Glenn Greenwald



Freddie deBoer used to blog at, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

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30 Responses

  1. Avatar Bob says:

    And don’t forget the very crap of which you speak linked on this estimable site, The League of Ordinary Gentelemen.

  2. Avatar North says:

    So maybe it would be more apt to say the media has a moderate liberal bias? As a moderate liberal I think that’s lovely. ^^Report

    • Avatar Freddie says:

      I think the media has a neoliberal bias, personally. Which is not a matter of extremity but of content.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Neoliberal. Like the opposite of neoconservative? I’d respond more but I have to go look up the meaning of the word and I try (not always successfully) to not comment on things I have no clue about.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          Okay having hunted up Neoliberalism, Wiki says:

          “In the United States, neoliberalism can also refer to a political movement in which members of the American left and right endorse free market positions, such as free market economics, globalized free-trade and welfare reform”

          So if what I’m reading is correct neoliberals have pretty much the same social attitudes as liberals but in matters economic they’re generally pro-capitalist and fiscal discipline? Sounds pretty good, I think I may be a neoliberal. Ugh… those neocons on the other side of the neighborhood fence though! *shudders*

          So back to media bias… they’re neoliberal biased? Still sounds pretty OK to me.Report

          • Avatar Freddie says:

            There’s a bit more to neoliberalism than that. There’s a divide, first of all, between the original neoliberals (like Michael Kinsley and Mickey Kaus) and the new branch of neoliberalism (like Thom Friedman and Peter Beinart) regarding foreign policy. The older set mostly rejected the Iraq war, and interventionism more broadly; the newer branch famously supported the war and an aggressive foreign policy, and indeed called for purges within liberalism of anti-war types. See, again, Peter Beinart.

            More importantly, the neoliberal mindset was and is one that is contemptuous of traditional liberals and leftists even while agreeing with us on many key issues. The fundamental difference between conservative reformers, like the neocons, and the neoliberals, is that the neocons (et. al) say, “we are the real conservatives.” In other words, being conservative is something to be proud of, and the future of conservatism is something to fight for. Neoliberals, meanwhile, thrive on contempt for liberalism and actively denigrate anyone to their left.

            That’s what I see a lot from the media, a tacit acceptance of liberal ideas on social and cultural issues, a deep distaste for non-interventionism, and an immense disrespect for anyone they consider to their left– which is partially a reaction to the old “liberal media” line in the first place.Report

            • Avatar North says:

              Oh that’s really interesting. Thank you for the clarification. Interventionism doesn’t appeal much to me.

              The media contempt part is very interesting. Do you think the further left play any part in it? Was there any overreach or something or does the whole communist endeavor count as a kind of far left overreach? Heavens knows that the media loves to make fun of hippies. Is that because of their bias though or because the further left is objectively kind of goofy (or at least amazingly naive/earnest?)? I’m not asserting these things per say, just thinking aloud.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew says:

              Wow, that’s an excellent summary, at least of neoliberalism in the press sector, kudos. Have you been reading Kaus on health care?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I’ve had it explained that there are two sides to the bias of the media.

      The media folk are all social liberals (if not libertine). Gay marriage, abortion, health care… all of these things make for great *STORIES*. “I sat down across the table from two people who had been married for the last 40 years. They bickered like any old married couple with one major difference: Utah refuses to recognize them.” You know, you can really get the personal angle and get to know someone anecdotally and get others to know them. This would make anyone say “I like this person and they deserve better.”

      On the other side, however, there are corporations that pay for ads that pay their salaries… and it’s just bad business to poke your thumb in the eye of your biggest customers. You don’t want to say something that would get them to boycott you, after all. So why not soften this article? Why not put this article from above the fold to page 23? Why not give a “two sides to every story” on the downsides of cheap CFLs? GE recently bought a full-page ad, after all…

      In addition to that, there is the whole issue of “access”. Let’s say you want to talk to John Cooper, the Barrel Czar, and discuss the recent barrel scandal. Well, John will sit down with you the first time and you have to toss him a handful of softballs to get his guard down… and hit him with a tough question. And then he says “if you don’t rephrase that question, this interview is over and I will forget to tell Phil Smith, the iron czar (and a close personal friend of mine), that you are a good reporter, one worth sitting down with and talking to.”

      Are you going to rephrase? Phil Smith would be one hell of an interview prospect… Everybody would read that interview. They might even put it over two days…

      Well, the reporter rephrases the question. And softens the story. And goes on to write a story talking about how gay marriage would really be a nice thing for these two old guys who have been together for 40 years.

      And the theocons can scream about liberal bias, and the hippies can scream about corporate bias, and both sides cannot believe that anyone could possibly think that the media could be anything but a pawn of the other side.

