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What Liberal Media?: The Truth About Bias and the News
     

What Liberal Media?: The Truth About Bias and the News

3.9 20
by Eric Alterman
 

ISBN-10: 0465001769

ISBN-13: 9780465001767

Pub. Date: 02/04/2003

Publisher: Basic Books

The question of whose interests the media protects—and how—has achieved holy-grail-like significance. Is media bias keeping us from getting the whole story's If so, who is at fault? Is it the liberals who are purported to be running the newsrooms, television and radio stations of this country, duping an unsuspecting public into mistaking their party line

Overview

The question of whose interests the media protects—and how—has achieved holy-grail-like significance. Is media bias keeping us from getting the whole story's If so, who is at fault? Is it the liberals who are purported to be running the newsrooms, television and radio stations of this country, duping an unsuspecting public into mistaking their party line for news? Or is it the conservatives who have identified media bias as a reliably inflammatory rallying cry around which to consolidate their political base as they cynically “work the refs?” The media has become so pervasive in our lives that regardless of exactly where on the ideological fence you sit, the question of media bias has become all but unavoidable.Most of the criticism (and anger) has so far emanated from the political Right, which has offered us the rather unconvincing argument that a systematic Left bias is destroying the quality of news and debate in our country today. Journalist and historian Eric Alterman begs to differ. What Liberal Media? confronts the question of liberal bias and, in so doing, provides a sharp and utterly convincing assessment of the realities of political bias in the news. In distinct contrast to the conclusions reached by Ann Coulter, Bernard Goldberg, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly, Alterman finds the media to be, on the whole, far more conservative than liberal, though it is possible to find evidence for both views. The fact that conservatives howl so much louder and more effectively than liberals is one significant reason that big media is always on its guard for “liberal” bias but gives conservative bias a free pass. After reading What Liberal Media? you will understand that the real news story of recent years is not whether this newspaper, or that news anchor, is biased but rather to what extent the entire news industry is organized to communicate conservative views and push our politics to the right—regardless of how “liberal” any given reporter may be.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465001767
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
02/04/2003
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.17(d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Editionxi
Preface to the Hardcover Edition and Acknowledgmentsxv
1Introduction: Bias, Slander, and BS1
2You're Only As Liberal As the Man Who Owns You14
3The Punditocracy One: Television28
4The Punditocracy Two: Print45
5The Punditocracy Three: Radio and the Internet70
6The Punditocracy Four: Experts and the World of Ideas81
7What Social Bias?104
8What Economic Bias?118
9The Clinton Administration139
10The 2000 Election148
11Florida175
12W's World192
13The (Really) Conservative Media225
Conclusion: An Honorable Profession262
Afterword: "Operation Iraqi Freedom"268
Notes293
Index337
Reader Discussion Guide353

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What Liberal Media?: The Truth About Bias and the News 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Constructing a cohesive, logical argument to refute the often-repeated claim that the media has a liberal bias requires careful planning and airtight evidence. Yet author Eric Alterman makes a strong case that, if anything, the media is dominated by conservatives who promote the findings of well-funded partisan think tanks, help book publishers who produce poorly researched ideological books, support incendiary TV and radio pundits, and abet editorialists who push the conservative line. Their goal, Alterman alleges, is to quash intelligent political debate and reduce complex arguments to simplistic black and white alternatives - all in support of a right-leaning political agenda. The book is thoroughly researched and documented, if sometimes so absorbed in its own point of view and so esoteric that only the most dedicated reader will follow it. We recommend this book to everyone interested in fostering more balanced political discussion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Given the fact the one of Alterman's other books is titled 'The Book on Bush: How George W. (mis)leads America' I can only conclude that Alterman himself is a biased person, and it obviously shows in this book. The vast majority of America knows there always has been a liberal bias. Try 'Bias' by Bernie Goldberg, a life long democrat and 28 year CBS News veteran, for a real lesson. Reading an Alterman book would be like reading a Limbaugh book, but on the other side of the spectrum. Five stars for good entertainment though.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author has done a terrific job of backing up his claims. I have read books on the left & the right & this book is FAR better than any of the rights' books. Time for Americans to wake up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Actually, the first step in proving a thesis is researching the OPPOSING view of one's own. Some observations concerning the media 1)Even if the liberals outnumber the conservatives, which is highly doubtful, the extreme right is far more visible and occupy more prime-time television slots and radio shows than their liberal brethren. 2)As Goldman points out, the popularity of Fox News comes at the expense of the so-called liberal 'Big Three.' Goldman suggests it's due to Fox's by-line of 'fair and balanced,' though everybody knows this title is merely cosmetic. 3)Some views, no matter the ideology behind them, should be ridiculed. With my three point thesis right there, I could right a rant as shallow and poorly researched as Goldman's or Coulter's. Alterman, on the other hand, and this is big, does in-depth research on his thesis AND that of Goldman and Coulter. It is important to remember that Alterman is arguing that the media is NOT biased. He does not claim a right-wing media conspiracy as does his Conservative counterparts. Now, the reason I only gave four stars is for his attacks on Goldman and Coulter. Though humorous at first, after the evidence is laid out, personal attacks appear to be a bit below him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eric Alterman is perhaps one of the most gifted journalists of our time. His persona and humor are natural; he is not a fake. It is also just as natural for him to defend his far-left liberal colleagues. But, like most liberals he is blinded by the facts. I was in the newspaper business for nearly twenty years, and when the editor of a large northern California (liberal) newspaper said 'be sure to slant this article to favor Democrats' that's what we did. Every time. I was a Republican, and it didn't sit well. It's one of the reasons I'm now a lawyer (most of whom are also ferociously liberal). Alterman's defense of the left, I fear, is as natural to him as a parent defending a child. His book is a great read, but would better be marketed as fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago

