Friday, December 23, 2005

In fact...

I follow politics just like everyone else in my microcosm of a blogging community -- i.e., more than Average Joe does. Every once in a while, when I need a political reality check, I like to visit the Annenberg Political Fact Check. And you should, too.

Something has set off my "hey, waitaminute" meter lately. Left-wingers are saying the media have a neoconservative bias.


Go to any right-wing site, and you'll see just as many people believing the media have a liberal bias. Which is it? We can't have a dual bias. Last time I checked, this would go against the definition of bias. Come up with another word to describe the situation. I'm game.

Here's the interesting thing:

Each side sees a bias against its cherished beliefs. And everyone keeps watching.

Chris Matthews gets to play more "Hardball." Rush Limbaugh gets to snooker more listeners. Al Franken gets to sell more books. So does Bill O'Reilly, and John Stewart gets to tell more jokes.

Oh, and have you ever watched the commercials on primetime cable news? GM gets to sell more SUVs, too.

Talk about another spike for the "hey, waitaminute" meter. Maybe I'm on to something, and maybe you should put away your liberal or neconservative toys for a minute. It's easier to pay attention, after all, when you're not high on political crack.

The corporate media have no liberal or neoconservative bias; they have a money bias. I imagine intelligent debate based on the facts makes little money. But stuff like intelligent design and deliberately misleading claims of "corrupted intelligence" in the march to war with Iraq certainly do.

Cable news channel junkies love to shout at the villains on the television screen. Most networks (even FOX) air just as many liberals as they do neoconservatives. It's equal opportunity sophistry coming at us from both sides. And each side of the audience sees the opposing viewpoint as an overpowering specter of evil that demands equal opportunity counterargument ASAP. We then blog for these counterarguments with religious zeal, hoping that we might stop this world from going to hell in a handbasket.

The whole situation begs the question: If both sides of the advertised, televised, money-making debate are wrong, then are we not all mistaken, conservatives and liberals alike, for aligning with whichever of the two lies best suits our tastes? I think so. We consign ourselves to a binary debate with increasingly taut polarities. To our true peril, we ignore the living kaleidescope of ideas that might actually improve the human condition.