The (Il)liberal Critics

One of the most underreported stories in the country today is the extent to which media bashing–formerly the almost exclusive preserve of conservatives–is these days being waged by liberals and leftists.

From blogs like DailyKos and the Huffington Post, filled to the gunwales with attacks on “corporate media,” to “media reform” groups like Free Press, Media Matters for America, and the Orwellianesque  FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), liberal activists are sounding and acting more and more illiberal. Indeed, they sound and act like conservatives.

Hardly a day goes by that at least one of them fails to fault the mainstream media for their coverage, or non-coverage, of some issue in which they have an ideological investment. And when that’s not enough they don’t hesitate to call on policymakers for laws or regulations they think would help promote their political views.

In this and in other ways, the Left’s assault on the media is virtually indistinguishable from that of the Right. The conservative Parents Television Council petitions the FCC for sanctions on TV indecency; the left-leaning Free Press petitions the FCC to stop media consolidation. Media Matters purports to expose “conservative misinformation” in the  media; the Media Research Center “leads in documenting, exposing, and neutralizing liberal media bias.”

Both sides incorporate “content analysis” as a research tool, and both organize letter-writing campaigns aimed at Congress and the FCC.

But it’s the rise of liberal media bashing that is the newer and more worrisome thing, because liberals have a past history of tolerance for free speech.

The transparent lie among all organized media bashers is that their attacks are objective and selfless. They are not. Ideologues see the media as a kind of blackboard on which to write and spin their political opinions. This, and nothing else. Not fairness. Or accuracy. Or a free press.