Nothing I have read by Stephen King or Michael Crichton ever scared me as badly as this book did. The details of the staged 'riots' in Florida and other aspects of the Republicans' hijacking of the presidency are chilling enough; but the media's failure (or inability) to expose them--in timely fashion--is even creepier. This nonfictional horror story is truly the most important book I've ever read. I recommend it to anyone who believes that the cost of freedom is constant vigilance.

The one- and two-star reviews previously posted here accuse Alterman of emotionalism, ad hominem attacks, poor fact-checking and outright fabrication. These only serve to clarify his illustration of the methodology of conservative bias; plainly put, they lie. They demonstrate the use of these insidious devices by using them themselves, whereas WLM? is in fact scrupulously sourced, and Alterman takes pains to express his admiration for some of the people whose work he impugns. (Clearly he disrespects Ann Coulter and Matt Drudge, but then, so do I, and for that he need excuse himself no more than I.) He is also very funny at times, and indeed scornful, but his occasional wisecracks scarcely compare with some of the hysterical ravings of those he criticizes.

Caveat: The book is sprinkled, not so much with typos, as with the results of the 'Non Campus Mentis' error of relying on a spell-checker for proofreading purposes. But even with the consequent nebulous &/or fragmentary sentences (and occasional minor errata, amended on the book's web site), the central theme of this work is unsullied, and its revelations are staggering.

