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The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Sometimes stores have “Going out of business” sales that seem to last for weeks, months, even years. At some point, customers begin to think, “Just close already.” The same process is at work in the mainstream media. Newspaper circulation is down. Papers have shut down this year in Seattle and Denver. The New York Times is threatening to close its sister paper the Boston Globe unless labor unions make major concessions.

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Network news viewership is plunging too. CBS may have thought it could save the evening news by bringing in Katie Couric, but all it really did was waste millions of dollars. The network remains in third place, and the number of people watching any of the evening newscasts continues to slide.

A recent political cartoon by John Branch in the San Antonio Express-News predicts the future but doesn’t go far enough. It shows a lone reporter eating pizza as he listens to Barack Obama at the 2010 White House Correspondents Dinner. “If present trends in the journalism industry continue…” the cartoon warns, open-endedly.

The drawing would be even more accurate if the remaining reporter was wearing an “Obama 2012” pin and openly campaigning for the president’s re-election on the air. After all, the slow decline of the MSM has been largely caused by its liberal bias. This bias was on display as never before during the last presidential election.

Recall that in Feb. 2008, The New York Times ran a front page story claiming that staffers for Sen. John McCain had been “convinced” in 2000 that he was having a “romantic” relationship with a female lobbyist 31 years his junior.

Two days later the newspaper’s public editor kinda-sorta apologized. “If McCain had been having an affair with a lobbyist seeking his help on public policy issues, and The Times had proved it, it would have been a story of unquestionable importance,” Clark Hoyt wrote. Well, yes. And if the moon was about to snap out of orbit and fly away, that would be important, too. But it isn’t.

Meanwhile, even as the newspaper of record had four reporters tracking the McCain story, the mainstream media studiously avoided Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the man who served as Barack Obama’s pastor for decades and even inspired the title of his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

Among other controversial quotes, Wright told his congregation that the United States practiced terrorism. “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” he declared the Sunday after September 11.

“God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme,” Wright added two years later. Most Americans no doubt find such words distasteful. Yet neither McCain nor the MSM ever made Wright the campaign issue he should have been.

For more evidence the MSM is out of touch, look at the front page of The Washington Post on June 10. The second paragraph of a story about the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary gets things exactly backward.

“R. Creigh Deeds beat Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe in every region of the state, including vote-rich Northern Virginia, despite a pro-gun stance and relatively conservative positions that are out of line with many of the area’s voters,” the story says. Despite?

Brian Moran positioned himself as a liberal and promised to “fight” for Virginians. As if there isn’t already enough fighting in politics today? He’s the brother of human gaffe-machine U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr., who apparently has a job for life no matter what he says or does. Yet Moran didn’t even win his brother’s ultra-liberal congressional district.

McAuliffe spent some $7.5 million on his failed bid -- roughly $90 per vote. His ads promised to solve the state’s transportation woes with high speed rail -- exactly the sort of program big-spending liberals usually drool over. Yet voters didn’t swallow that either.

Occam’s razor applies here: the simplest explanation is probably correct. Deeds won because of his conservative positions, not in spite of them.

The mainstream media is dying, while alternative outlets on cable TV and the Web are thriving. Columnist Charles Krauthammer recently explained why. “The reason Fox News has thrived and grown is because it offers a vibrant and honest alternative to those who could not abide yet another day of the news delivered to them beneath layer after layer of often undisguised liberalism,” he says. That’s the point.

A liberal party line is about all the MSM still has in stock. Small wonder it’s going out of business and cannot find many buyers, even at bargain basement prices.

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