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Jewish World Review March 15, 2000 /8 Adar II, 5760

Greg Crosby

Greg Crosby
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Academia and Media ---
They’re Just Not Right -- I CLICKED ON THE TV the other night just in time to hear Dick Morris, former Clinton strategist and current Fox News consultant, cite a poll that claimed 30% of the country to be Democrat, 30% of the country to be Republican, and the remaining 40% or so to be independents or something else and therefore capable of being swayed to vote either way in the general election.

Now I don’t have much confidence in polls, (come to think of it I don’t have much confidence in Dick Morris, either) but let’s just say for the sake of argument (and this column) that Morris’ percentages are close to being accurate. Those numbers certainly make it sound as if the presidential contest is completely fair and balanced.

One would assume, with both major political parties seemingly equal, all each side needs to do is make their strongest case to the American voters, come out fighting, and may the best platform win in November -- right? Wrong. Wrong because things are not equal at all -- and I’ll give you the reason in two words: academia and the media.

Our schools and mainstream media are the two primary sources of information, truth, ideas and enlightenment for the majority of Americans. If the people working within those two sources were 30% Democrat, 30% Republican, and 40% independent, then everything would be fine. But, (and this is a big but) here’s the problem -- both of these primary sources of information are overwhelmingly comprised of liberal Democrats.

Is this a bad thing? It’s not if you happen to be a liberal Democrat. For the other 70% of the population, however, it’s (if you’ll pardon the obvious pun) not right.

Our colleges and universities are made up mostly of liberal thinking instructors and administrators, just as liberal entertainers, journalists, and executives seem to predominate the entertainment and news profession.

Could anyone who has gone through the American educational system of the last thirty years or so, honesty deny that they were exposed more often to left-of-center ideas and values than to moderate or conservative thinking?

Most major newspapers tend to lean towards the liberal side, as do the weekly newsmagazines. And people who rely solely on network television for their news, are in danger of getting a permanent crick in the left side of their neck. It is true that talk radio is inclined to be mostly conservative, but how many people in our country listen to talk radio as compared to people who watch mainstream television and read the major newspapers or newsmagazines?

How in the world did it happen that one ideology has so completely dominated the flow of information to the American people? There are several theories on this. The first being the famous “vast left-wing conspiracy” theory. (And I hasten to add that this is just a theory, mind you -- we have no hard evidence to support it. However, for the courageous reporter willing to investigate it, the truth will come out.) This is the theory that holds that left-wing educators and journalists are being grown in test tubes somewhere out in the Nevada desert (which would also explain why so many television news anchors tend to look alike).

A variation on this premise supposes that Walt Disney Imagineers have been, for several decades, laboring in an abandoned airplane hanger on the former site of the Lockheed “Skunkworks” in Burbank turning out Audio-Animatronic liberal robots (which would certainly explain Al Gore).

I don’t believe in anything quite so insidious. My personal theory is simple -- that people in these industries think it’s “hipper” to be a liberal Democrat than to be a conservative Republican, and for many people (especially in schools and in show business) it’s very important to be thought of as being “hip.” It’s that same desire to be “with it” that motivates people to get tattooed, have their body parts pierced, eat tofu and rice cakes, speak in insipid clichés like, “for the children,” and “move on” and grow those silly little goatee/mustache things around their mouths.

There are undoubtedly other, more pragmatic reasons for the preponderance of liberalism in the academic and media worlds -- however, I’ll leave those for people who really analyze this stuff for a living to explain.

In a perfect world our schools would be politically impartial institutions of higher learning -- teaching truth, ethics, and the American way right alongside reading, writing and arithmetic. Students would be encouraged to think for themselves and to be responsible for their own actions (what a concept!). Facts would be given without prejudice or personal opinion, and political correctness would take a back seat to veracity.

In that idealistic situation, the mainstream press would be unbiased, straight-forward fact finders. High-principled journalists digging for the truth and reporting the news without private agenda or social commentary -- allowing the chips to fall as they may and giving people the chance to make up their own minds.

Unfortunately, we still inhabit the world of the imperfect -- no matter what the hairstyles of Dan and Tom and Peter might suggest. While it’s possible to get balance in the news, you’ve really got to work at it -- searching out sometimes hard to find conservative political publications to offset all those on the left ain’t easy. Most people can’t or won’t take the time to do it. They’ll simply click on the television and once again feel that annoying little crick in the left side of their necks.

JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. You may contact him by clicking here.


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© 2000, Greg Crosby