Guest More than 1 year ago
I book opened my eyes on the Conservative Fraud and Gimmicks to get Free Pass from the Media. Yes indeed the Media is to the right of the center from CNN to Fox.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a moderate Republican who has read Slander, Bias, and Let Freedom Ring. After reading those books, I felt ashamed of what my party has become: the Republican Party used to support family values and sound economic policy. And yes, Republican politicians even used to care about the environment!!! But now, I see that my party has become a party of industry tycoons, racists, and religious extremists who wave the flag to justify doing anything they please, including cutting veteran's benefits. They get their kicks out of attacking small desert nations with no armies. Anyhow, Eric Alterman essentially reminds us of what is obvious: there is a huge right-wing presence in the media. (FOX News Channel,Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Geraldo, etc etc etc). Wake up, America!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would point out that 'reviewer' JC on 24 Mar proves the point of the book. He cites a well known 'fact' that the media are supposedly liberal 10 to 1 or some such malarky. He then backs that up with nothing other than his own hot air. Is JC really Rush Limbaugh? The book was able to document with references, that the media are indeed right-winged biased in fact, but anyone with eyes and ears who lives in the U.S. knows that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Eric Alterman newest book, he takes on the contention of Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias, and Ann Coulter,author of Slander, and other prominent public figures that the American news media has a bias towards left wing causes and political issues. While providing many statistics and anecdotal evidence in defense of his premise, Mr. Alterman can never break away from leaving the reader with the idea that the purpose and premise of his book is both tendentious and predetermined and that he is not seriously engaged in the discovery of the truth so much as he is engaged in discrediting others who are on the other side of the political spectrum. Rather than wrting an objective argument as to why the media is not as liberal as critics such as Bernard Goldberg. Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and others allege it is, Mr. Alterman ends up tilting at windmills and working to weaken his own argument with his frequent outbursts into ad hominen attacks. No doubt his fans lap up this kind of red meat language like hungry lions, but the appeal beyond them to a more circumspect and tougher audience will go largely disregarded. Mr. Alterman presentation is in the manner of an absolute, that he has discovered the truth about the media, the whole truth, and the only truth, but the reader is left wondering if he has only found a black hole. The other point that one is left wondering about is if Mr. Alterman has any respect for opinions that differ from his own. His frequent outbursts that so and so represents a danger to our 'political public' or that this person 'lacks civility' rings somewhat hollow when coming from his poisoned pen. Alterman himself has frequently shown that he 'lacks civility' and has declared the nation would 'be better off' without certain people and their audiences. Ultimately. this book fails to prove its original contention and preaches to its own chorus. It may persuade a few, but not many. Like many books of this type, it is a minor tome, a book of the moment, written for those willing to buy into Mr. Alterman brand of politics, but largely unconvincing to the more serious and discerning reader. Save your time and money
Guest More than 1 year ago
244 pages of liberal propaganda. The media's liberal outlets outnumber conservatives 10 to 1. The author takes that one conservative and applies it to the whole. It is a well known fact that extreme left liberals have been in control of the media for about 20 years(since the Reagan Administration).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alterman forgot some of the cardinal rules in proving a thesis. First, choose facts and examples that support your case! Unfortunately, much of his writing proves the other side. Second, embellishment of the facts does not work on informed readers. Third, remain calm, and do not allow your emotions to cloud the issue. Alterman's hatred of certain segments and outlets of the media is really apparent. He tries too hard to prove some points and the result is the loss of credibility. In fact, the book itself is an example of liberal bias in the media! If you are one of the minority that does not prefer Fox News over Mother Jones as a reliable news source, then this book is for you! Yee-Hah, and circle the wagons! If you belong to the undecided this book will not convince you one way or the other and is not worth your while. And if, you are one of the conservative majority, well heck, its just more fodder for the cannon!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is both long overdue and odd at the same time. It presents the only documented look at the media, and in so doing runs counter to the unsupported and viciously presented character assassinations and rants of books that claim the press has a Liberal tilt. At the same time, only those who are interested in hearing both sides of an argument will read it. That means only Liberals, almost by definition. And they already know about the media. It's usefulness is probably two-fold: it provides the only sourced and documented basis for forming an opinion, and those quotes will be useful in providing facts for people debating the subject, and second, it brings the topic into the public forum. The media, as judged by the media reviews above, have already staked out a defensive position, carping on the insignificant (the Mets?) as misdirection, or throwing their hands out and saying, 'Please don't take this seriously because it's critical of me!' You should judge for yourself. It's hard to imagine how anyone can consider themselves a well-informed citizen if they haven't read this book. RJMcD