      See “The Insider”, a 1999 movie, for a story about a notable example of this *NOT* happening.Report

      • Avatar Louis B. says:

        I guess this shows the pitfalls of seeing life as a battle between Us and Them.Report

      • Avatar Freddie says:

        Yeah. The social bias isn’t an active, “Let’s praise abortion and gay sex” kind of bias. It’s a, “This is the culture I know and I presume it’s the culture that we live in.”Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Well… every time I’d say that the bias isn’t active, something like the “white people with guns!” thing happens at MSNBC.

          I think that there are players who see their jobs as analagous to preachers. This makes it a lot tougher for the players who see their jobs as analagous to journalists.Report

      • Only one thing to add – the “access” issue also plays an important element in terms of coverage of government. This means that there’s going to be a certain amount of pro-President, pro-Congressman X bias inherent in the system that marginalizes the President’s opponents and the opponents of Congressman X.Report

      • Avatar Ryan says:

        Point of order: John Cooper is not the Barrel Czar. He is the worst coach in the history of Ohio State football.Report

    • Avatar Bob says:

      “In the United States, neoliberalism can also refer to a political movement in which members of the American left and right endorse free market positions, such as free market economics, globalized free-trade and welfare reform”

      North, not to be too bitchy, but what does the above really define? I mean, it’s just crap without some fleshing out. What does “welfare reform” mean?

      I *agree* Freddie should define “neoliberal” with regard to the media. With regard to the MSM, oh, David Broder for example to use Freddie’s example, perhaps whore might work.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        No bitchyness inferred Bob, I’ll do my best to not be offended. I wasn’t going to copy/paste the entire wikipedia article so I clipped out what looked like the most succinct summary I could find.

        Insofar as neoliberal means socially liberal but fiscally conservative that sounds damn good to me. The foreign policy element gives me pause, the ol Wiki didn’t say much about neoliberalism’s foreign policy views. I don’t know if that’s because the article is biased or because the foreign policy element as Freddie describes it is more of a recent politics thing and isn’t inherent to the neoliberalism cause in general. I’m more of a to hell with em dove than anything else.Report

        • Avatar Freddie says:

          I don’t think the edge of contemptuousness is inherent to neoliberalism, and I’d love to see it go. One thing that is deeply entrenched within the neoliberal culture (or whatever) is the idea that being too far to the left is more dangerous in a liberal than being too far to the right. Whereas with internal conservative battles the tendency is to try to be seen as the farthest to the right. I think this unbalances our politics.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            Do you mean dangerous as in objectively dangerous? As in there is more to fear from the extreme left in power than the far right in power. Or do you mean dangerous as in politically dangerous as in people with far leftward tendencies are not taken seriously in politics/society in general versus people who lean hard right being tolerated more by the electorate?Report

            • Avatar James says:

              Travel “too far” left & you hit socialism. As it happens socialism works a lot better than neo-liberalism, but for some reason there’s squeamishness over it. Thus there’s indisputably somebody to the left of liberals who they (largely) don’t want to be. Yglesias & his ilk excepted, sort of. The right, meanwhile, have seemingly convinced themselves that fascists were left-wing (which is surely a pronouncement which would have surprised the historical fascists, who deemed themselves fierce enemies of all on the left) so they can travel as far as they want, becoming more & more “conservative”. Amusingly this is a term Chomsky has used to describe himself, which I actually think is pretty fair.Report

  3. Avatar ChrisWWW says:

    When I’ve heard of neoliberalism, it’s mostly been in reference to our foreign policy in South America. Think about how we force countries through World Bank loans to dismantle their safety nets and pave the way for our multinationals to take hold.Report

  4. Avatar William Brafford says:

    I find the phrase “business progressive” to be pretty useful in pinning down certain kinds of media bias.Report

      • Avatar William Brafford says:

        Committed to the parts of the progressive agenda that are generally compatible with business interests. It’s a term that Rob Christensen used to describe the mainstream of North Carolina’s state politics in the twentieth century; he may have gotten it from somewhere else. In North Carolina in the fifties and sixties, speaking broadly, business progressivism meant supporting integration and public education while never pushing very hard for unions or other things that the business community doesn’t want.

        So when conservatives accuse the media of having a liberal bias, they don’t usually bother to distinguish between business progressivism and positions further to the left.

        Freddie’s point, I think, is that the neoliberals may have some kind of media dominance relative to conservatives, but they tend to attack those to the left in the process, so the media definitely can’t be said to have a far-left bias.

        I don’t know if “business progressive” is one-to-one with “neoliberal,” but I think the point holds true with either term.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          Cynic that I am, I don’t think it’s practically possible for any media run by human beings to avoid bias. If the media is going to have bias I rather like the idea that it’s neoliberal/business-progressive. That way the media or goring both the left and the rights’ oxen in the most useful places (in my humble opinion). They’re stabbing the right in their tendency to be puritanically controlling and restrictive on individual freedoms and they’re gouging liberals in their tendency towards googoo government running amok.Report

        • Avatar Bob says:

          Thanks. I googled the term and found nothing.Report