Tune in on Sunday with Larry Marino

Are The Networks Biased?

Posted October 13, 2016
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This morning, I was pre-recorded for a Sunday radio talk show on AM870 The Answer with Larry Marino.  

This is a 'conservative' radio network (other hosts include Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager and Mark Levin). You see what I mean? Conservative.

The network is, in fact, unabashedly Conservative, and pro Trump with the exception of Hewitt, who has asked Trump to step down. But most of the conversation revolved around the idea that the TV news channels are biased; that they seem more pro-Hillary than pro-Trump and was this a) true and b) fair.

I think to answer to this is yes.. and yes. And I will explain why.

Media has always been biased. And it should be.

One of the greatest inventions of all time was the printing press in 1452. This allowed anyone with an idea, any idea, to publish whatever they wanted.  This was a radical departure from a world in which the 'right to publish' had been held solely by the Church and the Monarchy.  Books were hand made and expensive, and so there were few of them, and those that there were did not depart from the 'party line'.

The invention of the printing press meant that for the first time, anyone was free to publish whatever they wanted.  One of the first people to really take advantage of this was Martin Luther, who in 1517, not only nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Cathedral in Wittenberg, but also printed and published books and pamphlets. Needless to say, his ideas departed rather radically from the 'party line' in the Vatican - and the result was that he overturend an order that had existed in Europe for 1,000 years.

We are used to a wide range of opinions in print. We have lived with print for 500 years.  We understand, accept and even embrace that different newspapers or magazines have different political opinions.  When you buy The New Republic you know are not getting The National Review.

When television was first invented in the 1950s, there were only three networks. That was it. And so, each network, in an effort to maximize its audience (and keep its FCC license) was careful NOT to be too politically biased - to attempt (to coin a phrase) to be 'fair and balanced'.

When cable came along in the 1980s, it took us from 3 networks to 500 channels. Suddenly, there was more room for political bias.  MSNBC was on one side and Fox was on the other. 

The advent of online video streaming now means we are moving from 500 cable channels to a world of millions of channels - exactly what the printing press brought us in print 500 years ago - a wide and open range of opinions.  This is healthy.  This is a true free press.

Are some TV news organizations biased? Why, yes. And why not? They should be.  How incredibly 'oatmeal' (and transparently false) an attemp to be 'objective' would be or is.

And how boring.

You must remember that the News Business is first and foremost a business.  It is not about a 'search for truth', it is about a 'search for ratings'. Bigger ratings mean more money from advertisers. It's as simple as that.

Donald Trump was (and remains) a ratings machine. When he first announced his candidacy he was exciting TV.  (He learned something in his ten years on The Apprentice - he learned how to make great TV).  As a result, he got billions of dollars worth of free TV coverage. For him, it was great ,and it propelled his 'brand' all the way to the GOP nomination over far more 'boring' candidates.

But, live by the media, die by the media.

Today, he is still a ratings machine, but for the wrong reasons (to his mind) - one scandal after the next.  He still drives an audience. He still brings in the ratings.

No one would be tuning in to see Jeb Bush!

Hillary's emails?  As Bernie Sanders so succinctly put it, who cares about her emails. And he is right. It is far too complicated and convoluted to explain, and she is boring TV.  

But Donald Trump groped a woman on a plane?

Now, anyone can understand that.

And tune in for more. 

Trump is still a ratings machine, unfortuantely for him.

Are the networks biased?  You bet they are.

But their only bias is towards making money.  


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