The most obvious and easy reason that leaps out is the same reason they worked so hard for two decades in every election to make Republicans look bad and Democrats look good: most people who work and especially run legacy media outlets are Democrats. They want their guys to win and think that Republicans are not just wrong but bad, dangerous, and even evil - as far as they're willing to admit such a thing.
That's why the bias gets so pronounced every election year - it has actually worked a few times, such as 1996 and 2006. That's always a factor, even not during election years. The legacy media has a narrative and especially since around 2003, they've been pushing that as carefully managed as possible to help Democrats. Yet that's not the only reason.
Another major reason that the legacy media is trying so hard to get Senator Obama elected is because their circulation is plummeting. The New York Times saw a zenith in sales around 2000 and from that point on, they've been bleeding customers and advertisers. It's gotten bad enough now that the stockholders are looking at removing the bonus that the Shulzberger family gets every year. Newspapers, television news shows, news magazines, almost every single news outlet in the United States is showing losses of revenue, advertising, and circulation.
As the media demonstrates more and more their unwillingness to report news that could hurt Democrats and trumpet news that helps them, to play up bad things about Republicans and play down bad things about Democrats, to print only bad news about anything Republicans do and print the talking points of the Democratic Party leadership, people trust and rely on these news organizations less and less. And the growth of the internet has hurt even worse: why go watch a TV show about the news when you can read about it as it happens,
from the location
it happens? The internet gives you not just the news but dozens of viewpoints and personal statements about the news, it's the ultimate "man on the street" viewpoint, combined with analysis and opinions from all around the world. The legacy news outlets just aren't useful any more.
What's the solution to this? Well I've written of a few solutions - go local, stop the really insulting bias, get back to reporting and be the voice of the people against the powers that be, not just the ones you dislike. Yet there's another possible solution that these media outlets are hoping for. Michael S. Malone helps explain
So why weren’t those legions of hungry reporters set loose on the Obama campaign? Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?
The editors. The men and women you don’t see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesn’t; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay-out the editorial pages. They are the real culprits.
Why? I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one: Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you’ve spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power . . . only to discover that you’re presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn’t have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you’ll lose your job before you cross that finish line, ten years hence, of retirement and a pension.
In other words, you are facing career catastrophe -and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway - all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.
And then the opportunity presents itself: an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career. With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived Fairness Doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe, be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.
And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country...
One of the biggest problems the legacy media faces is the lack of monopoly. In the golden ages of news reporting there were three network news channels and the local newspaper, led by the Grey Lady - the New York Times. They controlled the horizontal, they controlled the vertical. Now there's radio shows and internet news sites and blogs and they don't control anything any more. They aren't the only game in town any more. Democrats can fix this, Democrats in every branch of government, led by a very hard leftist who is a friend of the media - even if he's a bit arrogant in how he deals with them. A new version of the fairness doctrine is a good start, it can control the opposition voices, control the blogs, make sure only real experts and professionals work at news reporting. Maybe some kind of licensing program, maybe even putting radicals like Limbaugh off the air!
Whether this is reasonable or even possible, that is part of the zeal behind pushing for Democrats, particularly Senator Obama, this election cycle. Might he save the media from its self? Certainly he's more likely to attempt it and sign such a bill than Senator McCain - at least slightly so. And for a dying industry with a high degree of arrogance and self-importance, it looks like a chance worth fighting for.
For many on the left, their worldview is so dominated by identity groups - black, lesbian, handicapped, etc - that they tend to see people primarily by what niche they fit into rather than who they are individually. Added to this is the "white guilt" phenomenon in which someone is so inculcated with the pernicity of white people in the past (without any mention of the evils of people who look different, or blaming all those on white people) that the very idea of a black man running for president is the apotheosis of all their presumed crimes and the sins of their fathers. Vote for Senator Obama and its like a plenary indulgence! You will absolve yourself of all evils and racism in your past and that of your ancestors!
Granted, if Senator Obama were a Republican this wouldn't count - Republicans aren't really black or female or in any identity group, because these groups while being ostensibly about appearance and culture are actually about ideology, but since Senator Obama is a Democrat and holds the Correct Notions©
then he's an authentic black. That mere fact for many is so exciting and cause for an extra effort.
THE OTHER GUY
Despite the fact that constitutionally he may not run and he does not want
to run for another term, President Bush is still the guy that is being fought in the minds of many on the left. For eight years, they've been spreading rumors, attacking the man, making outrageous claims, screaming slogans, and claiming things that were unsubstantiated and baseless, but emotionally compelling. If you believed even half of what was alleged about President Bush, you'd think he was Hiter, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and Causcescu all balled up in one horrific demonic package.
