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Alternative media in the United Statesmarker usually refers to internet, talk radio, print, and television journalism and opinions which present a point of view that counters the alleged bias of mainstream media. It is rooted in the conservative movement's presumption that the alleged bias is toward liberalism and that modern journalism's goal of "objectivity" is essentially moot.

History

The perception of a liberal-leaning bias in the mainstream media is not a new one. Richard M. Nixon decried it, and Ronald Reagan made it a running joke during his term in office.

As chronicled in David Halberstam's The Powers That Be, the Los Angeles Times, which had fiercely supported Nixon's first run for the United States House of Representatives, declined to support as strongly his run for the Senate, his 1960 presidential campaign, and his 1962 California gubernatorial campaign. The paper's final break with Nixon came during the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. At roughly the same time, Henry Luce's Time began running articles critical of the Nixon administration. Not long after this, then Vice President Spiro Agnew began attacking the media in a series of speeches — two of the most famous of these were written by White House aides Patrick Buchanan and William Safire — as "elitist" and "liberal".

After Nixon's resignation and until the late 1980s, overtly conservative news outlets included the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, the Boston Herald and the Washington Times. Conservative magazines included the National Review and the American Spectator.

Fairness Doctrine

In broadcast media, the FCC policy of the Fairness Doctrine required broadcast licensees to present controversial issues of public importance, and to present such issues in an honest, equal and balanced manner. The Red Lion Case was a key legal precedent in defining the role of the FCC and the enforcement of the Doctrine.

In 1987, the Fairness Doctrine was repealed, eliminating the restriction on broadcasters to provide balance to controversial issues.

Talk Radio

With the increased popularity and superior sound quality of FM Radio, AM stations had long languished behind FM in both popularity and ratings, resulting in underutilization of the band. There had even been discussions in the 1970s and 1980s of abolishing the AM band.

This combination of cheap, underutilized frequencies, the absence of content restrictions, and a perceived under-served conservative audience has led a number of radio programmers and syndicators to produce and broadcast conservative talk shows. The most successful of these is Rush Limbaugh. Others include Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. These talk shows draw large audiences, have reinvigorated the AM band, and arguably altered the political landscape. Talk radio became a key force in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.While liberal talk radio also emerged, such as Air America Radio, the medium is still dominated by conservatives.

Blogs

In the early 2000s, blogs of all political persuasions became increasingly influential. Conservative blogs such as Power Line, Captains Quarters and blogger Michelle Malkin covered and promoted a number of stories, for instance the Swift Boat Veterans' criticism of the war record of presidential candidate John Kerry. Particularly notable was the uncovering of the "Memogate" scandal by Little Green Footballs and others. American blog Captains Quarters played a role in the 2005 Canadian election, outflanking a Canadian judicial gag order on media coverage of hearings related to a Canadian Liberal Party corruption scandal. The fallout from the scandal helped lead to a Conservative victory in the following election.

Notable alternative media outlets

Talk Radio



Websites



Blogs



Podcasting

Michelle Malkin's "Vent"

See also



References


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