Why are the entertainment media and news so liberal?
Aren’t liberals more about science and truth and conservatives less concerned with truth and science?
It is not the case that for instance religious people necessarily deny science but they have alternate explanations for some things. Science is not solid enough at this point to discuss fundamental causes. What science can say is that within the known parameters of some science we can say this will happen. When science can predict this behavior with enough precision we call it a science. All theories even in physics have limitations on the domains they work therefore that says each theory is flawed and fails under certain circumstances. This means we don’t actually understand fundamental things yet.
Therefore, until we can say there is surety we understand the true nature of things there is room for alternate explanations and one cannot rule out those alternate explanations. There there is still the possibility to believe in God and Science. Science is good at predicting behaviors but it isn’t good at saying fundamentally if there is something more.
Some religious people have questioned science but many liberal people are as much uneducated about science and make false statements all the time because they don’t understand science.
Not all conservatives are religionists and not all religionists are conservative. There is a huge overlap so generalizations of the type that conservatives are this and liberals are this is subject to huge error.
What is conservative and liberal
The terms conservative and liberal have a “classic” definition.
Conservative: A person who believes in maintaining older or current status quo.
Liberal: A person who easily entertains a new idea.
There is an alternate definition:
Liberal: Someone who believes that people should have the freedom individually to decide what to believe, how to act, how to spend their money and make their money.
Today’s liberals don’t fall into either camp. They really are more traditional leftists who simply believe the state should control more and more of our lives. Thus when we say the media is liberal what we mean is they are more about state control. Some may dispute that but it is a better explanation than the above two.
but modern “liberals” are hardly liberal like classical liberals. This last year we have witnessed many people protesting from the “liberal” camp free speech. Classic liberals would find this objectionable and more fascist than liberal. The classic definition of liberal has meant freedom of the person to choose what to think and act as well as what to do with ones life and how one may use ones financial resources. Todays “liberal” again is utterly at variance with this as liberals today are more about controlling how people and money and business behave, not freedom.
Why are most news outlets liberal?
First it must be noticed that there are a lot of news outlets that are more conservative but they are not associated with the top media sources of entertainment. There is some historical reason why liberals ended up controlling most of those venues. I will explain that a little later.
Job Bias and History
Many journalism majors or communication majors are not business oriented. There is a tendency for some reason for women for instance to take some types of jobs and men traditionally take others. This is changing which is good no doubt but in a similar way most conservative oriented people are more attuned to business and since liberals typically are not as business oriented tend to flock to professions whose aim is not solely business. That could be an explanation for why liberals occupy a higher number of positions in academia, education in general, media, hollywood and entertainment. One would hope that they weren’t applying filters to who they hire but there is evidence that a bias exists in academia that is extreme. For instance recent surveys show that US NorthEastern college professors are 90% Democrat voters.
So, the answer to the question has more to do with that liberals seem to have job preference associated with these fields.
In addition, historically, a lot of the media grew up during the 1960–2000 time frame which saw significant liberal influence in entertainment. Since the news organizations became tied to those entertainment centers they tended to lean more liberal.
There has been a marked drop in journalism
I think the bias to the liberal cause became extreme in 2010–2017. Media seemed to give up on objective journalism as the internet fragmented the market. The news was forced to become more sensational. Also we saw the rise of Fox News which held a blatantly more conservative viewpoint than the other media. Fox’s success was probably another reason why journalism moved towards more opinion based content.
For an interim period there were some news sources which tried to distinguish fact and opinion but that seems to have died. Now almost all news sources seem to jump immediately to opinion and it is almost impossible to decide what is fact and what is opinion. News sources used to double check every story and require more than one source. Today such formalism is never used. We have descended into a more yellow journalism reminiscent of some past times.
Today virtually all stories are tainted with a bias that makes knowing the truth harder and harder. A study came out last year from a liberal academic institution (Harvard) that assessed that the major media news sources were in some cases up to 98% biased in that they always took every story and turned it into a negative story about the opposition emphasizing certain points of view vastly more than others with no factual basis.
How do we determine factual from biased reporting?
There are several ways to try to filter out reporting that is more opinion.
One is the lack of use of examples. If the reporter is using examples of past behavior it at least eliminates a lot of the pure opinion type journalism. Frequently we will hear reporters or “journalists” simply using jingoistic name calling such as white supremacist, racist, liar, dictator or any number of derogatory terms. These are shortcut terms used when the writer or speaker has no coherent argument to make based on facts but prefers to call on derision to justify their position.
Frequently examples can be incorrect examples or flawed examples so that it seems one’s argument is more coherent and factual than it is. The only way to know if the examples are good is to have experience and knowledge of the examples or to do extensive research. Almost any example can be looked at from multiple sides frequently making the point hard to justify.
Statistics are also hard to use as proof of factual basis frequently. As many people have discovered statistics can be manipulated to give confirmation bias. For instance, recently when discussing illegal immigrants crime rate liberals will typically use statistics which combine legal and illegal immigrants. Legal immigrants are extremely law abiding. Illegals have high representation in prisons. When you combine them immigrants as a whole have numbers similar to average US citizens. Such tricks are common when applying statistics to an argument.
Typically the most compelling factual based arguments proceed along a path of explaining a series of events of players and comparing this to reality, common sense events that can’t be disputed.
Probability has to be taken into account into any explanation. Probability is something that is difficult to ascertain sometimes and can be wrong if the person doing the estimation has flawed understanding of true behaviors or facts.
Usually people believe things that fit their internal narrative. We develop these narratives after listening to the world we come to underlying conclusions how it works. When we see new information we compare that against our internal understanding and are able to assign what we think of probability. This depends crucially on the persons actual grasp of reality.
