Hillary Clinton is “doing what they call in politics ‘freezing pockets,’” Chris Cuomo — son of the late New York governor — explained on his CNN program, “because the donors are giving her money thinking she’s gonna run. That means they’re not gonna have available money for other candidates if she doesn’t, and I don’t think she’s gonna give it to ‘em.”
Seconds later, he declared that “(w)e couldn’t help her any more than we have! You know, I mean she’s—she’s—she’s got just a free ride so far from the media. We’re the biggest ones promoting her campaign”.
This took place on June 9, 2014. Fast forward to August of this year.
Donald Trump has secured the Republican nomination, yet falls behind in opinion polls to Clinton — who obviously froze enough pockets to deter serious establishmentarian Democratic opposition. Nonetheless, she faced a shockingly competitive challenge from Vermont’s independent socialist U.S. Senator, Bernie Sanders.
Trump claims the media is biased. He says it favors Clinton and actively distorts what his candidacy stands for.
“I think that his argument fails on every level of fact that you could apply to it,” Cuomo remarked; same show, same network. “However, it may succeed because what he’s doing is what he does best. He’s using a tactic.”
Really? So when did the media stop carrying Clinton’s baggage?
Perhaps a better question is this: When did many journalists — specifically the majority of those who constitute the ‘mainstream media’ — cease shouldering Clinton’s unsightly luggage out of public view?
Dr. Tim Groseclose is a political scientist who served as the Marvin Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics at UCLA. In his bestselling book “Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind,” he did something a bit unusual. Rather than simply alleging the press to be prejudiced, a scientific argument was made. It holds that our country’s very social fabric is defined by journalistic presentation.
“I use a statistical method to estimate the ‘slant quotients’ of news outlets and a separate statistical method to estimate the ‘political quotients’ of political actors,” Groseclose told me in 2012. “I find that the slant quotient of nearly all mainstream outlets is higher (i.e. more liberal) than my estimate of the political quotient of the average U.S. voter.”
He also mentioned that “[i]n our current world, where the media tend to have a liberal bias, the average American thinks and votes approximately like the average voter in a purple state (such as Iowa, Colorado, or Nevada).
“However, if we could magically eliminate media bias, then, according to my estimates, the average American voter would think and vote approximately like the average voter in a solid red state.,That is, if we could magically eliminate media bias, America would begin to think and vote approximately like Texas or Kentucky.”
This prospect is quite difficult to imagine, but just consider how many elections, social trends, financial policies, and even court decisions may have been guided not with fact, but fiction propagated by ‘reporters.’
When all is said and done, just how much does the truth really matter? If the lion’s share of Americans were presented with an engaging media narrative and then beheld the cold, hard facts which dispelled it, would they prioritize emotion over evidence?
Media bias is a very real, and equally dangerous, phenomenon. Scores of ‘journalists’ are no more truthful than a snake oil salesman or a ‘holy man’ who purportedly turns bread into human flesh. , ,
Press prejudice may seem to follow ideology, and at a low level undoubtedly does, but when bread meets butter, money reigns supreme.
If Trump favored mass immigration (suppressing wages), tariff-free trade (lowering manufacturing costs), and weakening the nation-state (raising the international marketplace above any country’s control), he would be advancing the interests of conglomerates that own major news outlets and therefore receive better treatment.
The mainstream media is not simply left-leaning, but corporatist-leftish. If Sanders was Clinton’s general election opponent, he would find himself subject to the Trump treatment — maybe even more so.
Should this situation not frighten you, it is because you are not paying attention.
Joseph Cotto is a historical and social journalist, and writes about politics, economics and social issues. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.