MINOT, N.D. — The leftward tilt of the American news media, pronounced at the national level but problematic even locally, is a constant source of frustration to me as a conservative.
The journalism industry talks about the need for newsroom diversity all the time. If we’re going to tell our society’s stories, the argument goes, then our newsrooms should reflect our society in terms of things like gender and race. And it’s a good argument, as far as it goes, except that for many years now our nation’s publishers and editors and producers seem to care very little for ideological or even cultural balance. This created a vacuum for conservative perspectives that has been filled over the years by a growing conservative-leaning alternative media.
It’s not been an entirely good thing. We live in a divided time, and at least some of the roots of that division can be traced back to this balkanization of the news media.
Unfortunately, justified conservative consternation over the leftward cant of the “mainstream media” (I loathe that term) has been coopted by charlatans, disgraced former President Donald Trump among them, who have taken to labeling any journalism they don’t like as a product of bias.
I’m talking about the “fake news” mantras, which are often deployed not about actual inaccuracies but merely reported facts that are inconvenient for certain political dogmas.
Also, sometimes the “fake news” whiners perpetrate a lot of fake news themselves.
Take, for example, a claim from talk radio host Chris Berg (who recently left his long-time TV show over a vaccine mandate) claiming that The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, the flagship newspaper owned by my employers at Forum Communications Co. where I am published pretty much daily, was refusing to run a letter critical of private sector vaccine mandates written by Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.
Berg labeled it “cancel culture.”