(Consortium News) — In the wake of last week’s CNBC-sponsored Republican presidential debate – and its alleged “gotcha questions” – the GOP and the Right are reviving their treasured myth of the “liberal media,” a claim that has been politically significant but almost entirely fictitious. There is not now nor really was there ever a “liberal media.”
Generations back, Americans understood that the major newspapers were owned by very rich men and generally represented their class interests. The wealthy owners would deploy their media properties to advance their mostly conservative – and pro-business/anti-labor – viewpoints.
There were always exceptions to this rule, but few Americans in the 1940s, for instance, would have considered the press “liberal,” with President Franklin Roosevelt garnering less than a quarter of newspaper endorsements in his last two races and President Harry Truman getting only about 15 percent in 1948.
The modern myth of the “liberal press” originated in the 1950s when many reporters in the national news media displayed sympathy for the idea that African-Americans deserved equal rights with white people.