It is really getting old to hear liberal politicians and pundits complaining about conservative media as being destructive, as if the country would be better off returning to the halcyon days of the monolithic liberal media.
That seems to be the view of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who complained about "the right-wing control of the American media, particularly starting with Fox News." During a discussion on HuffPost Live, Kennedy said, "Ninety-five percent of talk radio in our country is right-wing ... so a whole section of our country that's what they're hearing."
"Twenty-two percent of Americans," continued Kennedy, "say their primary news source is Fox News. It's divided our country in a way that we haven't been divided probably since the Civil War, and it's empowered these large corporations to get certain kinds of politicians and ideologues who are in the United States Congress elected -- the tea party ideologues who control the Republican Party."
Admittedly, many conservatives complain about the liberal media, but that's because they hold themselves out as unbiased journalists when their reporting is flagrantly slanted in favor of Democrats.
Their bias is obvious in their selection of news stories, in their presentation of those stories, and in the contrasting treatment they accord politicians and policies of the respective political parties.
Conservative radio talkers generally don't hold themselves out as unbiased journalists but as commentators, and they have every right to voice their opinions.
Fox News portrays itself as "fair and balanced," and while many of its hosts are conservative, a fair number are liberal, and even on their commentary shows, they almost always have liberal representatives present the left's position on issues they're debating. Often, this is not the case with liberal networks.
But Kennedy's worst error isn't in painting conservative talk radio and Fox News as unfairly biased while ignoring their far guiltier counterparts on the left. It's in scapegoating conservative media for the divisiveness in this nation.
The nation is divided because half the country subscribes to one worldview and the other half to an opposite one. Perhaps it seems more divided than it used to because the liberal media no longer have a monopoly and the emergence of a robust alternative media has given conservatives a consistent public voice. It's understandable that after enjoying decades of free rein, liberals are frustrated at having their views challenged daily on the public airways, but it's healthy for the republic that leftist politicians are now scrutinized, as well.