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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

At Least They Have a Diversity of Opinions

Vivian Schiller, the now-former president of National Public Radio (the American equivalent of YLE, although much more insignificant), resigned after her colleague was caught saying (among other things) this:

"Liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives,"

Conservatives are probably going to take the thing about not being as well educated as liberals as a compliment, as they should. It's the anti-intellectualism of American conservatives, and conservatism in general, that makes conservatism pragmatic. This is in sharp contrast to the liberal idealists now occupying the White House who are more prone to idealist, theoretical considerations that end up ballooning the federal deficit for the sake of an ideology.

The claim about liberals being more fair & balanced than conservatives is pretty funny, especially considering how this news wasn't even considered main headline-worthy on CNN while Fox News thought otherwise. This is nothing new. For example, both the despicable union demonstrations in Wisconsin and the Planned Parenthood case have hardly been mentioned by Fox's competitors. A Fox News host today noted that if the Tea Party were involved in some demonstration in a manner similar to the Wisconsin unions, CNN would be all over it. (A similar point is often raised by the lovely Megyn Kelly, who's always quick to note that a given news story was first broken by Fox.)

So why is this particular news headline-worthy? Because NPR enjoys privileges that other channels don't. The medium has lately been dominated by conservatives while Democrats have been wanting to level the playing field via legislation. Fox News, a champion of individual liberty (at least in the relative sense), is of course anxious to report scandals involving pro-government forces especially if Fox is worried that it could one day be competing with powerful state-controlled media outlets. We could use some of Fox's spirit here in Finland where the state-controlled YLE dominates and hardly anyone has any problems with it (except for the licence fee). This isn't exactly a wonder in a country where party differences are marginal and consensus dominates. The very fact that Finns (this applies to other Europeans as well) consider Fox News a problem while not noticing the obvious bias of our state-controlled broadcaster pretty much shows how YLE is a problem.

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