Lara Logan is a world-famous journalist unafraid to venture into hot war zones. She nearly died during the “Arab Spring” in Cairo when a mob of Muslim men sexually assaulted her.
Logan is making headlines again, but for a different reason. In an interview with the Mike Drop podcast, she asserts that the American media is absurdly left wing and supportive of Democrats. She calls it a “disaster for this country,” adding that she is likely committing “professional suicide” by giving the interview.
Logan left CBS News a few months ago and apparently decided to open up. If anyone is qualified to discuss media bias, then it is a veteran of this established television network.
Historically, legacy American media like CBS has argued that its reporting is objective. Thus, while journalists might be overwhelmingly liberal in their personal opinions, they can still suppress that bias in their news stories. Lara Logan says that this is no longer the case:
Although the media has historically always been left-leaning, we’ve abandoned our pretense – or at least the effort – to be objective, today. We’ve become political activists, some could argue propagandists.
Logan concedes that news outlets like Breitbart and Fox offer a different viewpoint, but they are heavily outnumbered:
There’s one Fox, and there’s many, many, many more organizations on the left. … The problem is the weight of all these organizations on one side of the political spectrum. When you turn on your computer, or you walk past the TV, or you see a newspaper headline in the grocery store If [sic] they’re all saying the same thing, the weight of that convinces you that it’s true. You don’t question it, because everyone is saying it. Unless you seek out Breitbart on your computer, you’re probably not even going to know what the other side is saying.
The charge of Left-wing media bias is anything but new. Richard Nixon made a career out of attacking it. Logan’s long tenure at CBS, however, makes her remarks both timely and credible. She confirms what most ordinary Americans have suspected: since the election of Donald Trump, the mainstream media have dropped the mask of objectivity.
At the same time, we need to keep this charge in perspective. In the 1970s, 27-29 million viewers watched the CBS Evening News each night. In January of 2019, the evening news programs for ABC, NBC, and CBS just cracked 25 million. Of this group, the number of viewers aged 25-54 barely reached five million. Newspapers, both national and local, have experienced dramatic drops in readership in the past decade. These media outlets may be overwhelmingly liberal. But far fewer people are getting their news from them.
More and more Americans are choosing to watch television news that reflects their biases. If you want a Conservative voice, watch Fox. If you want an undiluted Liberal viewpoint, tune into MSNBC. The internet has allowed Right and Left-leaning news and opinion sites to pop up without the backing or approval of the legacy media. The Daily Caller, Breitbart, Huffington Post, and The Daily Beast are examples of internet media outlets which have flourished.
One of my millennial colleagues says that his generation does not watch television. They get their news from YouTube, podcasts, and Facebook. In this regard, the millennial habits represent the future of the news consumption of the rest of the nation.
And this is where the danger lies. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have all used political criteria to censure their content. It is an open secret that Left-wing activists aim to de-platform Conservative websites. Compared to that, Left-wing bias at CBS is a minor problem.
As far as Lara Logan’s future goes, she has probably not committed “professional suicide.” She is an experienced, talented, and tough journalist with a compelling biography. If she is worried about finding work, then she can ask her former CBS colleague Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson resigned in 2014 charging CBS with bias. Since then she has done very well writing for Conservative media.
[Image Credit: Chris Corbin,US Air Force]