Sunday, June 20, 2010

Right Wing vs. Left Wing Media

National and Local

Most of the talking heads in the media talk about it being dominated by the “left wing.” But when we look at the actual numbers, it is actually the opposite. The influence of FOX News is amplified as their antics and outrages – “birtherism,” climate change denial, baseless accusations of “socialism” or even “fascism” – are uncritically reported far and wide by the mainstream media (MSM). In addition to FOX, the airwaves are crammed solid with right-wing talk shows – about 90%, by some counts. Leading these is Rush Limbaugh, with an audience estimated from fifteen to thirty million. Rush and these other 90% would have you believe that the overwhelming majority of media has a left wing bias, but facts have never gotten in the way of their propaganda, and they have repeated it so many times that the majority of Americans believe it.

To be sure, there are many admirable broadcast voices on the left, in addition to the MSNBC team: Thom Hartmann, Amy Goodman, Bill Maher, Stephanie Miller, Bill Press, Mike Papantonio, Cenk Uygur, and Randi Rhodes. But their messages are uncoordinated, dispersed, and poorly promoted. And unlike FOX and Limbaugh, etc., there is almost no corporate media amplification of progressive talk radio and cable TV. Strange to say, some of the most incisive liberal commentary seems to originate with the comedians, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert.

That being said, I would like to report what is going on locally in my home town of Pittsburgh, PA. The last vestige of progressive media disappeared from this town a couple years ago when WPTT changed it’s format to exclusive financial coverage, dropping the local talk show host Lynn Cullen, and nationally syndicated Thom Hartmann.

The only thing remaining in political talk is right wing WPGB 104.7 fm. We have the regional tea party hosts Quinn and Rose, as well as nationally syndicated Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and of course, Rush Limbaugh.

Then there is the news station KQV 1410 am. Right wing millionaire Richard Mellon Scaife owns a controlling interest in that station, as well as the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. If you listen to them, they seem to be a normal news/traffic station, much like 1010 WINS from New York. In fact their programming was based on that model.

KQV has an opinion poll every day, and most of the time, the question is reasonable and relevant, although most of the time the results leave you wondering why most of the answers tend to be overwhelmingly conservative. People who have been listening to this station for years never think anything is abnormal, until one day they are shocked and outraged at a particular poll question and the number of Pittsburghers who agree. Again, it is not a scientific poll, (people can vote as many times as they want, on the phone or online).

Let me give you some examples of shocking questions and results. Just last Friday, June 18th, KQV asked, “In your opinion, did the White House ‘shakedown’ BP by urging the company to create the $20 billion compensation fund for those facing economic losses resulting from the oil spill?” Despite the outrage over Joe Barton’s “shakedown” comments, and repudiation even from his own party, two thirds (67%) of Pittsburghers agree with the congressman that we should apologize to bp, who should not pay for the damage of it’s own catastrophe, rather the taxpayers should foot the bill. This is the MO of a typical Karl Rove tactic - attack the opposition's strength, as he did against Kerry's war record in '04. After I saw this poll, I submitted a feedback thread, and stated that I thought the poll was rigged - I couldn’t believe that many Pittsburghers would vote like this, and if they did, I would move.

A few years ago, I saw another KQV poll that I found hard to believe. On April 11, 2006, the question was, “Should the U.S. consider using nuclear bombs to halt Iran from developing a nuclear weapon?” This would appear to be an Onion headline, but it wasn’t. The Onion did comment on the issue however, saying that they didn’t know if this would pass the U.N. Irony Council. My comment on this poll was published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

The mother of all poll questions was asked on March 26, 2010. This was in response to a Harris poll involving 2,320 adults who were surveyed online between March 1 and March 8 by Harris Interactive, a market research firm. Respondents were read each of 15 statements and asked whether they thought they were true or false. The sample of people was selected from among roughly 4 million people who agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys and are given "modest incentives," according to Harris. The results were then weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population.

Americans have some extreme views of President Obama, with a new controversial survey suggesting that 40 percent of adults believe he is a socialist, and about a quarter of survey participants thinking the president is a racist, anti-American and even doing things Hitler did.
The whammy: 14 percent of Americans say President Barack Obama may be the Antichrist. When split by political party, 24 percent of Republicans and 6 percent of Democrats viewed the nation's leader in this way.

KQV felt compelled to ask the same question, and the results were even more shocking. “Had you been surveyed, how would you have answered the question ‘is President Obama the Antichrist?’” On the phone poll, of 1440 responding, a whopping 70% of Pittsburghers said yes. That’s 3 times more than just the Republicans polled by Harris. Unbelievable. I voted for Obama, so this means one of two things. Either the poll is rigged, or it isn’t. If it isn’t rigged, I may have made a terrible mistake when I cast my vote, and either Obama is indeed the Anti-Christ, or Pittsburgh has way more racist whackos in it than I thought, and I need to get the hell out of town.

1 comment:

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