Rep. Cramer’s Efforts on Media Bias Are Misguided, but Journalism Industry Should Admit They Have a Problem

U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer (R-ND) talks at the public launch of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba while at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, U.S. on January 8, 2015. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File photo

“Cramer should stop tilting at this windmill.”

That’s what the Grand Forks Herald says today in an editorial about Rep. Kevin Cramer’s efforts to address media bias among the nation’s television broadcasters.

This all started back just before the election when news broke that Cramer had sent a letter to the broadcasters promising hearings on media bias. The timing was tone deaf, and the approach all wrong.

Since then Cramer has backed off his call for hearings, but he’s still going to raise the issue with broadcasters through questionnaires.

The Herald calls Cramer’s efforts “petty” and “small minded,” and points out that Cramer doesn’t seem all that concerned about conservative talk shows which dominate the nation’s radio airwaves.

Media bias is real, it’s pervasive, and it’s overwhelmingly liberal. It’s a big reason why trust in the media is at or near historic lows.

I agree with the Herald that Cramer’s methods to address media bias are misguided, but I wish the editorial hadn’t dismissed the idea that media bias is a problem.

Because it is. A very real one.

As a case in point, consider the Washington Post’s recent adventures with stories about supposed Russian hacking and promotion of “fake news” (which has become a term the left uses to describe points of view they don’t like).

Glenn Greenwald has a good summary of the sorry spectacle here, but to summarize the Post wrote two sensational stories about how Russian propaganda influenced the recent election and how Russian hackers had invaded the U.S. energy grid.

Both stories had to be corrected and/or retracted.

How does this fit into the media bias debate? Because I wonder if the Post might have held back on those stories were their newsrooms more ideologically diverse.

It’s not surprising, in a nation where (per the Post’s own reporting) just 7 percent of reporters identify as Republicans, that stories which fit perfectly into the left’s preferred Trump era narrative were treated with little skepticism by the journalism industry.

Media bias is real, it’s pervasive, and it’s overwhelmingly liberal. It’s a big reason why trust in the media is at or near historic lows. It’s why the journalism industry’s criticisms of Donald Trump, often perfectly accurate, failed to get traction with vast swaths of the voting public.

When media professionals such as those at the Herald dismiss the reality of media bias they only perpetuate these problems, and make people like Congressman Cramer feel like they have to do something about it, even if that something is ill-advised and counterproductive.

 

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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