Alternative media (U.S. political right)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ben Shapiro, founder of The Daily Wire, one of the largest conservative websites in the United States.

Right-wing 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 perceived liberal bias of mainstream media.


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 Chicago Tribune, the New York Post and The Washington Times. Conservative magazines included the National Review, The Weekly Standard and the American Spectator.

Fairness Doctrine[edit]

In broadcast media, the 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 FCC voted to revoke the Fairness Doctrine, a decision which was later upheld in court.[1] The repeal unleashed a new era of ideological broadcasting.

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 underutilized AM frequencies and the absence of content restrictions led a number of radio programmers and syndicators to produce and broadcast conservative talk shows. Notable examples are Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. These talk shows draw large audiences and have arguably altered the political landscape. Talk radio became a key force in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.[3][4] While some liberal talk radio also emerged, such as Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! and the ersatz Air America Radio, most liberal voices have moved to the Internet, leaving broadcast radio still dominated by conservatives.


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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "867 F. 2d 654 - Syracuse Peace Council v. Federal Communications Commission". Openjurist. 10 February 1989. Retrieved 7 December 2014. Under the "fairness doctrine," the Federal Communications Commission has, as its 1985 Fairness Report explains, required broadcast media licensees (1) "to provide coverage of vitally important controversial issues of interest in the community served by the licensees" and (2) "to provide a reasonable opportunity for the presentation of contrasting viewpoints on such issues." Report Concerning General Fairness Doctrine Obligations of Broadcast Licensees, 102 F.C.C.2d 143, 146 (1985). In adjudication of a complaint against Meredith Corporation, licensee of station WTVH in Syracuse, New York, the Commission concluded that the doctrine did not serve the public interest and was unconstitutional. Accordingly it refused to enforce the doctrine against Meredith. Although the Commission somewhat entangled its public interest and constitutional findings, we find that the Commission's public interest determination was an independent basis for its decision and was supported by the record. We uphold that determination without reaching the constitutional issue.
  2. ^ David Giovannoni (1999) [1991-09-01]. "The Tyranny of the AM Band: How Dual AM/FM Licensees Can Adjust to the 1990s" (PDF). Audience Research Analysis. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-05-25. Retrieved 2007-04-30. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "The Right Talk". The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. 2003-10-13. PBS. Transcript.
  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.

Further reading[edit]