September 10, 2018

The Ideological Blindness at the Heart of Media Bias

NBC's Chuck Todd "doesn’t adequately acknowledge that much of the distrust of the mainstream media is both organic and justified—and, even worse, there is no sign that the media are doing anything meaningful to deal with the root cause of that distrust," David French writes.
To understand the origin of distrust, let me ask my media readers three questions:
First, how many members of your newsroom believe that Caitlyn Jenner is a man?

Second, how many members of your newsroom own a firearm for self-defense, much less possess a concealed-carry permit?

Third, how many members of your newsroom believe life begins at conception and should receive legal protection from that moment?
I picked those issues very deliberately. Each reflects an area of disagreement among tens of millions of Americans. Each side of that disagreement is supported by serious scientific, historic, or legal arguments. And yet I daresay that most of our mainstream-media newsrooms are overwhelmingly populated by people who hold the progressive position on these issues. Moreover, in newsrooms, the number of people who believe that no decent person can disagree with them on these issues probably far outpaces the conservative dissenters.

Now, let’s compound that media monoculture with a related problem: Ideological monocultures foster friendships and social networks (including marriages) from predominantly one side of the ideological spectrum. That means that reporters tend to be intimately familiar with progressive arguments, and they’re also bound together in close personal relationships with progressives. Taken together, these factors lead at the very least to a problematic degree of ignorance about the other side and a problematic degree of sympathy for the real people they know on their own side.

Finally, let’s also acknowledge that the problem is getting worse. As the shame campaigns after the hiring even of opinion writers illustrate, there is a growing cohort of “woke” members of the media who can’t abide working with, say, a known Christian conservative. They don’t want him working beside them three cubicles away—or even remotely from a laptop many states distant.

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The Ideological Blindness at the Heart of Media Bias

NBC's Chuck Todd "doesn’t adequately acknowledge that much of the distrust of the mainstream media is both organic and justified—an...