George Will & Theoretical Liberal Media Bias

FireShot Screen Capture #396 - ''This Week' Roundtable I_ This Week in Politics I Video - ABC News' - abcnews_go_com_ThisWeek_video_week-roundtable-week-politics-18749268During a typically right-leaning roundtable discussion on ABC‘s This Week (3/17/13), George Will said this about the big Conservative Political Action Conference:

First, here’s the New York Times headline on the CPAC conference: “GOP Divisions Fester at Conservative Retreat.” Festering an infected wound, it’s awful. I guarantee, if there were a liberal conclave comparable to this, and there were vigorous debates going on there, the New York Times headline would be, “Healthy Diversity Flourishes at Liberal Conclave.”

While one  could argue what event would qualify as a liberal/left alternative to CPAC, it’s safe to say that none of them get as much media attention as CPAC. 

But there are such conferences. In D.C., the liberal Campaign for America’s Future organizes one. Back in 2006, when it was called “Take Back America,” this was the New York Times headline (6/14/06):

 Clinton and Kerry Show Democratic Divide on Troop Withdrawal

 And here’s another headline (6/8/10) about the same conference (though it had changed its name):

Pushing a Liberal Agenda, With Democrats as Target

To be fair to Will, his other point–that political media needlessly portray ideological conflict within parties or movements as some kind of problem–has some merit.

But the idea that one headline about a lavishly over-covered conservative conference that features appearances by Sarah Palin and Donald Trump is evidence of liberal media bias–that’s just a reminder that there’s just not much of  a case to be made here.


About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.