Liberal Bias ‘Accelerating Wedge In Our Society,’ Began With ‘Love Affair’ for Obama

By Brent Baker 

At a forum in California recently aired by C-SPAN, two news media veterans admitted – what all too many of their colleagues still deny – that liberal bias and overt hostility to Donald Trump is hurting the country and threatening to destroy the relevance of journalism.  

“I think a liberal bias is increasingly embedded in the journalism as a result of the Trump experience and it’s accelerating and deepening the wedge in our society between the left and the right,” declared Van Gordon Sauter, president of CBS News for two stints in the 1980s. 

He blamed universities for the lack of an ideological mix in newsrooms: “Our colleges, which are dominated by liberals, liberal professors, are churning out these students who never hear another opinion.”

Sauter, the first president of Fox News, warned that even after Trump leaves office journalists may be too “comfortable with opinionated reportage,” which would “be very detrimental.” He urged editors and producers to address the issue, warning that otherwise conservatives will be “lost” and “we need journalism, which is so clear and conscientious that the left and the right can find a credible place to believe they’re getting the straight story. If you don’t have that, it’s over.”

Dan Abrams, chief legal analyst for an ABC News and owner of Mediaite, echoed Sauter, asserting journalists must acknowledge the problem: “I think that the first thing that would help…is to admit exactly what Van is saying which is that the media and the people in the media are left of center.”

Recognizing what is so obvious but also so often denied, Abrams noted “so many people out there don’t believe us and don’t take what we’re saying seriously because they view us as an arm of the left.” He observed “the beginning of that descent happened with the media’s love affair with Barack Obama in 2008.”

Four noteworthy quotes I culled from the forum, held January 30 at the Rancho Mirage library, and re-run on C-SPAN2 on February 18 (C-SPAN.org video of entire session— https://www.c-span.org/video/?468104-6/author-discussion-president-media):

Van Gordon Sauter:

“I think a liberal biased is increasingly embedded in the journalism as a result of the Trump experience and it’s accelerating and deepening the wedge in our society between the left and the right. My concern is, that when Trump goes away in one or four years, that may not be corrected, that the journalists may be so comfortable with opinionated reportage in pieces and analysis that that just may just become a condition in communications in or society and I think it’s going to be very detrimental.”

Dan Abrams:

“I think that the first thing that would help, from the media perspective, is to admit exactly what Van is saying which is that the media and the people in the media are left of center. How far left are they, that’s a subject for debate. Are they just a little bit to the left, are they the far left? There’s no question in my mind that if you were to poll the mainstream media organization in the people that work at them, there would be more people on the left than on the right, period.”

Van Gordon Sauter:

“Our colleges, which are dominated by liberals, liberal professors, are churning out these students who never hear another opinion unless I’m their grandfather and they cannot get out of my way. And I think the journalistic population which is made up of really well motivated, delightful, articulate, erudite engaging people, they never got the message. We tried at CBS, to the degree that we tried, because the feeling 35 years ago was really just below the surface and you couldn’t go to them and begin to say, ‘hey, I don’t like the tone of your stories.’ And it would provoke, excuse the French, a true s_ _ t storm that no one had the time to cope with.

“And I think at some point the editors, the producers, are going to have to deal with this because if we go in the next year or the next five years with the circumstances we’re in today, the conservatives – and believe me Fox is a very thin sliver of the conservative audience out there – they’re going to be lost. And we need journalism, which is so clear and conscientious that the left and the right can find a credible place to believe they’re getting the straight story. If you don’t have that, it’s over.”

Abrams:

“That’s the thing journalists take most seriously, is being the fact-checkers and the problem is that so many people out there don’t believe us and don’t take what we’re saying seriously because they view us as an arm of the left or as an arm of whatever it is. And, by the way, I think the beginning of that descent happened with the media’s love affair with Barack Obama in 2008, particularly in the campaign, even if you look at the primary with Hillary Clinton, it was this, you know, he was treated differently than any other candidates and when I say the media I don’t mean a particular entity. I mean the whole, and there’s a danger in talking about the media as a whole, but I remember thinking all the time that the media’s love for Barack Obama in the 2008 election I think was part of the reason we’re at the point where we are, particularly with people on the right and in the middle.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters and is reposted with permission.