Media Matters (cont'd)
Cal Thomas comments on his role in the Media Matters research.
In the never-ending contest for the minds (and votes) of those who still bother to think and vote, the disagreement over which side has the greatest influence in the media goes on, seemingly without end.
The latest salvo comes from the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters, whose president, David Brock, once claimed to have been "Blinded by the Right," but now says he has perfect liberal vision.
I hadn't caught that this was David Brock's group. What an interesting political journey that guy has had, huh? Interestingly, Cal Thomas had a similar (but milder) political "conversion"-- in moving away from the Religious Right about a decade ago (as depicted in his book, Blinded by Might).
Media Matters says it has surveyed 96 percent of American newspapers and found that 60 percent of them "print more conservative syndicated columnists. Only 20 percent run more progressives than conservatives, while the remaining 20 percent are evenly balanced." It also claims that, "nationally syndicated progressive columnists are published in newspapers with a combined circulation of 125 million" while "conservative columnists are published in newspapers with a combined total circulation of more than 152 million."
The latter statistic gets at one of my concerns-- whether number of papers equated (well) with circulation.
The organization's count is based on newspapers that carry columnists once a week, or at least once a month, which not all newspapers do.
Using that standard, George Will and I were named the top two columnists by number of newspapers. Both of us were undercounted. More than 500 newspapers subscribe to this column. Most are dailies and a few are weeklies. Media Matters claims just 306 carry mine (it says 328 carry Will's), ignoring the real numbers by imposing the weekly or monthly frequency standard. Media Matters also apparently didn't count overseas newspapers or USA Today, America's largest circulation newspaper, in which I co-author a column twice monthly with my liberal friend, Bob Beckel.
That's funny/ironic. They underestimate Thomas-- and presumably the others as well!
Media Matters asked for my client list to prove my claim. Nice try. Liberals would love to have such a list so they can conduct letter-writing campaigns to remove conservatives, in the name of tolerance, of course.
Funny, albeit perhaps a bit paranoid! Thomas has a few zingers down the stretch...
Numbers aside, the survey suggests that too many conservative ideas unduly influence readers. This apparently keeps the brainless robots from their natural state: liberalism. The number of liberal readers who have written and told me of their conversion to conservatism after reading my arguments is small. Most liberals who write to me question the legitimacy of my birth, disparage my looks, pledge a campaign to censor me and promise never to read the column again. They do. They can't help themselves...
One more point. Liberals have many outlets for their ideas. They have the three broadcast networks, PBS, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, and most of the big newspapers. (Only one conservative columnist is employed and regularly carried by The New York Times and he rarely challenges that newspaper's liberal social agenda.) In light of such ideological media imbalance, the liberal claim that Fox News Channel exists does not cancel their overwhelming media advantage.
The Media Matters survey is not only wrong about the number of newspapers that subscribe to George Will's and my columns; it's also wrong in its presumption that we are overly "influential" (whatever that means).
So, what conclusion should be reached? Only that Media Matters doesn't.