Scarborough’s misconceptions about liberals in the media

Scarborough-liberals-anchors-aDaily Kos called Joe Scarborough the “resident Republican blowhard on MSNBC.” Daily Kos and many other on the left-leaning outlets have taken Scarborough to task. Really. All Scarborough did was to assert that almost every mainstream news anchor or Sunday morning interview show is liberal. He cited a number: David Brinkley, Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Tim Russert, and George Stephanopoulos. What he didn’t say was what kind of liberal they might be.

Think about those names: Brinkley, Brokaw, Cronkite, Rather, Russert, Stephanopoulos. Do any of them seem like flaming liberals? Hardly. Cronkite was frequently called “the most trusted man in America.” He was seen as fair and balanced before that term became so tarnished. What is it about the others that Scarborough sees as being so liberal? If he contends that they voted Democratic, he’s probably right, although we’ll never know. But for him to contend that they’re liberal because they might have voted Democrat is a bit of a stretch. These are all mainstream guys who may have voted Democratic because Republicans offered such poor choices. They may have been viewed as liberal because they had a certain element of inquisitiveness and curiosity. They were open to new information, something that is often not found in Republicans. It’s difficult to know how Scarborough himself can take in new information when he so frequently drowns out others by interrupting.

Scarborough, who once served as a Republican in Congress, overlooks a key reason why the aforementioned, as well as so many other mainstream journalists, are not liberal. It is because they present much of what is called news through the lens of false equivalencies. They report points of view that have little or no factual basis as being on a level with those that are solidly grounded.

A current example would be disagreement over what the hazards might be of increasing the size of the federal budget. For decades, Republicans have argued that deficit spending would lead to increased inflation. They argue that inflation is like a regressive tax on consumers. The problem is that, over the past ten years, the highest annual inflation rate we have had was 4.1 percent, as George W. Bush continued to drive us into two questionable wars while refusing to raise taxes. Under President Obama, inflation has risen to 3.0 percent only once (2011), and in 2014 was 0.8 percent. Statistically, our inflation is now zero.

Liberals favor programs that strengthen the federal safety net for all. The programs range from Social Security and Medicare to occupational safety and environmental protection. They also include huge infrastructure programs, the kind that produce jobs that cannot be outsourced overseas. They are clearly good for the economy. If the cost of a new and larger stimulus project is Bush-like inflation of 4 percent, it is a small price for providing so many well-paying jobs for Americans and producing a finished product that is of far more value to all of us than an engagement in war.

Yet the media prefers to present Republican arguments against increased spending on a par with progressive ideas to provide more security and jobs. The media also equates Republican arguments that reducing federal regulations (e.g. safety and health requirements) will create as many or more jobs than progressive ideas to have the federal government as “employer of the last resort.”

Cronkite, Brokaw, not even Rather ever reported liberal ideas as being more fact-based and reasonable than most conservative arguments. So I take issue with the contention that Joe Scarborough was criticizing real liberals. I also question the accuracy of the Daily Kos headline, “MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough Has On-Air Mental Breakdown Over Liberal Media Myth.” See for yourself:

  • Bill Miller

    Of course they vote Democratic. Republicans nominate people like Joe Scarborough.