Despite the mainstream media’s current love-affair with the accusation of its liberal bias, Electronic Media reports that a new study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that, unsurprisingly, TV News especially is less likely to challenge the gov’t than print media. Contrary to hype and conjecture, the study also finds that there’s “no appreciable difference in the likelihood of CNN [as opposed to FNC] to air viewpoints that dissent from American policy.” Which is to say, they both fall in lockstep with the US Gov’t like good soldiers, where “fair and balanced” really means “won’t challenge our viewers to think or question their preconceived notions.” Anyway, it’s easier and cheaper than dissenting or doing investigative reporting, don’t you know, requiring less actual fact-checking and research. No well-paid news producer worth his weight would want such hard work to get in the way of bucking for position in the White House press room.
Unfortunately, there is less of a indpendent and progressive presence on TV than in any other media. At the moment, your best bet is the (very) occasional PBS documentary, public access and Free Speech TV. Of which the latter two require cable or satellite TV. And yet, TV is where the majority of people get their news and information. Any wonder, then, why our president has an absurd approval rating in polls? Because TV doesn’t let most people in on the fact that there is a reason to dissent, or that there are dissenters in their midst. Or if they do acknowledge the fact, dissenters are protrayed as fringe, rather than normal people living right next door. For all it’s merits, Indymedia just can’t reach most of the population, becuase it’s not available on TV or AOL.
It just goes to show how much further there is to go in building a truly alternative media that can make actual inroads to most people’s homes. Tragically, FOX News continues to prove what every good dictator and fascist knows — if you repeat a lie often enough, people will come to believe it. How else can CNN be reasonably thought of as liberal? I will not be surprised if the results of this study go under or unreported in the mainstream media, only demonstrating how truly unimportant actual facts or challenges to the received wisdom are to them.