Media bias must be clear to avoid skewed views of U.S. Big Business

(Illustration by Frank St. George)

America can only flourish again if its citizens accurately understand mass media bias and the underlying abuses of power that threaten our economy, environment and democracy.

Many Americans talk about “the liberal media” and complain that criticism of conservative politicians and their policies is an unwarranted and unfair byproduct of mass media network owners’ personal opinions. The myth of the liberal media must be understood and overcome so citizens can use the power of democracy to return our nation to equitable and beneficial government policies.

American mass media networks systematically promote the interests of big business while sacrificing the interests of the nation as a whole.

The media’s biased coverage prevents moderate and liberal politicians from passing any truly progressive legislation. This allows politicians who are loyal to big business to relentlessly undermine environmental and social reforms without any threat of mainstream media criticism.

A nation’s economy, environment and quality of life depend on an appropriate balance of power between business interests and environmental and social concerns. If too much power is given to business interests, damage to the environment and individual citizens lowers the nation’s profitability.

On the other hand, if business interests are given too little power, the decline of the economy might lead to increased poverty and environmental degradation.

Business interests have dominated American politics for decades, and recently we have begun to suffer some of the inevitable consequences.

The liberal media myth incorrectly explains the mass media’s behavior as a product of the network owners’ personal views.

This incorrect explanation helps the major media networks systematically maintain and expand a political machine dominated by pro-business lobbyists and politicians.

The myth of liberal media bias is a smoke-screen, allowing mainstream media networks to continue subtly. They are diverting discussions and shifting every channel of the political dialogue, silently crippling any significant opposition to the agenda of big business.

Networks like MSNBC that are said to have liberal bias are almost indistinguishable from networks like Fox News in terms of how they cover issues of big business versus environmental and social interests.

In the intentionally distorted political spectrum of American mass media, Barack Obama is commonly portrayed as an extreme leftist. The mainstream media has repeated this lie so many times that even Americans who consider themselves liberal believe it.

In reality, Obama’s political views are much closer to the political middle than the media admits, and Obama would be accurately recognized as somewhat conservative by a free and unbiased media system.

Obama’s distance from the far left of the political spectrum is revealed by many of his actions. Particularly revealing is the appointment of Ken Salazar to secretary of the interior, a move that environmentalists supported about as much as George W. Bush’s appointment of Gale Norton and James Steven Griles.

Salazar, Norton and Griles are strongly supportive of big business interests, and putting these people in government positions responsible for environmental protection is irresponsible. These appointments were concessions to big business and betrayals of the public trust; sadly typical of the poor judgments and ethical failures that plague American politics. A liberal mass media would have loudly condemned President Obama’s appointment of Salazar as soon as it happened, rather than letting it slip away unnoticed.

In addition to manipulating the public’s view of moderates and liberals, the mass media protects politicians who are loyal to the interests of big business, including the democrat who has stopped the Obama White House’s most socially and environmentally responsible legislation.

This politician, a loyal servant of the special interest groups and campaign funding corporations who control the Democratic Party, is never exposed or criticized in the mainstream media. Thus, for most readers, this article will serve as an introduction to Blanche Lincoln, the democrat who can almost always be counted on to protect big business and ignore the environmental and social consequences. Perhaps the most consequential of Lincoln’s betrayals was the elimination of single-payer health care legislation, and the passing of a bill that thoroughly protected the profits of big health care at the expense of taxpayers.

The media’s ability to shelter politicians like Blanche Lincoln from public scrutiny is as appalling as the media’s ability to paint middle-of-the-spectrum politicians like Barack Obama as extreme liberals.

This systematic bias creates a tremendous barrier of resistance to any effort that moderates and moderate liberals might make to reduce corporate domination of American politics.

If Obama had begun his presidency by appointing an environmental conservationist as secretary of the interior and demanding an end to deep sea drilling pending further safety review and regulation, he would have been crucified in the media.

Meanwhile, democrats like Blanche Lincoln are able to effectively shut down all the truly progressive health care and alternative energy legislation with virtually no media criticism or even coverage.

Americans of all political persuasions must realize the mass media bias is far from liberal so balance can be restored to our nation’s politics.

– Myles Ikenberry is a graduate in chemical engineering.  Please send comments to