Chuck Todd: Media Bias? We Fixed It! There’s Less Bias Than The ’50s!

Posted on Mon 12/31/2018 by

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By Tim Graham ~

A few days ago, we explored how NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd insisted in an interview with Jamie Weinstein at National Review that the difference between his networks (NBC/MSNBC) and Fox is his “always operate in a fact-based environment.” 

There was another jaw-dropping moment in the interview, where Todd began with his usual patter about liberal bias being the cultural divide between large urban areas and broad rural expanses, whether it’s patriotism or religion or guns. But then…it got weird. He tried to say the cultural gap has been closed….by the press? And that bias is much less than it was in the Fifties and Sixties!

CHUCK TODD: I do think it is simply the cultural difference of people that live in New York City versus people that don’t live in New York City — that was the cultural divide that [Fox boss Roger] Ailes exploited and expanded it beyond –

JAMIE WEINSTEIN: You say exploited…but isn’t that a hole in the national media?

TODD: But it’s a political tactic! Sure, it’s a hole. But I would argue we filled it a long time ago. I think we’re better about it today than we were thirty years ago. I think that the irony is there was more press bias in the Fifties and Sixties than there is today. Okay? Just look at the Kennedy administration and its interactions with the press corps. Nothing like anything you’ve ever seen in modern times. So I think the perception vs. the reality is what’s warped here. But there was a cultural divide that is real.

How on Earth can Todd say this? Do we think that the Kennedy administration’s coverage on television was worse than 90 percent negative? Or better than 90 percent positive? In our popular imagination, the press employed a much less opinionated tone, even if the Murrows and Cronkites still signaled a liberal worldview.

And how did the networks “fix” the cultural gap? Have they covered kneeling at NFL games with balance and fairness? Are they allowing both sides to speak on the LGBT issues? Are they fair and balanced on covering the concerns of religious Americans? We can easily demonstrate the TV networks are dramatically one-sided in the gun-rights debate. The culture is far more tilted to the Left now than it was 50 years ago. The “center” is more to the left now, too. But there is no serious attempt to allow two sides to debate without a lot of favoritism.

Later, Todd took another swing at Roger Ailes: “I always joke no two men understood television better than Roger Ailes and [his old boss at Hotline, moderate Republican] Doug Bailey. Roger Ailes always viewed television as a tool for exploitation, and Doug Bailey always viewed television as a tool for explanation…. I hold him [Ailes] responsible for the state of the current news media, more than any other individual.”

Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters. He is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.

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