“Who among liberals can be counted upon to be as ideological, as relentless, as nakedly partisan, as George Will, Bob Novak, Pat Buchanan, Bay Buchanan, William Bennett, William Kristol, Fred Barnes, John McLaughlin, Charles Krauthammer, Paul Gigot, Ben Wattenberg, Oliver North, Katie O’Beirne, Tony Blankley, Anne Coulter, Sean Hannity, Tony Snow, Laura Ingraham, Jonah Goldberg, William F. Buckley, Jr. , Bill O’Reilly, Alan Keyes, Tucker Carlson, Brit Hume, CNBC’s roundtable of the self-described “wild men” of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and on and on?
” The fourth estate has always been looked upon as the surest way to promote liberal thinking. In fact, it is rumored that for every orthodox obstacle on the path to success, the media is the best weapon to deal with it – for it is unarguably the most liberal institution ever thought of by mankind. And that is the mindset of not just Americans, but people all around the world. In such a case, it may not be an exaggeration to state that the media is actually synonymous with liberal thinking. Eric Alterman, the author of this awe-inspiring book, begs to differ.
In a carefully thought of and researched work, Alterman has pointed out many flaws in the so-called “most liberal” media institution in the United States. As the title suggests, Alterman has raised a question as regards the supposition of the media to be the most liberal institution of the world – and constantly at war with conservative thoughts. In his book, Alterman shows how conservatives have been more than adequately represented in the media, and that the media is not all that liberal as it is portrayed to be.
In a carefully analyzed and researched book, Alterman clearly brings his expertise and his reputation in every page. His distinguished credentials – a columnist for the Nation and a blogger on MSNBC. com – have clearly made the book much more exciting and interesting. The effect of his expertise is seen in his metaphorical representation of many theories surrounding and hyping the media, and his ability to be crisp and to the point at all times. Being the warhorse that he is, he has ensured that readers get the facts – cold and straight – and that his readers are spared unwanted preludes.
The metaphor, which has been most impressive throughout the work, is that of an athletic contest. Alterman feels that right-to-center views find precedence among the fourth estate. This clearly means the isolation of left-to-center, or the conservative factions of American society. In such a case, the media is deliberately unfriendly to the left-to-center points of view. The manner of Alterman’s narration makes the reader flow with the thoughts he has so efficiently portrayed. It is a common notion, as mentioned earlier, to feel that the media is a liberal institution that supports mostly supports liberals.
However, Alterman feels that conservatives have found an equally vied, if not higher, position than their liberal counterparts. In strengthening his point, Alterman talks about the famed TV personality Anne Coulter, who, in her book, “Slander” has literally taken the media into pieces while criticizing it for its bias towards liberals, and their under-representation of conservatives. However, Alterman reminds the readers how Coulter found her way to “Good Morning America” as a Psephologist, and became rich and secured a huge fan-following, thanks to her book.
Doesn’t that go a long way in blasting the theory of alleged media bias towards liberals? Indeed, the media has found liberals exciting at many points of time. It may be due to a public-perceived charisma, which liberals may or may not have, or it may be due to the media’s classic portrayal of liberals in their most original sense. But, conservatives are garnering as impressive media space as their liberal counterparts. In this, Alterman tells the readers how Rush Limbaugh had over 15 million listeners when he came to life on a microphone.
The success of Alterman’s book comes as a result of its uniqueness. There have been many books talking about the media’s role in society, their bias towards liberalism, and even to their doctoring of information – with all these theories supported by tall theories and long stories. In his book, Alterman is remarkably simplistic throughout the text – sticking to the facts at all times, and not building captivating stories to enthrall his readers. While this may sound as a “basic approach” – taken by a non-fiction writer as a routine precaution – it is just not so.
Such an approach is instrumental for inviting new thoughts and instigating fresh discussions. That singular point makes the book successful and readable in itself. In the book, Alterman has wonderfully researched and portrayed what he calls the “punditocracy”. The word “Pundit” is Sanskrit, meaning “highly learned in a specialization”. According to Alterman, television punditry can easily be counted among the most essential factors in disproving the alleged media bias towards liberalism. He shows how many conservative voices dominate media space, and how few liberals can ever match up that caliber.
Alterman feels that, while considering the panoply of conservative punditry dominating media space, television ratings are much more important than even accuracy of presentation. But today, there are many pundits who claim to be apolitical in their views. Those people, who side with camps during appropriate and compelling times alone, create a ruckus while one tries to take an accurate examination of liberal and conservative views side by side. These “foreign elements”, neither part of the liberal nor the conservative mainstream pose the biggest threat to unbiased examination.
Sensing this problem while writing his book, Alterman takes to pieces not only conservatives, but also liberals. In his deep examination – unbiased and accurate – Alterman examines and breaks down the conservative factions such as Bill O’Reilly – for his fallacies and his supposed allegiances – and also the seemingly liberal factions, such as Chris Matthews, for his remark on Hillary Clinton. The book has served its fundamental purpose – which is to quell all fallacies about media bias towards liberalism – in a most effective manner.
Alterman’s thorough research on the entire setup of the conservative media framework – including their research foundations, their speaking fees, and their in-house publications – which is an overwhelming research – explains just why the conservative media movement is gaining momentum in today’s times. He tempts the reader to think that the massive reach and dominance of this movement is singly responsible for the punditocracy’s conservative approach in many matters. On all counts, the book supports every single point made with a great deal of research and thought.
The author’s remarkable views and analysis of the allegation of “media bias towards liberalism” have clearly demonstrated the irony of the current situation. With a judicious approach, Alterman has brought about a whole new dimension of thought for his readers, who clearly become skeptical about the allegation of bias. Alterman shows that the liberal bias has absolutely nothing to do with the efficacy of news and views presented on media space. However, even after a wonderful presentation of the sorry state of affairs, Alterman remains optimistic as he concludes.
Alterman feels that the public’s ignorance of the enormous contribution of the fourth estate towards the practice of democracy is the fundamental factor that drives irresponsible and biased views against the media. He feels that such ignorance on part of the public leads them to be “unappreciative” of all the efforts taken by the media day in and out to try and establish equality. In conclusion, one can only gasp at the author’s stupendous piece of writing. A well-researched and analyzed work, “What Liberal Media?
” promises to be a riveting read for open-minded readers who are willing to digest a whole new angle to the media’s giant role in society. A new dimension to whole allegation of media bias has been effectively presented, and that is the one factor that makes this book original and therefore, highly interesting. So, for all people who are willing to study an entirely new dimension to the issue of media-bias, the book promises to be a captivating read. REFERENCE Alterman, Eric: What Liberal Media? : The truth about BIAS and the news. Basic Books