Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Tale of Two News Sources

When it comes to the popular television news media, there really are only two sources. Fox News and virtually everyone else. Don't get me wrong, MSNBC and CNN have different personalities and they each have shows that are entertaining and informative in their own right. However, when it comes to ideological slant, CNN and MSNBC are largely Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum. The only difference is that MSNBC tends to be more liberal than CNN, but they are both remarkably similar.

Usually I watch Fox News and Fox Business as my primary TV information source. As I do that, I wonder how anyone could vote for the Obama and Biden ticket. It isn't that these networks simply rant against liberal politicians, but they tend to methodically review both sides and allow viewers to come to their own conclusion. Further, there is no glorification of individuals or philosophies, but typically a balancing act between various ideologies. It is true, most of the hosts have backgrounds that indicate they lean to the right, but certainly not all of them. Furthermore, when there is a larger panel of more than two or three, the voices tend to lean to the right. However, generally speaking, they seem to strive towards their motto of "fair and balanced."

There are shows I enjoy on CNN. I, of course, like Glenn Beck (who is certainly more libertarian than conservative), News to Us (which is an excellent showcase of the convergence of media), and several other programs that make up my normal news intake. However, the network's hard news shows virtually always have a liberal bent. They simply interpret news from a liberal worldview as if they were the facts. Recently my friend Jessica Colon (Young Republicans) was on the Larry King Show to talk about the McCain campaign versus Obama. The panel had her -- the sole Republican -- on with five Democrats (not including King). I have never seen that on Fox and it did not reflect well on CNN.

Things may be even worse at MSNBC. Although I love its documentaries and the network does have a token conservative, Tucker Carlson (he seems to have a shrinking role at the network). The only other member of the news team who leaned to the Right was Joe Scarborough. The former Republican Congressman use to be one of the only prominent conservative voices on the network, but he has moved slowly to the left in the minds of many since he has begun his Morning Joe program. The situation at the network has gotten so bad that Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman, both very passionate and obviously liberal in perspective, are no longer to anchor political programming because they have gotten carried away in the past sitting in such chairs. What is funny about that is these two have been replaced by David Gregory, who has been President Bush's strongest media nemesis. At least MSNBC has a sense of humor.

So what is the moral of this tale? Friends of Fox, beware, because if you think your side is going to win in November you need to be checking out the views of other networks. Ditto to viewers of MSNBC and CNN. There is a huge audience that is getting a different perspective on the candidates from your preferred news sources. In the end, I am not surprised by the wild differences in attitudes between those who have opinions based on a specific network. In fact, I am surprised there isn't more disparity of opinion.

Kevin Price accurately predicted that Joe Biden would be the VP candidate of Obama three days before the announcement. He predicted a woman would be McCain's VP days before as well. Get his commentaries in your email box by contacting Info@HoustonBusinessShow.com.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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