Alternative media (U.S. political right)

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Alternative media in the United States usually refers to internet, talk radio, print, and television journalism and opinions which present a point of view that counters the alleged bias of mainstream media. It is rooted in the presumption that the alleged bias is toward liberalism and that modern journalism's goal of "objectivity" is essentially moot.

History[edit]

The perception of a liberal-leaning bias in the mainstream media is not a new one. Ronald Reagan made it a running joke during his term in office.[1]

As chronicled in David Halberstam's The Powers That Be, the Los Angeles Times, which had fiercely supported Nixon's first run for the United States House of Representatives, declined to support as strongly his run for the Senate, his 1960 presidential campaign, and his 1962 California gubernatorial campaign. The paper's final break with Nixon came during the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. At roughly the same time, Henry Luce's Time began running articles critical of the Nixon administration. Not long after this, then Vice President Spiro Agnew began attacking the media in a series of speeches — two of the most famous of these were written by White House aides Patrick Buchanan and William Safire — as "elitist" and "liberal".

After Nixon's resignation and until the late 1980s, overtly conservative news outlets included the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, the Boston Herald and the Washington Times. Conservative magazines included the National Review and the American Spectator.

Fairness Doctrine[edit]

Main article: Fairness Doctrine

In broadcast media, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy of the Fairness Doctrine required broadcast licensees to present controversial issues of public importance, and to present such issues in an honest, equal and balanced manner. The Red Lion Case was a key legal precedent in defining the role of the FCC and the enforcement of the Doctrine.

In 1987, the Fairness Doctrine was repealed, eliminating the restriction on broadcasters to provide balance to controversial issues.

Talk radio[edit]

Rush Limbaugh, nationally syndicated radio host

With the increased popularity and superior sound quality of FM radio, AM stations had long languished behind FM in both popularity and ratings, resulting in underutilization of the band. There had even been discussions in the 1970s and 1980s of abolishing the AM band.[2]

The combination of cheap, underutilized frequencies and the absence of content restrictions led a number of radio programmers and syndicators to produce and broadcast conservative talk shows. The most successful of these are Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh. Others include Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. These talk shows draw large audiences, have reinvigorated the AM band, and arguably altered the political landscape. Talk radio became a key force in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.[3][4] While liberal talk radio also emerged, such as Air America Radio, the medium is still dominated by conservatives.

Blogs[edit]

In the early 2000s, blogs of all political persuasions became increasingly influential. Conservative blogs such as Power Line, Captains Quarters and blogger Michelle Malkin covered and promoted a number of stories, for instance the Swift Boat Veterans' criticism of the war record of presidential candidate John Kerry. Particularly notable was the uncovering of the "Memogate" scandal by Little Green Footballs and others. American blog Captains Quarters played a role in the 2004 Canadian election, outflanking a Canadian judicial gag order on media coverage of hearings related to a Canadian Liberal Party corruption scandal. The fallout from the scandal helped lead to a Conservative victory in the following election.[5]

Alternative media outlets[edit]

Television[edit]

Talk radio[edit]

Websites[edit]

Blogs[edit]

Michelle Malkin

Podcasting[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dinesh D'Souza. Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader. ISBN 0-684-84823-6. 
  2. ^ David Giovannoni (1991-09-01; 1999). The Tyranny of the AM Band: How Dual AM/FM Licensees Can Adjust to the 1990s. Audience Research Analysis. 
  3. ^ "The Right Talk". The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. 2003-10-13. PBS.
  4. ^ Baum, Matthew A. (2005). "Talking the Vote: Why Presidential Candidates Hit the Talk Show Circuit". American Journal of Political Science 49 (2): 213–234. doi:10.1111/j.0092-5853.2005.t01-1-00119.x. 
  5. ^ Dobbin, Murray (2005-11-30). "The Case Against a Martin Majority". The Tyee.