Over at CBS news’ “Public Eye” blog , Vaughn Ververs (what a great name!) has produced an argument so remarkably bad I just have to comment on it, even though I normally avoid blogging about partisan politics. Responding to a Media Matters study which showed, statistically, that Sunday network news panels are consistently tilted to the right (i.e., right-wing guests outnumber left-wing guests), Ververs writes:
But the question isn’t just “did it help the country’s move to the right,” but “was it balanced?”
Yes, the GOP would have preferred that the Tom DeLay story had never existed at all. But since the story did exist, CBS’s decision to use a panel consisting exclusively of GOP spinners was exactly how the GOP wanted the story covered. Meanwhile, Democrats – who obviously would have preferred to be able to comment – were not allowed to speak at all. How can Ververs consider that balanced?
By Ververs’ standards, it would be impossible for CBS to ever be unbalanced – even if 100% of their guests were GOP loyalists, as long as they were asked uncomfortable questions some of the time that would be balanced.
It’s a sign of how completely the media’s pro-Republican bias has been absorbed, that a CBS spokesman sees nothing unbalanced about a panel discussion consisting of nothing but Republicans. (Had liberals been given an equal chance to speak, would CBS News consider that anti-GOP bias?)
In a brief aside at the end of his post, Ververs agrees with Media Matters that progressive and “true liberal” viewpoints are now considered too “fringe” to appear on network TV – but he doesn’t seem to consider this admitted lack of balance as an important problem. Why would he? For mainstream TV news, a pro-conservative bias is considered balanced.