In case you didn't see it on the MRC home page, Vaughn Ververs from the "Public Eye" blog at CBSNews.com offered us space this week in their weekly "Outside Voices" feature. Their blog was set up in the wake of Rathergate to demonstrate more "transparency" or CBS news-making and also serve as "a forum for debate, a conversation about the news between the people who produce it and the people who consume it."
I tried to offer the CBS News staff and the wider media community a small sense of how we answer the questions and critiques we've received over the almost 20 years the MRC has been taping and transcribing and exposing. One accusation, an indirect attack from Bill Moyers, suggested conservative media critics want right-wing unanimity with no disturbing liberal counter-argument:
I would argue that in the modern TV-news era, ever since Edith Efron first tagged the media for liberal bias in "The News Twisters," that it’s easier to suggest that it’s liberal media poobahs who have more accurately lived up to the Moyers accusation – that have wished for liberal unanimity, and the voicing of conservatism is a personal affront. They have told liberal media friends it made no sense to balance sweet liberal reason and truth with the misinformation of conservatism, a dark creed beyond the pale of civilized discourse.
I have interviewed TV news producers who’ve bluntly told me they had no interest in "ping-pong matches" from differing ideological poles, that it only "confuses" the audience. The scientist who’s skeptical of global warming forecasts, the quiet protester praying the rosary in front of an abortion clinic, the conservative Christian expert who argues "gay marriage" will broadly undermine stable parenting for children: these people are not welcome to sit at the liberal media table. They are shunned as the voices of subversion and unreason.
For an echo of unanimity, look no further than last week’s piece by Danny Schechter, who denounces Bernard Goldberg as a "liberal turned renegade" on a bender of "personal bitterness." He is saying Goldberg’s dissent from his old network is a personal affront. Yet he embraces disgraced Mary Mapes for her "highly detailed tell-all tales." There’s no "personal bitterness" or misinformation from this Bush-hating partisan?
The Danny Schechters of the world, weaned on sixties radicalism, have the network resumes. He’s worked at ABC, at CNN, and made documentaries and series for PBS. Most of us as young conservative journalists never considered sending a resume to these outlets. Those now accused of being TV news conservatives – say, John Stossel, or Brit Hume – certainly weren’t hired at the networks with conservative activism on their resumes.