Lamar Smith Column: National Media's Bias Erodes Public Confidence

July 13th, 2012 7:35 AM

The national liberal media’s bias has eroded the public’s confidence in the news they get.  Americans’ distrust of the national media will continue to grow until the national media provides the public with objective news reports. Recent bias displayed by the national media has caused one of its long-time defenders to grow “weary of trying to defend the indefensible.” 

These recent remarks by former CBS producer Greg Kandra highlight the continued existence of the national media’s liberal bias.  As a result of the national media’s use of selectively edited clips to push its liberal agenda, Kandra stated that he cannot and will not defend his former colleagues against claims of liberal bias.

He writes that the national media has “successfully eroded any confidence” the public has in the news.  Kandra declared that the national media “deserve what they’re saying about you.  It’s earned.”  And that the national media has “done a [great] job of diminishing what was once a great profession and undermining one of the underpinnings of democracy, a free press.”

For example, the national media’s liberal bias is highlighted by its lack of coverage of President Obama’s non-attendance at the United Nations Environmental Conference on Sustainable Development.  The national media ignored President Obama’s absence from the conference. 

In comparison, in 2002, when President George W. Bush did not attend a similar event, the national media criticized the former President’s absence.  Both television and print media provided forums to criticize President Bush’s decision not to attend.  Neither outlet provided forums to defend President Bush’s decision. This is a clear example of the double standard displayed by the liberal national media.

Another example of media double standard is the media’s handling of gas prices.  In April of 2008, national gas prices were similar to what they are now. However, there are no similarities in how the national media has covered this issue this year.

The Business and Media Institute (BMI) found that news briefs, headlines and stories about the cost of gasoline surfaced on these three stations a total of 21 times from January 20 to February 20, 2012. BMI also surveyed a time period during the previous administration when gas prices were the same price. It found that from March 24 to April 24, 2008, gas prices were mentioned a total 97 times. That is over four times more stories under the Bush Administration than under the Obama Administration.

The tone of the stories was also very different. Under the previous administration, gas prices were “skyrocketing” as “wallets were running on empty.” People were forced to make the “tough choice” between food or fuel. Today, “we’re seeing gas prices creep up every single week.” The national media’s coverage of Gas prices during the Obama Administration are mostly matter-of-fact stories. They focus on the fact that gas prices may hinder economic recovery, but do not go into much detail about its effects on every day Americans. Coverage under the Bush Administration was exactly the opposite. Many stories would show the rising costs to be the cause of severe hardships amongst many Americans.

A recent Gallup survey indicates that Americans’ confidence in the media is at an all time low.  The survey found that 38 percent of Americans say that they have “very little or no” confidence in television news.  This “no confidence” in television news is a record high found by Gallup since it began the Confidence in Institutions Survey in 1993.

Americans also have little confidence in newspapers.  According to the same Gallup survey, 32 percent of Americans have “very little or no confidence” in newspapers, whereas only 25 percent of Americans have “a lot” of confidence in newspapers. 

Americans’ lack of confidence in the national media will continue until the national media provides the American people with fair and objective coverage of the news.