September 9th, 2009 at 08:18am
The Culture and Media Institute has a very interesting piece on the liberal bias of the big three TV networks in the US, and how they appear to be deliberately avoiding interviews with conservative authors unless the author can be easily antagonised.
There are plenty of examples of such bias in the book, but the one which I find most stunning (but least surprising) is the complete lack of coverage for Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.
But no matter how commercially successful conservative books and authors have been, they were slighted by the three broadcast networks. The most glaring evidence of bias against conservative books was the networks’ complete neglect of the single most successful book on the list, radio host Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.” Levin’s book spent 12 weeks at No.1, and as of this writing had yet to fall out of the top 10.
Reaching No. 1 on the Nonfiction Hardcover List is a notable achievement. To maintain that spot for more than a single week is truly impressive.
Two liberal authors reached the No.1 spot on the List in 2009. Elizabeth Edwards’ “Resilience” was No.1 for just one week and Thomas Friedman’s “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” held that spot for two weeks.
They received media coverage befitting No.1 best-sellers, garnering nine instances of coverage on the networks between the two.
But there was another book that hit No.1. In fact, it held the No.1 spot for 12 of 18 weeks, and has yet to fall under the No. 4 spot. (Also, at this writing, it ranked No. 24 on Amazon.com, and has enjoyed 186 days in Amazon’s Top 100.)
That book, “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto,” by conservative political commentator and nationally syndicated radio-host Mark Levin, was by far the most successful book on the list – nothing even came close.
What makes the success of Levin’s book more impressive is its subject. It’s a work of political philosophy, a serious, scholarly exploration of conservative first principles. As CNSNews.com recently reported, “‘Liberty and Tyranny’ draws on thinking, and points to the influence, of the 17th century English philosopher John Locke, the 18th century Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith, and the 18th century Irish-English statesman and writer Edmund Burke.”
And as Levin himself wrote on the first page of “Liberty and Tyranny,” “… what follows are my own opinions and conclusions of fundamental truths, based on decades of observation, exploration, and experience, about conservatism and, conversely, non-conservatism – that is, liberty and tyranny in modern America.”
So “Liberty and Tyranny” is an improbable best-seller. And that makes it all the more newsworthy.
Yet Levin’s book received zero coverage from any of the networks since its release on March 29. Nor did his name appear on any of the news programs since the release.
Contrast that with Edwards’ and Friedman’s nine instances of coverage for books that spent one and two weeks respectively at the top of the list. Equivalent coverage for Levin would require 36 mentions on the networks.
And the media blackout of “Liberty and Tyranny” extended beyond the networks and has been nearly complete.
Levin confirmed to CMI that “we have not heard from any of the major networks, and the only major newspaper that has interviewed me is Philadelphia Enquirer, and that’s because I’m from Philadelphia.”
The lack of mainstream media attention made “Liberty and Tyranny’s” success the more stunning. “The book is selling by word of mouth,” Levin said. “I’ve done very little media, and its chugging along.”
And the author, whose radio show just celebrated its sixth anniversary, said he wasn’t “stressed about” being ignored. “I don’t need Matt Lauer’s imprimatur to believe what I believe and to speak to my audience,” Levin told CMI.
But he did have thoughts about why Lauer and the networks withheld coverage.
“Maybe the book’s too darned complicated for these people,” Levin said. “It’s not your typical book – not even your typical conservative book, with a laundry list of what’s wrong. It’s a deeper look at the roots of conservatism, of our God-given liberties, of society and civil order and at why conservatism is humane. It’s also a look at the roots of statism and why it’s a threat.”
The morning shows, which Levin said have their talking points and hosts with a clear political bias may have other conservatives on. But they do so if they believe they can marginalize those guests. “But in my case, I think they fear I would marginalize them. They fear me, they fear the message of the book.”
It’s a quite extraordinary analysis of the way liberal and conservative authors are treated by the so-called mainstream media. It’s well worth a read when you have a spare ten or fifteen minutes.
Entry Filed under: TV/Radio/Media