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eric Alterman's splendid reality check neatly and factually deconstructs one of the right's favorite manipulations to shape and control public opinion. He carefully examines press, radio, and TV personalities revealing the real nature of the bias that fills the corporate-owned media. Alterman describes the relationship between rich right wingers and conservative think tanks, which are used by the media as sources of authority and 'conventional wisdom.' He also challenges the veracity of those tired, overused examples of liberal media bastions and we discover that they're not so liberal and haven't been for quite some time. I'm surprised that he got published at all. Unfortunately this viewpoint won't make the standard 'best seller' lists. Liberals don't buy in bulk unlike those who made Goldberg's Bias and Coulter's Slander megahits. While searching for this title at B&N's Nashua, NH superstore, I passed at least three prominent displays hawking Slander and Bias and numerous other rightist screeds. A CSR had to find What Liberal Media? for me and that looked 'iffy.' Later I stumbled across a few copies off the side, no doubt for the few remaining libruls living in exile across the NH-Mass border. A previous B&N on-line reviewer derides this book because of the word 'truth' in the title, but it seems that Alterman has hit the nerve where the right thinks that they have sole claim to the word and the concept. This speaks volumes (doh!).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Worth reading from an academic perspective, but the author's arguments are not comprehensive and only focus on a narrow view of the media. This book actually supports Goldberg's thesis of liberal bias in the media. One has to wonder about any author who uses the word "truth" in a title.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At last, a book that speaks to today¿s vast silent majority of moderate, civil, reasonable people. This entire hot dog fight started about 20 years ago¿this culture of the right-wing extremists who hate their imaginary enemies, the ¿liberals.¿ Most of them have never read a book and wouldn¿t know a real liberal if they fell over one; the real, secret Limbaugh definition of a liberal is anyone who doesn¿t put advertising dollars in Limbaugh¿s bank account, and that includes just about anyone with manners, decency, or reason. A generation ago, a conservative think tank study found that, while the media are almost entirely owned by conservatives, the study detected a 60% predominance by young liberal reporters in the news rooms. The study found that these young, better educated liberals were often having a disproportionate influence on how the news was presented. Having had some real-time experience in journalism, I could readily see the truth of that. Amazingly, this statistic was then elevated to the status of a fanatical crusade for people who waste their lives, their employer's time, and their spouse's sanity by spending many hours a day glued to right-wing talk shows. These people confuse anger and viciousness, name-calling and bad behavior, with civility and sound thinking. Just as the wild-eyed left had the country nauseated in the 1960s, so the wild-eyed right sickens moderate people today. The whole "liberal" canard is a shallow and meaningless myth for those who cannot think of anything smarter to call imaginary enemies they don't know anything about, but hate. Eric Alterman¿s book hits about 95% on target, and is a clarion call for honesty, decency, and humanity. Read this book if you are a civil person who cares about other people and about this country. If all you do is hate imaginary "liberals," just move on with your crayons and your beer to the book burning rally down the street--"this book's on you, bud." I saw Eric Alterman on NBC being tormented by three right-wing drones, and that speaks volumes for the truth that is so obvious--when will these brownshirts really start smashing crystal and closing "liberal" shops? Which way to the gulag? Keep writing, Eric--we need you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Here is an intelligent and balance critique of the media, and many of the political myth's propegated by the right.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At last, a book that speaks to today¿s silent, suffering majority of moderate, civil, reasonable people. This entire hot dog fight¿the entire culture of the right-wing extremists who hate their imaginary enemies, the ¿liberals;¿ right-wing extremists who don't realize they are simply what Lenin called ¿useful fools¿ but in this case not for Communism but for Limbaugh's bank account--started about 20 years ago. At that time, a conservative think tank study found that, while the media are almost entirely owned by conservatives, the study detected a 60% predominance by young liberal reporters in the news rooms. The study found that these young, more educated liberals were having a disproportionate influence on how the news was often presented. Having had some real-time experience in journalism, I could readily see the truth of that. Amazingly, this bit of statistics was then elevated to the status of a fanatical crusade for people who waste their lives, their employer's time, and their spouse's sanity involved day and night with hateful talk shows. These people believe that anger and viciousness, name-calling and bad behavior, are the same as sound thinking and civil behavior. Just as the wild-eyed left had the country nauseated in the 1960s, so these extremists sicken moderate people today. The whole "liberal" canard is a shallow and meaningless myth for those who cannot think of anything smarter to call imaginary enemies they don't know anything about, but hate. Eric Alterman¿s book hits about 95% on target, and is a clarion call for honesty, decency, and humanity in a debased age. Read this book if you are a civil person who cares about other people and about this country. If all you do is hate imaginary "liberals,"just move on with your crayons and your beer to the book burning rally down the street--"this book's on you, bud." I saw Eric Alterman on NBC being tormented by three right-wing drones simultaneously--all the usual lynch mob tactics, taunting, constant interrupting--and that speaks volumes for the truth that is so obvious--when will the brownshirts really start smashing crystal and closing "liberal" shops? Which way to the gulag? Achtung! Keep writing, Eric--we need you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fans of Rush, Ann and Sean should read this book!!! It will prove them how ignorent conservatives they were all this while!!! - must read this if you are a consevative. WARRNING - change of heart is unavoidable!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Leftwing writer for such magazines as Mother Jones and the very leftwing Nation tries without success to debunk the notion that the Media doesn't tilt towards the left in it coverage of the news and political issues such as gun control and abortion. Save your money unless your into fiction.