Illiberal Conservative Media (ICM) TM

[alternately, Insidious Corporatist Media, U.S.A.]

One Page Summary
Defining Media Bias
How the Liberal Media Myth is Created
Why the Liberal Media Myth Persists
1. Conservatives Let Out The truth
2. Conservative Books and Studies Alleging "Liberal Bias" 
3. Conservative Media Watch Orgs Alleging "Liberal Bias" 
4. Issues and Bias 
5. Pravda, U.S.A. 
Liars, Inc.
Alternative Media

1. Conservatives Occasionally Let Out the Truth about the Illiberal American Media 

This collection of quotes is but a small reflection of the reality in America for decades. However, the case for the illiberal, conservative media does not rest on this. This is just a starter. 


  • William Safire (right-wing columnist)

    "...From his partisan perspective in the early 1970s, Safire wrote that 90 percent of the media was "enlightened", not politically biased...." [Brock, page 28]

  • Pat Buchanan (right-wing columnist and former Presidential candidate)

    "...Buchanan told journalist Martin Schram following the 1972 election, "I think the media was extraordinarily fair and balanced in this election campaign.”..." [Brock, page 28]


1980s (to early 1990s)

  • James Baker (Bush I Secretary of State and Bush II advisor, speaking of media coverage during the Reagan years)
    “There were days and times and events we might have had some complaints [but] on balance I don’t think we had anything to complain about.” [Alterman, page 2]

  • S. Robert Lichter (conservative author of media study "The Media Elite: America's New Powerbrokers" published in 1986)
    "...Conservative columnists all over the place were saying that we proved that there was a liberal bias in the press, which at the time we had not..." [Brock, page 88]

  • Brent Bozell (head of the right-wing “Media Research Center”)

    "…In his lecture to the Heritage Foundation in 1992, Bozell admitted something that seemed to contradict MRC’s public line. The “monopoly” liberals held in the media had been “broken” by the “conservative network.”…“We have learned that many in the media are quite open to the conservative perspective if it is presented properly. We provide journalists with the conservative argument on a given issue, lead them to the organization expert in it, and recommend qualified spokesmen…It is amazing how very receptive some journalists are to this assistance…” [Brock, page 98]



  • Brent Bozell (head of the right-wing “Media Research Center”) 
    “...Since [October 1996] you cannot fault the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, USA Today…. with a media bias in favor of Bill Clinton.” [Brock, page 98]

  • William Kristol (influential Conservative and editor of Weekly Standard) in 1995
     “I admit it…The liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.” [Alterman, page 2]

  • Pat Buchanan (right-wing columnist and former Presidential candidate, talking about the 1996 election campaign)
     “I’ve gotten balanced coverage, and broad coverage – all we could have asked. For heaven sakes, we kid about the ‘liberal media,’ but every Republican on earth does that.” [Alterman, page 2]

    • eRiposte note: This is an important admission considering that for a long time Buchanan was a key part of the Right's disinformation machine alleging "liberal bias" in the media at every opportunity

  • Howard Kurtz (Conservative Washington Post/CNN columnist/"reporter")
    “...But the stereotype--they're liberal, and therefore they work overtime to stick it to Republicans--doesn't hold up. Some journalists clearly liked Clinton during the '92 campaign, but anyone who thinks the Clinton administration got good coverage from the press--remember that Whitewater, Travelgate, illegal fundraising, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Monica Lewinsky and the Marc Rich pardon were all press-driven stories--is seriously misguided. Relations between the Clinton team and the Fourth Estate were incredibly tense in '98 and '99. And Kerry was often depicted by the press as a cold and bumbling candidate, at least until the debates.” ["Mainstream Media, R.I.P." , Washington Post]

  • Ari Fleischer (former Bush White House Press Secretary, writing in his book)
    "Many Republicans, especially conservatives, believe the press are liberals who oppose Republicans and Republican ideas. I think there’s an element of truth to that, but it is complicated, secondary, and often nuanced. More important, the press’s first and most pressing bias is in favor of conflict and fighting … No one can claim with a straight face that the White House press corps were easy on former President Bill Clinton." [Dana Milbank, Washington Post via reader CM]

  • Paul Gigot (Ultra-conservative Wall Street Journal Editor)

    [The Daily Howler] "...[Bob Somerby]: Indeed, even a string of conservative pundits noted the “adoring” coverage Bush got (Paul Gigot, June 1999, Wall Street Journal)..."



