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What Liberal Media?

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What Liberal Media?

The Truth About Bias and the News

Basic Books,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Forget the myth of "liberal media bias." Conservatives actually shape American media and trounce their detractors.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Eye Opening
  • Well Structured


Constructing a cohesive, logical argument to refute the often-repeated claim that the media has a liberal bias requires careful planning and airtight evidence. Yet author Eric Alterman makes a strong case that, if anything, the media is dominated by conservatives who promote the findings of well-funded partisan think tanks, help book publishers who produce poorly researched ideological books, support incendiary TV and radio pundits, and abet editorialists who push the conservative line. Their goal, Alterman alleges, is to quash intelligent political debate and reduce complex arguments to simplistic black and white alternatives - all in support of a right-leaning political agenda. The book is thoroughly researched and documented, if sometimes so absorbed in its own point of view and so esoteric that only the most dedicated reader will follow it. getAbstract recommends this book to everyone interested in fostering more balanced political discussion.


Why the Media is More Conservative than Liberal

Many politicians and citizens consider the U.S. media to be liberal. Yet, the claim of liberal bias in the media is almost impossible to prove, since the very definition of "liberal" hinges on each individual’s complex opinions. For instance, how do you classify people who are socially liberal and economically conservative?

Many believe that the media has a coordinated, premeditated plan to re-write reporters’ stories to fit a liberal propaganda effort. Yet, if it did, reporters and editors would complain loudly every day. However, editors and reporters have seemingly suspended their critical capabilities in the face of conservative accusations of "liberal bias." These accusations are disturbingly enabled by changes in journalistic practices. Given those shifts, even some media professionals say that their stations and publications are "liberal" dominated. Conservative editors and commentators scold reporters, who then seem reluctant to challenge their critics’ sources, facts or opinions. The key players in this conservative media-driven maelstrom are right-learning pundits, think tanks, book publishers, columnists and...

About the Author

Eric Alterman is professor of English at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, media columnist for The Nation, the Altercation" weblogger for and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he writes and edits the "Think Again" column. Alterman is the author of the national bestsellers The Truth About Bias and the News (2003, 2004) and The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America (with Mark Green, 2004). His newest book is When Presidents Lie: A History of Deception and its Consequences (September, 2004). His Sound & Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy (1992, 2000), won the 1992 George Orwell Award and his It Ain’t No Sin to be Glad You’re Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen (1999, 2001) won the 1999 Stephen Crane Literary Award. Alterman is also the author of Who Speaks for America? Why Democracy Matters in Foreign Policy (1998). A frequent lecturer and contributor to virtually every significant national publication in the US and many in Europe, in recent years, he has also been a columnist for: Worth, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones and The Sunday Express (London). A senior fellow of the World Policy Institute at New School University, Alterman received his B.A., his M.A. in International Relations from Yale and his Ph.D. in U.S. History from Stanford. He is at working on a history of postwar American liberalism.

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