear. The issue is that the conservative media bubble allows you to delude yourselves into disbelieving reality.

    • 41

      You should probably read some more of “How the Right Got It Wrong” before making statements like this.

  20. 42

    I imagine some of these are salient points.

    My experience tells me that the same people who watch ABC and NBC overlap with those who watch PBS and MSNBC, while the dedicated Righties will ONLY watch Fox. Many outlets on the Left is merely serving the same audience on varying channels.

    The far larger point about Fox News in specific is that people don’t watch it because they find it noxious, toxic, and that it doesn’t inform it’s viewership on policy. It spends most of it’s time Demonizing anyone with an opposing viewpoint, and like O’Reilly has said to people that disagree with him: “Shut Up”. That’s nothing more than ideological demagoguery. Most people aren’t interested.

  21. 43

    Media Ghetto:

    Might be a catchy phrase for what is happening.
    Conservatives are labeled, segregated and quarantined.

    We’ve been successfully isolated into our own little “Media Ghetto”.

  22. 44

    Matthew. As a local Republican elected official in a swing state, and also as field staff to presidential candidates and my state party this is spot on! Especially your observation that people are generally uninformed of conservative positions. I deal with the local media frequently and I am friends with many of the people that work in my city’s largest newsroom, and its amazing how uninformed even the reporters are of conservative positions. There is a reporter who I am good friends with, who is a moderate liberal. She has a coffee mug commemorating the Ogberfeld decision that made gay marriage legal complete with a rainbow flag on it and on the other side it had an Edmund Burke quote. When I had informed her that Edmund Burke was the founder of Conservative though she was completely astonished!

  23. 45

    Pretty good article. Except where you focus on comparative economies. You pick the conservatives best years and the liberals worst years. Sure, gas prices weren’t too bad in 2004, but by 2008 they were the highest we’ve ever seen.

    It’s not that I’m either a conservative or a liberal. I’m pretty middle of the road. But when you manipulate information to make one side look better than the other I get pissed.

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