  • William Kristol (influential Conservative and editor of Weekly Standard) 
     “The press isn't quite as biased and liberal. They're actually conservative sometimes.” [on CNN, quoted by Eric Alterman]

  • Fred Barnes (Weekly Standard)
    [Quoted in the Daily Howler] "...Gathered in a pack they can be cruel and unfeeling, but not when they're on their own. They're softies, easily schmoozed, ever susceptible to being fooled by appearances...At the moment, the likability award is shared by George W. Bush and John McCain, rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. Bush is fun to be around, gives everyone, including reporters, a nickname, and is something of a wise guy, which gets him in trouble from time to time but appeals to journalists..."

  • Howard Fineman (Conservative MSNBC columnist/talking-head)
    “...Well, the interesting thing, Chris [Matthews], is [Bush’s] not just in control of the political apparatus, he's in control of the press, he's in control of the sort of social atmosphere of the city in a way that I haven't seen in quite some time...” [The Chris Matthews Show, MSNBC, Jan 2002]  

  • Joe Scarborough (former Republican Congressman and MSNBC talk show host)

    "...I think, in the 2000 election, I think [the media] were fairly brutal to Al Gore. I think they hit him hard on a lot of things like inventing the Internet and some of those other things, and I think there was a generalization they bought into that, if they had done that to a Republican candidate, I’d be going on your show saying, you know, that they were being biased..." [Hardball, MSNBC, Nov 2002]

  • Tucker Carlson (conservative commentator on CNN - then)
    "I remember being with someone I know who works at a major metropolitan daily. We were at this little forum in New Hampshire—like eight reporters there, it was one in the morning—Gore says something about his sister received, smoked dope for cancer treatment, and this reporter went after him in the most disrespectful way—it was shocking. I was embarrassed, and I wasn’t a Gore man. And I remember talking to her afterwards, you know, “Boy, you know that was pretty rough, what you did to the vice president,” and she said, “I just don’t like him. He’s a phony.” And that right there said it all to me. A lot of reporters didn’t like him on a personal level. I believe most of them voted for him anyway, but they just didn’t like him and they were mean to him as a result. [Carlson’s emphasis]" [Jan 2004]

  • Paul Craig Roberts (former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury in the Reagan administration)
    “I remember when friends would excitedly telephone to report that Rush Limbaugh or G. Gordon Liddy had just read one of my syndicated columns over the air. That was before I became a critic of the US invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration, and the neoconservative ideologues who have seized control of the US government.
    In the Thanksgiving issue of National Review, editor Richard Lowry and former editor John O’Sullivan celebrate Bush’s reelection triumph over "a hostile press corps." "Try as they might," crowed O’Sullivan, "they couldn’t put Kerry over the top."

    There was a time when I could rant about the "liberal media" with the best of them. But in recent years I have puzzled over the precise location of the "liberal media."

    Not so long ago I would have identified the liberal media as the New York Times and Washington Post, CNN and the three TV networks, and National Public Radio. But both the Times and the Post fell for the Bush administration’s lies about WMD and supported the US invasion of Iraq. On balance CNN, the networks, and NPR have not made an issue of the Bush administration’s changing explanations for the invasion.

    Apparently, Rush Limbaugh and National Review think there is a liberal media because the prison torture scandal could not be suppressed and a cameraman filmed the execution of a wounded Iraqi prisoner by a US Marine...” [What Became of Conservatives?,, Nov 2004]





























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