From the Progressive Review
THE BIGGEST MEDIA SIN
by Sam Smith
WHICH AMERICAN political party best reflects the views of a majority of citizens on the Iraq war, environmental issues, health care, campaign financing, population growth, genetically modified foods, and marijuana use?
The answer, based on various polls, is the Green Party.
That you may not be aware of this points to a problem with American journalism far more important than plagiarism, blogs, or Fox News, namely that our media – for all its professed objectivity – is stunningly biased towards the views of the American elite and particularly those who buy space in their papers or time on their channels.
On the environmental issue alone, the Green Party has been proven by the latest scientific data far more prescient and sane than either of the older parties. Yet the media prefers to dismiss, discredit or disregard the Greens as well as leaders who share their views such as David Cobb or Ralph Nader.
But let's assume for a moment that one is not entitled to coverage simply for being right and let's adopt the childish media view that the only ideas that count are those that demonstrate sufficient strength at the polls. We're still left with all those Americans who agree with the Greens and don't know it:
– The 52% of Americans who think Iraq war was not worth fighting.
– The resolutions critical of the Patriot Act that have been passed in 378 communities in 43 states including six state-wide resolutions.
– The 68% who find the "problems of the global environment: global warming, destruction of rainforests, destruction of species, loss of ozone layer" to be very or extremely important to their life.
– The 62% of Americans who support universal health coverage as opposed to the current system.
– The 68% of the public who support a version of public campaign financing used in several states.
– The 78% who think population is growing too fast.
– The 80% or more of Americans who believe "protecting the environment will require most of us to make major changes in the way we live," that an underlying cause of environmental problems is that "the way we live produces too much waste," that "we focus too much on getting what we want now and not enough on future generations," that "we need to treat the earth as a living system," and that "Americans should have more respect and reverence for Nature."
– The 61% of the American public who oppose arresting and jailing nonviolent marijuana smokers.
– The 76% who believe that large companies have too much concentrated power.
– The 73% who agree with the statement: "I regard myself as a citizen of the world as well as a citizen of the United States."
Why do we hardly ever see any of these folks on cable television, on the op ed pages of the Washington Post or the New York Times, or mentioned in political analyses? It would be interesting, for example, for a columnist to attempt to square the red vs. blue, Christian vs. secular dichotomies currently in fashion with some of the data above. Or to ask the question: do our elites want us to hate each other so we don't find out what's really on our minds? And what we have in common?
The Harris polling people report that over the past ten years 31 million Americans have had someone close to them die after the removal of life support systems, but the media would have us believe it only happened once in Florida. 30,999,999 true stories left untold so one more myth can be created.
Here then is the real sin of America's media: It has created an America it chooses to see, not the one that exists. It has denied access to its pages and its channels to voices representing the majority or even greater percentages of Americans on key issues. And it has made us dislike each other even when on many of the critical issues that it ignores or distorts we have much in common.