The Gallup Poll’s annual survey on government found that 27% of Americans are conservative; 24% are liberal, up sharply because the poll was taken after Katrina, which boosted support for the proposition that “government should do more to solve our country’s problems.” Gallup also found — this year as in others — that 20% are neither liberal nor conservative but libertarian, opposing the use of government either to “promote traditional values” or to “do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses.” Another 20% are “populist” (supporting government action in both areas), with 10% undefined. Libertarian support, spread across demographic groups, is strongest among well-educated voters.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Congress is clearly not representative of its constituency. Boaz provides:
The worst aspect of all this is the oracles who appear on TV. You’d think they’d be thoughtful, independent. Yet they’re as partisan as the pols. The typical cable show brings viewers two guests, a liberal and a conservative. You can count on conservative writers to defend everything President Bush does, and on liberal editors to denounce the GOP — no matter what.
Boaz blames both the media and politicians for this. We can’t change the politicians until the new media becomes more dominant or the old media becomes more representative of American culture. Obviously, many of us are working hard on developing and promoting the new media, but we also need to apply even greater pressure to the old media. If the new media provides a proper balance to their coverage, they will be welcomed by most people. If they continue to disregard common and popular viewpoints, they will soon go the way of the Edsel.
I’ll be trying a new line of attack for a while. When providing commentary about members of the mainstream media, I’ll also be attempting to indicate whether the reporter provided the proper balance in his/her coverage, and also covering the related general history of the member of the media.
As an example, I recently wrote a small blurb about Helen Thomas where I quoted the Drudge Report. I wrote:
According to Drudge, Helen Thomas is in a tizzy…
The next time around, it may read more like this:
Some future articles may be directly critical of the mainstream media, for example: “The Washington Post, which provided the Democratic response to Bush’s State of the Union address — but failed to cover the libertarian perspective…”
The primary mechanism I plan to use is what I am going to call the “Libertarian Coverage Indicator” or LCI, for short. It will be a simple Google News search on the journalist in question. For example, I might start a sentence with “David Broder (LCI) said…” or “David Espo (LCI) wrote…”
While this method is far from scientific, I think I’ll give it a try until one of you provides a better suggestion.
A quick search of Google News provides that of 177,600 articles which include the words “Republican”, “Democratic” or “Libertarian”, only 1.05% of them incorporate the latter search string. If 20% of the country is indeed libertarian and we only get 1% of the coverage, there is an obvious bias. Until such time as mainstream media coverage begins to approach the views of mainstream America, it is critical that all of us do what is within our power to influence the press to provide fair and balanced coverage. I’m trying a novel approach, and I suggest that you try something similar.
Update by Stephen VanDyke: Meanwhile, south of the border in Costa Rica, Movimiento Libertario is expected to gain… drum roll please… 20% of the seats in the Costa Rican Congress. Oddly enough, the party leader’s name is Otto Guevara Guth — but while he may be diametrically opposed in political philosophy to Che Guevara, his political rhetoric is commenably revolutionary: “The focus is then not compromise with them, they must compromise with us, and our compromise is, well, that’s good, here’s a step, next time do better.”
LoganFerree from Freedom Democrats sez:
Yes, that top red dot is Ron Paul. Thehas the individual social and economic axis scorecards. I’ll be working on posting one file with both scorecards soon.