Bozell on 'Morning Joe': For Networks, Liberal Ideology Trumps Bottom Line

L. Brent Bozell, founder of Media Research Center, NB's parent, made an appearance on today's "Morning Joe." Brent is the author, with MRC/NB's Tim Graham, of the recently-released "Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell you About Hillary Clinton, But Conservatives Will."

Look for comprehensive coverage of Brent's appearance from my colleagues at MRC and NB during the day. But for present purposes, let's focus on one point Brent made that speaks volumes about the depth of the MSM's partisanship -- that for broadcast networks, promoting liberal ideology trumps even the bottom line.

Video (8:12): Real (6.04 MB) or Windows (5.02 MB), plus MP3 audio (3.75 MB).

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Don't you think at this point, though, that what ABC, CBS and NBC want more than anything is just -- more viewers. And it makes sense to have a horse race. So don't you think that Hillary Clinton -- who's been pummelled over the last week or two -- don't you think she's going to have a rougher ride just like Rudy Giuliani, because these news organizations want Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney, and others to give us a horse race?

L. BRENT BOZELL: You would think that, but it's not the case. Ideology trumps the marketplace with these networks, unfortunately. They've been bleeding audiences since 1994. They've lost 50% of their audiences, and yet they continue the same way they've been going. Why is it that people are leaving? Because you're getting one side of the story, they're not getting two sides of the story, and they're going to alternative sources of information. They're going to talk radio, they're going to cable, they're going to the internet. They're going anywhere but these networks because they've given up on trying to get a fair story out of them.

The graph displayed here is from the Project for Excellence in Media Journalism's State of the News Media 2006. It makes Brent's point dramatically, showing the decline of combined evening news viewership of all networks from November 1980 to November 2005.

But as Brent indicated, even this kind of disastrous collapse is insufficient to dissuade the networks from abandoning their liberal agenda in favor of more balanced coverage.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.