About the time that the Republicans took control of Congress from the
Democrats, authors Murray and Herrnstein published The Bell Curve, a
book discussing how American life was being reshaped by differences in
intelligence (Free Press, 1994). Liberals took these two events, coming
in tandem as they did, as an omen that the world was ending.
Almost five years later, most of those liberal commentators are still
commentating. The things that really could signal the end of the world
— biological terrorism, the prospect of a war against our own
technology with China, and science divorced from morality — seem to
cause them little concern.
I took that opportunity, however, to suggest that the Bell Curve
popularized by the book could be applied to the media worldview — and
might explain their hysteria. The answer to my question, “What lies
after?” seems to have been answered in WorldNetDaily and other media on
the Internet. Here is my explanation for the “great divide” between the
media and the public, expressed nearly five years ago in Conservative
Consensus (Dec. 12, 1994):
In The Bell Curve, authors Murray and Herrnstein use a common
statistical graph to look at how intelligence is distributed in American
society. In so doing, they have not only raised the ire of the left,
they have popularized an important tool.
A bell curve is a picture of the way some particular characteristic is
spread across the entire population. That picture can be intelligence,
wealth, popcorn consumption at the movies — or political views.
Like what they picture, bell curves come in all sizes and shapes. The
“classic” bell curve does indeed look like a bell: large, thick, and
encompassing in the middle; tapering off near the edges. This shape
simply means that most people fall in the middle of what is being
measured. For instance, popcorn
makers might find that large numbers of people eat several bowls of
their fare per week. Participation falls off at the fringes of the
graph. Those on one side of the curve eat popcorn three times per day
and in bed at night, while those on the other side eschew it save on
birthdays and anniversaries. To the popcorn baroness, this is an
important look at how her product is consumed.
As media hysteria about the recent election result has intensified, it
occurred to us that perhaps a media bell curve, drawn along political
lines, could explain some of the otherwise unfathomable hysteria
currently passing for reportage and comment.
The Media Bell Curve depicts the political spectrum, from idealized far
left (communist dictatorship, no individual freedom, all for the good of
the state), to far right (anarchy, no government, everyone for himself).
In its broadest terms, the graph places those who favor more government
to the left of center, those who favor less government to the right.
Thus the more liberal one’s views (i.e. government works to fix things),
the farther left they go. The more conservative (private initiative best
fixes things), the further right.
Based on election results and post-election rhetoric, we have drawn two
bell curves on the chart. The larger one represents the American
public’s views as documented by the 1994 election. The smaller bell
curve positioned to the left represents members of the media, as defined
by their own rhetoric.
What becomes immediately apparent about this approach is that how far to
the left or right you perceive someone else to be really depends upon
your own location in the grand scheme of things. The election validated
that the majority of the American public hold political views mildly to
the left of the original American republic, and mildly to the right of
democratic capitalism. (This latter being where the majority runs
roughshod over the minority at the ballot box and votes themselves ever
increasing benefits, to be paid for by those they outnumber.)
Many of us have spent years of our lives telling members of the media
how far to the left of the general public they have moved. Privately,
these observations were often acknowledged to be true. But there was
always a caveat: Professional judgment enabled the journalist to “step
out” of his liberal worldview and report objectively.
The extreme adjectives applied to Newt Gingrich and the incoming
Republican majority in Congress indicate otherwise. The media bell curve
explains why. Mr. Gingrich is considerably more liberal than most of
America’s Founding Fathers. He is, however, in overall political terms
slightly less liberal than the outgoing Congress.
This small shift to the right has erased any meaningful common ground
that previously existed between the media and the public. Individual
members of each group now live in two separate political worlds. The
only common ground they still share is illusory: meaningless adjectives
like “far left” or “far right,” words that mean quite different things
to those in each group.
The terms socialism and fascism are not used to shock or applied
derogatorily to the media; they are simply a logical outcome of the
policies and views espoused by its members in the bulk of their
commentary and reporting. Equal outcome for all as orchestrated and
guaranteed by the government through income redistribution is a very
workable definition of socialism. So is government control of private
property, whether through endangered species laws, environmental
regulations, or outright seizure. And control over an individual’s life
choices through the mechanism of large, government-regulated
corporations — even down to doctor visits in huge “health alliances,”
is the textbook definition of fascism. Another example is payroll taxes
administered through employers.
Given the media’s tiny political world, anything outside the comfortable
confines of its bell curve is alarming. Its members have acted
accordingly, “sounding the alarm.” Yet it is only they who are alarmed.
Ordinary Americans are relieved, and preparing to go about their
Given this tiny, mid-course voter correction to the right, the mainline
media is now more isolated than they have ever been from those they
attempt to serve. The growth of talk-radio is evidence of their failure
before the shift. What lies after?