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.
The Culture and Media Institute analyzed how ABC, CBS and NBC covered those 25 hardcover nonfiction best-sellers, and found that the networks gave liberal books and authors dramatically more (and more favorable) coverage than their conservative counterparts. Of the 11 conservative authors on the list, just four received any coverage on the networks.
On the other hand, the networks covered 11 out of 14 liberal authors. Of the three not covered, one was not an author in the conventional sense – it was President Obama, and the “book” was his January 20 inauguration speech.
When authors appeared on the networks for interviews, conservatives received markedly different treatment than liberals. From Matt Lauer calling Elizabeth Edwards’ book “stirring,” to Harry Smith telling Ann Coulter, “You have this kind of sophomoric sort of simplistic kind of view of so many things,” hosts made it clear where their ideological sympathies lay.
Read the whole thing.
I can’t say I’m surprised. More proof on the piles that we already have. CMI makes some recommendations that the “Big 3” should take note of:
By ignoring these and other very successful conservative titles, the networks do themselves and their viewers a disservice. They must work to balance the quantity and quality of coverage they give to liberal and conservative authors.
While one-for-one parity isn’t necessary, producers should keep in mind which authors and what books they’ve covered recently, and try to ensure diversity of perspective. Networks should consider the popularity of the books. Perhaps they should consider only a liberal or conservative book’s popularity according to the List when planning coverage.
Interviewers should either read and compliment the books of both sides, or refrain from complimenting any of them. Network personalities who want to avoid charges of bias shouldn’t be applying words like “stunning” and “stirring” to the books of liberals while calling conservatives “sophomoric” and “outrageous.” Before interviewing someone from either side, hosts should review the tone and type of questioning they used the last time an author was on.
Somehow I think these recommendations will go unheeded.