Most rational people know that is not true, but if you repeat a lie and are surrounded by people who repeat and never question it long enough, some of that is going to seep into your worldview and you'll start believing it at least on some level. Those moonbat extremists you see posting their vomit on comment boards and forums? Some of them are working in the media. And they see President Bush not just as a guy they disagree with, but a horrible monster who destroyed America, the constitution, and our reputation worldwide, particularly with that critical elite European intellectual segment. And before him, the victories of Reagan and Bush in the 80s were disasters for America, pushing it hideously away from the leftist efforts of more than 30 years of continuous effort.
So Senator Obama means a repudiation of Republicans and all the evil for which they stand, a rejection of President Bush: a final, complete crushing of his legacy and presidency. If they can engineer a landslide victory for Senator Obama, the Reagan revolution will be dead and they will have reversed the Clinton legacy: every step along the way, they'll have countered from the Newt Gingrich congress to the 2001 Bush victory (which was stolen anyway
, they mutter).
And speaking of the Reagan Revolution, in the last forty years, there have been four Democratic Presidents. Since 1970, there have been two. Republicans have dominated the presidency and in the last twenty years or so dominated congress most of the time. President Clinton only won his first election because the GOP was split, he didn't even get a majority of the popular vote or
electoral college, it's just that no other candidate got more than he.
During the early naughties, stories of leftists being miserable, of special counselors for people who were depressed by how their country just didn't seem to agree with them, special syndromes named for their malaise were all reported on. Every election that went by another crushing defeat was in store for Democrats. They lost governors, they lost state legislators, they lost congress, they lost the presidency. All that careful work over the years of putting judges in place who'd rule the way they wanted regardless of the rule of law, jurisprudce, of the constitution was going down the drain. For someone on the left, it's been a tough time.
In 2006, finally, with a triumphant effort by the media to cover up Democratic corruption, hypocrisy, and misdeeds, finally the left had a victory, finally they could gloat. Now they'd see things go their way. Yet the Republicans in the Senate managed to stop many efforts and President Bush finally pulled out his dusty, cobwebbed veto stamp and went to work to block their bills. For someone in the legacy media, a majority in the Senate so big they cannot be filibustered and a president who sees things their way (the right
way!) will finally see this nightmare come to an end.
Then we'll see those freaks on the right suffer, some think. Then we'll see them depressed and worrying about America. Then they'll pay for all those years they took power - usually by voter suppression and the supreme court!
It's a payback, a powerful sense of victory, to finally be on top, where they feel they belong. They could see decades of incremental work in society, the law, and, goverment all going away. All those years of work being reversed by people too stupid and unenlightened to vote.
EVERYONE I KNOW VOTED FOR HIM
And the final cause of such an overpowering bias and effort to elect Democrats this time is the old, sad story that Bernard Goldberg wrote about in Bias
. The majority of people who work in the large legacy media outlets live in, work with, are friends with, talk to, and are surrounded by like-thinking people. Almost never exposed to a variance of worldview and political opinion, they see diversity in physical appearance and within certain boundaries of behavior. Too much of this can lead one to believe that the whole world thinks like you do - except for a few freaks in small towns and those radical extremist Republicans like Rush Limbaugh.
When you think this is just how the world is and everyone agrees with you, it stops seeming like bias and begins to just seem like the proper way to view the world. Combine that with an arrogance and a belief not in a higher authority, but one's own innate superiority as a human and you get a sense that you'd be wrong to report things any other way. Sure, Obama has incredibly radical leftist friends, that's not so wierd, so do I
. And besides, it was the seventies, everone was doing it then, why I remember the time...
This disconnect from the rest of America can lead someone to be utterly unaware of the actual reasons people hold certain viewpoints. Hotbutton issues like higher taxes, socialism, and slashing the miliary budget during war don't seem so odd at all. That's just reasonable, proper activity, that's how real people behave. You can get to the point you believe not that you have one of several viewpoints, but that you have the real, true viewpoint - even if it isn't technically
true it has a deeper truth - and anyone who disagrees is just bizarre, like someone who says the moon is made of crumbled gouda.
Why, some people in Middle America think that God created the world still, can you believe it
All this adds up to a sad result: the total sellout of the organ that is supposed to inform voters and keep leaders accountable. The abdication of responsibility to keep one party on its toes, to report the facts regardless of who it hurts, and to pursue a story to the end no matter what the results are politically.
And in the end, the Republic suffers. There is hope, though: the internet is killing the legacy media. It is more powerful and more free than goverments can hope to stop. It is too big and too much a part of the culture to be silenced. And while the legacy media cuts its throat with bias so offensive and so arrogant that even their allies are becoming disgusted and disturbed, the information is out there.
Senator Obama might win, but he's up against far more than any president used to be. The new media is here to stay, only a complete totalitarian takeover of the nation could hinder it now, and never stop it.
It's just sad to watch the careers and institutions of news be crumbled and corroded from within by such stupidity and political ambition