There’s a rather long thread below about media – well, it started out about media – the tone, the quality, the bias. All of it. I’ve always thought that we come at this conversation about media bias from the wrong direction entirely. There’s a perfectly normal way to determine, for instance, what the mainstream of Americans consider to be mainstream media. Let’s measure it the way we measure all other products.
So here – in that most American of ways, I pose a few simple questions:
- Where do Americans put their money?
- What are they willing to pay for.
Looking at print media:
(That most frequent target of conservative media, The New York Times, reported a circulation (March 2009) of 1,039,031 copies on weekdays and 1,451,233 copies on Sundays. And the venerable Wall Street Journal has equivalent if not higher weekday numbers. But since the Times is perceived to be ‘liberal’ throughout and the Journal is perceived to be conservative only in its editorial pages, they’re not politically opposite. The Journal is a hybrid. So a comparison would not be useful.)
The Washington Post – A publicly traded company
Daily audience 1,599,900
The Washington Times – A privately held company owned by the Rev. Sun Young Moon
Daily audience 83,511
The Weekly Standard – a privately held company
Can’t find circulation numbers, even at their own website, so to keep it fair(ish)
National Review – a privately held company
Weekly circulation 183,000
Time Magazine – A publicly traded company
Weekly circulation 3,400,000
I draw the reader’s attention to which of these publications thrive in the free market and which are rich men’s hobbies.
And note also which of these publications Americans pay good money to read. Keep that in mind the next time politicians and pundits employ their equivalency trick and claim that these sources carry the same weight. Americans are choosing to buy and read what far too many people call liberally biased. So is mainstream America liberal?