What is reality?
This is very hard to explain. As I’ve explained in some other blog posts science itself has trouble determining what our actual reality is. Part of the problem is that our brains are incredibly good at constructing a view of reality and filling in the details for us.
You can see this with vision easily. There are numerous tests you can do that show our brains fill in information we see that we don’t actually see. Our eyes cannot work like cameras and capture 14 million pixels on a single surface. Most of the eye can detect light but this is not forwarded up to the brain as a single “image.” Instead our eyes do see a lot of pixels but they have intelligence built in from the very start of the process. Nerves immediately start processing the information. Our eyes flit about rapidly scanning an area looking for different areas to focus on. Our eyes and brains start the process of constructing a coherent full image view even though the eyes do not have all the information.
In a similar way our brains construct reality and the political world from biases given by past experience. Thus determining what is actual reality from a perception of reality is hard.
The only way to know if the picture of reality we have is correct is to follow the ideas of objectivity and science which is to say we compare our predictions of what will happen and what does happen.
For instance, if person A says X and we look in the future and see that X actually occurs then person A has a better grasp of reality than people who say ^X. For this to be valuable it is better if it is a future event because modeling like in science with politics can be easily wrong. You can go back to past events and liberals and conservatives can construct scenarios where their explanation of facts shows corroboration with some facts and liberals can do the same. By making it about some future behavior it implies a much higher chance that the fact set being proposed or statements are reality.
Some events are clearly reality points that can’t be argued about. I call these causal events. An election for instance decides a whole series of subsequent events. If person A says that X won the election and person B says that Y won the election the reality is easily determined because if Y doesn’t show up at the office and X does then pretty clearly it is hard to support the alternate reality. These are essentially like decoherence events in physics. When the event happens the world becomes point-like and reality is clear. Causal events then can proceed from that causal event.
Being able to predict causal events is key to having a handle on reality and is key to our brains abstraction system and reality generating system. Being able to attain nutrition, sex and other basic needs are the reason our brains create all the abstractions and reality creation that it does.
One of the most basic ways we achieve nutrition, sex and other needs is by interacting socially with other people. In order for other people to support us we feel part of a group and we protect members of our group. We construct common views so that we support each other. The brain is remarkably good at intuiting what are the social cues to keep within the group. Depending on how independent you are from your identified groups you see as your basis for your reality your brain will go to extraordinary lengths to modify reality to correspond to the group need. Your brain does this because you have a need for security and your brain does what it needs to keep you feeling secure so that you achieve the nutrition, sex etc that is required.
What i’ve explained is a complicated process that each person goes through in determining their reality.
Back to Media, reality and everyone
Basically, the media are liberal because the media are liberal. Individuals in the media will reinforce the group dynamics and cues to continue to be part of the media. In this case the liberal media. However, reality and what are required for media to stay in their jobs are not necessarily the same as I’ve explained. The media are like anybody else subject to an interpretation of reality that is masked by their underlying needs and learned cues.
For an individual news person to present factual events in a counter way to the group dynamic entails putting your entire social dynamic and way you think of yourself, who you are as a person and how you consider yourself part of certain tribes. Your brain highly modifies its perception of reality to make it possible for you to sustain your place in the group.
Thus the explanation for the vastly different views we see expressed in the news is because liberals have developed an entirely differently reality than conservatives. The purpose of democracy is to decide with causal events called elections to decide which view was closer to reality. If causal events run counter to the reality that the liberal or conservative construct then at the next election presumably we are motivated to pick a different reality because the casual events that effect us went counter to our internal needs. Sometimes the group dynamic overrides this self-preservation and people vote along party lines. Some people don’t have political fealty or find the causal events so bad they decide to switch which group they align their reality.
Science and Business are not that different
Good scientists, like good journalists have to be extremely secure people who depend on far less group allegiance or depend on a different set of group allegiences. In science, one may consider science to be a religion or group. I have frequently felt like I see other people who believe in the search for objective reality as being in the group I want to be in.
Unfortunately there aren’t many groups who eschew group biases like this and the nature of being independent thinker means you may not get support even from your independent thinker group. So, it is hard to maintain an unbiased group independent view but science and businessmen share some similar characteristics.
Businessmen ultimately are vindicated by the market. The market is an objective causal reality. Either someone buys or doesn’t buy your product or service thus to succeed in business you have to tie yourself to causal points of reality. If you don’t then you don’t achieve business success and you may fail. In larger companies the connection of causal events and your success may be less certain.
So, Businessmen and scientists depend on having to always refer back to causal reality to succeed. Some business may succeed because of fraud in which case this breaks the need for causal reality. The United States business is among the most transparent of any country in the world. It is more possible here than anyplace on Earth to get accurate facts about enterprises. This makes the business have to become more based on causal reality and less on group fealty.
Academics aren’t necessarily bound by the same causal reality. The less their discipline relies on causal reality to teach things the more they can be based on lots of different realities. In some disciplines this is fine and might even be encouraged.
Our brains are constantly trying to construct our view of reality. If you think you have some lock on reality you are mistaken. You therefore should be open to the idea that others reality may be better. Trying to find the ultimate causes for causal events is hard. At best we keep iterating to keep ourselves on track. This is the best rationale for why democracy works.
We need to keep open to other interpretations of reality but also to the chance that the reality we believe is wrong. You have to use causal events to establish if your view of reality is actual reality.
I doubt many of today’s journalists think this way or consider their discipline to be so systematic and scientific. It is full of people who seem to be locked into one group thinking or another. I don’t think the people currently in the profession are of suitable strength of mind and independence from their group fealty to be real journalists. This is why we have such division.