Election 2016 Analysis Sidebar 6: THE MYTH OF THE LIBERAL MEDIA


There have been many reasons for the decline of quality by the media. But part of the problem may have to do with the meme called the “myth of the liberal media”. This meme originated decades ago with right wing talk radio and has ever since been a mainstay of right leaning propagandists. According to the “myth of the liberal media”, the media is entirely controlled by secular liberal interests and always fails to present any other point of view except its own. It is therefore disreputable and should not be trusted.

The idea of the “myth of the liberal media” is important because it has been successful in sowing suspicion on the right, but moreover it seems to have created a sufficient stigma within the media itself to cause them to go out of their way to show both sides to a story. For example: on day when thousands of people protested in the streets, news coverage would inevitably include equal time to cover a group of a few dozen people with opposing views. I’ve literally seen this happen. And the need to show both sides in many ways has resulted in facts being obscured in favor of just showing alternative opinions. Although this phenomenon predates this election, this was exactly the type of foothold that Trump needed to be legitimized as a candidate. “Alternative facts” anyone?

Trump’s accusation that mainstream media was “fake” news may have led many to seek alternative sources of information and become consumers themselves of actual “FAKE” news which was conveniently found on major social media platforms.

And at least part of Trump’s success can be linked to the help of numerous propagandists with various alt-right credentials who played a major role in actually creating “FAKE” news. These groups busied themselves, in manufacturing fake stories and rumors about Clinton, at the same time that they lauded Trump.

Take for example, the Patriot News Agency, which originates in the UK run by James Dowson a Christian nationalist and fan of Trump and Putin. It’s landing page reads more like the National Enquirer than a serious news source. It is sensationalism in its purest form, blatant in its disregard for the facts and spurious in its attempt shock and make people believe the worst.

Sadly, this reflects badly not just on the propagandists but also the mental state of the general population. We have come to believe the worst about humanity and especially about politicians. Some of us may have become suspicious about the mainstream media and at the same time we seem to have lost the ability to read critically. And many of us may be just too lazy to seek out our own news sources so we have come to believe whatever comes easily comes our way. And a recent pew survey found that 62% of respondents stated that they got most of their news from social media.

The wingnut myth that refuses to die: The one simple reason why there’s no “liberal media conspiracy”

Report: Russian propaganda efforts propelled fake election news

Patriot News Agency

How a Putin Fan Overseas Pushed Pro-Trump Propaganda to Americans

News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016

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