There is an element of truth in what Nation magazine columnist Eric Alterman writes in WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA? about the conservative nature of corporate mainstream media. It is hyper capitalistic commercialism that satisfies the bottom line. In turn, corporate Godfathers allow the news media to spread their political propaganda -- mostly from the left, some from the right -- as long as it doesn't cut into profits or too deeply into the corporate culture. However, to say that the media isn't liberal is an insult to people's intelligence. The vast majority of journalists are Democrats, and they come from university schools of socialist journalism. The corporate culture knows that, but they keep it from getting out of hand by making highly paid media stars out of the few of them that people see and hear most frequently on television, or read in the print media. Watching and listening to Alterman promote his book on C-Span Book TV leaves no doubt where he is coming from. Persuasively from the far left, with fiery rhetoric, not so different from what he condemns in his book, SOUND AND FURY: The Making of the Punditocracy. He even takes credit for the conversion of Arianna Huffington.

The Truth About Bias and the News
Author: Eric Alterman
Publisher: Basic Books
February 2003

According to Bernard Goldberg, Bill O'Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh, liberals control the media. In fact, that claim has been a popular standard for conservative thinkers and politicians for decades. In What Liberal Media? media columnist Eric Alterman takes the war into the enemy's camp, pursuing an aggressive investigation into the intrinsically conservative nature of the U.S. news. Naming names and lobby groups, he profiles the real newsmakers behind and beyond the cameras.

>From the Publisher

Is media bias keeping us from getting the whole story? If so, who is at fault? Is it the Liberals who are purported to be running the newsrooms, television and radio stations of this country, duping an unsuspecting public into mistaking their party line for news? Or is it the conservatives who have identified media bias as a rallying cry around which to consolidate their political base? The media has become so large and pervasive in our lives that regardless of exactly where on the ideological fence you sit, the question of media bias has become all-but unavoidable.

What Liberal Media? confronts the question of liberal bias and provides a sharp and utterly convincing assessment of the realities of political bias in the news. In distinct contrast to the conclusions reached by Ann Coulter, Bernard Goldberg, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'reilly, Alterman finds the media to be far more conservative than liberal. The fact that conservatives howl so much louder and more effectively than liberals is one big reason that big media is always on its guard for "liberal" bias but gives conservative bias a free press.

After listening to What Liberal Media? you will understand that the real news story of recent years is not whether this newspaper, or that news anchor, is biased but rather to what extent the entire news industry is organized to communicate conservative views and push our politics to the right--regardless of how "liberal" any given reporter may be in "real life".


Right-wing politicians and commentators have been complaining about the "liberal media" so loudly that many have taken the construction to be a truism. Journalist Alterman argues that most of them don't even truly believe their own assertion and asserts that in fact the media really displays a conservative bias. He describes the "punditocracy" as unabashedly right wing (think Bill O'Reilly) and examines the very different media treatments given to Al Gore versus George W. Bush. He also details examples of social and economic bias that turn up so often in the media.

Alterman's other books:

SOUND AND FURY: The Making of the Punditocracy
Author: Eric Alterman
Publisher: Cornell Press IL
January 2000

Library Journal

This is a revised and expanded version of a 1993 book in which Nation columnist Alterman lamented the decline of political discourse in America and blamed its sorry state on the rise of political pundits--those talking heads and self-proclaimed experts who appear on television so frequently. We now live in a Punditocracy, Alterman wrote; our very democracy is "imperiled by the decrepit state of our national public discourse." This edition has been revised to reflect the changes in that discourse over the past six years--especially the Clinton era explosion of punditry and the rise of cable television wonks. Alterman still tends toward hyperbole and overstatement, but he nonetheless astutely points a finger at the superficial, vitriolic state of American political discussion and seeks to revive enlightened discussion in public discourse. Recommended for public and academic libraries.

Why Democracy Matters in Foreign Policy
Author: Eric Alterman
Publisher: Cornell University Press
October 1998

>From the Publisher

Journalist and historian Eric Alterman argues that the vast majority of Americans have virtually no voice in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. With policymakers answerable only to a small coterie of self-appointed experts, corporate lobbyists, self-interested parties, and the elite media, the U.S. foreign policy operates not as the instrument of a democracy, but of a 'pseudo-democracy': a political system with the trappings of democratic checks and balances but with little of their content. This failure of American democracy is all the more troubling, Alterman charges, now that the Cold War is over and the era of global capital has replaced it. Americans' stake in so-called foreign policy issues from trade to global warming is greater than ever. Yet the current system serves to mute their voices and ignore their concerns. Alterman concludes with a series of challenging proposals for reforms designed to create a truly democratic U.S. foreign policy.