(h/t to Mediaite‘s fantastic Noah Rothman, who tweeted this hot mess earlier)
MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe raised two important points about media bias during a debate with conservative radio host Steve Malzberg on Wednesday: One, Fox News is the number-one cable news channel in the country; two, The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, is the number-one-selling newspaper in the country.
To this, I would add the Rush Limbaugh is the number-one most listened to talk radio host in the country and Drudge Report, the conservative online news aggregator, is the number-one traffic driver for political news sites.
So, let’s cycle back through that: The dominant players across all news platforms are Fox News (by viewers), The Wall Street Journal (by circulation); Rush Limbaugh (by listeners); and Drudge Report (by traffic).
So, when conservatives slam the “liberal mainstream media” — what the hell are they talking about?
As analysis goes, this is painfully weak even by the low, low standards Politico strives for every day.
To answer the question, what we are usually talking about is the prevalence of subjective opinion pieces that masquerade as journalism at most of the major “news” outlets. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the major network news outlets generally don’t employ real journalists anymore, they’re staffed with left-leaning advocates, especially in the Obama era.
The entire post is rather nonsensical because the entire premise is so flawed, as dominance, prevalence, and bias are being conflated.
The dominance of Fox News in cable ratings doesn’t lessen the bias at the other two cable players and the network news bureaus. This is a cute, fantastical leap Byers takes here that I am sure made sense in his head at the time.
He then tries to dismiss the overall numbers dominance of ABC, NBC and CBS by saying it doesn’t really count because they only broadcast news for an hour a day. Even that isn’t really true. The morning shows are run by the news bureaus (ABC, for example, runs four hours of news — including GMA each morning).
In the newspaper game, the combined circulation of the publications we accuse of bias (N.Y. Times, USA TODAY, WaP0, and L.A. Times) is over 4.6 million. The only two major players that can be perceived as not out in Left Land, WSJ and the New York Post, have a combined circulation of just under 2.9 million. And the Times overwhelms the Journal in the digital arena, 1,133,923 to 898,102.
As for Drudge, he dominates a market that he essentially created and in which there is no real competition. That may make him a brilliant entrepreneur, but it doesn’t lessen the bias elsewhere. Even calling it a “conservative online news aggregator” is somewhat misleading. One of the reasons Drudge is successful is that he links to so many different sites, many of them decidedly left-of-center. Yes, he may write headlines bashing them, but notice that Byers said the site was the number one traffic driver, which is true. And it drives traffic to more than just conservative outlets.
Lastly, what makes the bias on the left so relevant is that it infects the people who aren’t spending their days deep in the political news weeds. Those who are most easy to influence (and sway for an election) are far more likely to be nudged by something they saw on Good Morning America or read in the Times. Face it, FNC and Rush Limbaugh play to niche markets. Yes, they are big niches, but niches nonetheless. No casual consumer of the news tunes into either.
So, nice try here, but yeah…no.