A Contemporary Fable: The Elephant and the Donkey Are Having a Conversation

I mostly see eye to eye with my wife when it comes to politics, yet recently we had a debate about an often-repeated question: is the media biased towards the left?

Like too many things today, our discussion took place in the shadow of Trump. His defenders are accusing the media of being biased and my wife thinks they might have a point. I think they are wrong, and here is why.

Google defines the word ‘bias’ as: prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

In other words, if the media is prejudiced in favor of the left, they are treating the right (and Trump) unfairly.

In the context of Trump, my first argument against bias in the media is elementary and factually simple to demonstrate. During the election season, Trump received more airtime than any other presidential contender, and by a wide margin. Being controversial and provocative sells, and the TV stations wanted revenue. I read somewhere that he got about fifty times more exposure than Bernie Sanders. But if the networks were truly ideologically biased and leaning left, they would have figured that too much exposure is detrimental to their political beliefs and limited Trump’s appearances.

My other argument (more elusive) is that being left leaning is not a bias, it is staying in touch with the times. There is no question in my mind that the world is moving in a direction that is often characterized or summarized simply by the term “left.” The world is becoming more inclusive, accepting, flexible, and homogeneous. Most developed western nations have progressive social agendas that include health care for all, free college education, livable minimum wages and good vacation policies, pro-choice, separation of state and religion, no death penalty, environmental protection measures, globalism, and gun control. Xenophobia, sexism, and discrimination of any sort, are excluded by policy at governmental levels (what happens at the personal level is a different story). The United States is mostly behind, but there is no denial that it is moving in that same direction.

Now what means being conservative? It means siding mostly with the past, politically and socially. Refute and resist change. Refuse to adopt and adapt. Promote the old militaristic dogmas. We have all heard the following statements repeated again and again: “It’s always been like this and it shouldn’t change.” “The good old days!” “Government should not intervene.” The survival of the fittest.” “Pull yourself up by your boot straps.” “It’s not in the Constitution.” “It is in the Constitution!”

The world is leaning left because that is the direction of progress, and it follows that the educated, intelligent, and creative people (the intellectual “elites”, the media, academia, the young) see it as the direction of the future. Taking the correct path of history doesn’t mean you are biased. It means this is where progress leads.

For me, it is not conservatives and liberals. It is conservatives and progressives. And the progressive media is a reflection of how I think and how I feel about the world and our path forward.

What do you think? Please comment, recommend and share.