Tea Party demands media tell the truth

Photo by Michael L. Dorn on Flickr

On Sunday, October 17th, TeaParty365 will host a rally in Manhattan focused on demanding mainstream media start reporting only accurate information.  The rally begins at the home of the NY Times at 2pm, and then will head to the Fox News Studios.

Well, I suppose in the spirit of the rally it should be more accurately reported that they will only pass by Fox on their way to their second destination, NBC’s 30-Rock, where they will protest MS-NBC.  But it’s a shame they won’t stop.

Unfortunately, the rally is only aimed at liberal media.  The rally’s mission says it will, “Send a message to these liberal media icons that you’ve had enough of their left-wing bias.”  The core premise is noble.  The news could use a lot less bias, but that should apply to both sides.  No one’s going to argue The Times and MS-NBC don’t lean left, but Fox leans just as clearly in the other direction.

Bias aside, the focus seems more on accuracy.  The rally is featuring the Media Research Center whose website prominently features a large graphic bumper sticker saying, “Demand the media tell the truth!”  However, their more benign sounding mission as “America’s Media Watchdog,” is to bring balance to the news media.  They assert that leaders of America’s conservative movement have long believed that within the national news media a strident liberal bias existed that influenced the public’s understanding of critical issues.  This contrasts nicely with Media Matters, a progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.  They should be two sides of the coin—a balanced yin and yang, and in this sense they are.  Yet looking at the respective websites yields very different experiences.

The MRC is positioning for conflict, and it wants you to join.  In addition to the demanding bumper sticker mentioned above, the site urges you to “Join the fight against liberal bias.”

The leading stories on the sight today bear the following headlines:

The headlines dealing with liberal news reports all have an air of conspiracy about them.  They position conservatives as the victims of liberal abuse.  Clicking through to the articles reveals a fuller exposition of the slights conservatives have incurred at the hands of  liberals.  Noticeably missing is any explanation of where the liberal media misrepresented the facts.  The site is demanding truth, yet offers no recent evidence of lying.  Instead, it takes umbrage at the liberal media for being mean to them.

Meanwhile on Media Matters site, the leading headlines are:

Three of the five Media Matters stories don’t really deal with correcting conservative news stories as their mission states.  Rather, they deal with the credibility of the Fox News network.   But at least two of the stories do actually make an analysis of a conservative story and point out the factual problems or the misleading reasoning.

In the end, it would seem that neither site stays pure to its core purpose, and both are highly biased to their respective viewpoints.  Liberals and conservatives both play games with the news and with news about the news.  However, MRC seems decidedly and uniquely paranoid.  Perhaps MRC  should rename their gathering Sunday to the March to Keep Fear Alive… oh wait… never mind.

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