Opinion: The Myth of Liberal Bias
By Susan Olsen, Mike Pretl Fellow
From time to time, readers complain that Our Maryland is “too partisan” or that we have a “liberal bias.” Perhaps to those who live on a steady diet of FOX news and become accustomed to Trump’s lies (after all, how many times a day can one fact check?), perhaps the truth does sound fanciful.
Of course, “liberal bias” is just another term put out there by conservatives. The truth is, far-right conservatives have been working stealthily to control the media since the early 1970s. If you saw the movie “Vice,” you may have taken note of the “focus groups” frequently used by the right to determine linguistic framing for their policies. In the movie, “global warming,” a “scary” term, is substituted with “climate change,” less threatening verbiage. Climate change does not connote the urgency of our environmental situation.
Similarly, we have “tax and spend Democrats” although the Democratic party is responsible for balancing the budget in recent memory (Clinton). Eight years later, Republican George W. Bush had led us into a great recession. President Obama whipped the economy back into shape only to have Trump take credit for it. Now economists are extremely worried. I believe Trump could ruin our economy within the next year.
Other examples of right-wing doublespeak include “pro-life.” These anti-abortion crusaders are only pro-birth. Their agenda is against gun safety legislation, SNAP, CHIP, universal pre-K, and any other means of caring for children born into less fortunate circumstances. Furthermore, they totally ignore the large number of desperate women who would die from unmonitored, illegal abortions or high-risk pregnancies. Forced childbirth has casualties.
How about anti-union states and companies calling themselves “right to work?” Or calling estate taxes for those who inherit more than five million dollars “death taxes”? By framing the issue in these terms, people think these taxes apply to everyone when they only affect the ultra-wealthy. In fact, Republicans are trying to repeal those very same estate taxes right now in 2019 while at the same time voting not to pay furloughed employees who were prevented from working during the recent government shutdown.
Those on the right tend to view paying taxes as an unconscionable burden. George W. started his presidency by stating that“Taxation is an affliction.” Since then we have gotten used to the terms “tax burden” and “tax relief,” etc. The Democrats are guilty of this as well. Appropriate taxes are an investment. Aren’t you glad that our parents paid taxes so that we can have roads, schools, and garbage pick-up today?
Remember how conservatives frightened the public about the Affordable Care Act by saying there would be “death panels” to make end-of-life decisions for patients? Well, that was a lie. They continued to curdle the blood of voters when they reiterated their warning about excessive waiting to see a doctor. Hello! Has anyone not had to wait to see a specialist in the U.S.? Unless it is an emergency, patients routinely wait for surgery dates.
Of course, do not get me started on FOX news. This cable news station is so biased in favor of conservatives that it is now being called “Trump TV” by some journalists.
Other ways far-right bias manifests itself in our national media is the withholding of information; for example, as soon as Trump took office, global warming information was deleted from the White House website. A few months later, on the day of the Climate March in DC, all climate change information was withdrawn from the EPA website as well.
Providing information which challenges what is quickly becoming the status quo in Trump’s America is a service of which Our Maryland can be proud. I am beginning to believe “liberal bias” has become synonymous with well-researched, unadulterated truth.
The views expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of Our Maryland or Our Maryland Education Fund