Rise of the Underminers
We live in an era where favorable media coverage is often no favor.
So I’ve been trying to figure out something about myself. For most of my professional life I wrote regularly about media bias. I had stints at the old American Enterprise magazine and at Brill’s Content as a regular conservative media critic. And that doesn’t even include the countless—hundreds? thousands?—columns, magazine articles, speeches, and blog posts I wrote on liberal media bias. Some of the most popular things I’ve ever written were on the topic.
And yet, I find myself increasingly exasperated with the whole thing. So, after a week with no food and little water in a sweat lodge in the Canadian Rockies, as disoriented from dehydration and malnutrition as I was high from the peyote and toad venom, I realized what the cause was, at least in part. The stakes have gotten lower. The “liberal media”—as oversimplified as that term has always been—once had enormous power to drive politics and culture. Yeah, yeah, it still has power. But it doesn’t have monopoly power.
More to the point, the now much smaller, and less powerful, liberal media’s distortions, excesses, and groupthink often hurt Democrats and the left while Republicans often benefit from unfair coverage. Right-wingers can raise money off of unfair attacks. Right-wing outlets eager to hype the “media’s war” on this and the latest “fake news” about that get massive amounts of free content.