Lamar Smith Column: Our National Media Don't Deserve Their 'Mainstream' Title

April 27th, 2012 5:42 PM

The modern encyclopedia Wikipedia says, "the term 'mainstream' media denotes those generally reflective of the prevailing currents of thought, influence or activity."

But the opinions expressed by the media are neither widespread nor accepted by the majority of Americans. To call today's national media "mainstream" is inaccurate. They are better described as the "liberal" national media. Regardless, the term "mainstream" should be dropped.

According to a Gallup poll, 55 percent of Americans have little or no confidence in the national media to report fully, accurately and fairly. Americans are right to be skeptical about the news they receive.

How can something be considered "mainstream" if the majority of people lack confidence in it?

Journalists and the public have very different views regarding illegal immigration, for example.

In a Pew Research Center Poll, fewer than one in five journalists said they thought "reducing illegal immigration" was a "top priority." Yet over half the American people rated illegal immigration reduction as a "top priority."

Gun control is another issue where the national media are not "mainstream." According to a study by the University of Connecticut's Department of Public Policy, only 25 percent of journalists listed the Second Amendment "right to own firearms" as being "essential." A Gallup poll conducted last year shows public support for the right to bear arms to be at an all-time high of 73 percent.

In 2008, Investor's Business Daily found that an analysis of federal records showed the amount of money journalists contributed in the 2008 election cycle favored Democrats by a 15:1 ratio over Republicans. Two-hundred thirty-five journalists donated to Democrats, only 20 gave to Republicans.

The national media shouldn't be considered "mainstream" until the majority of Americans and journalists are on the same page. The bias of journalists in the national media has left them not only on a different page than the average American, but in an entirely different publication too.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Co-Chairman of the Media Fairness Caucus. This column also was published at Investor's Business Daily.