How nonprofit think tanks and the media collude in a vast left-wing conspiracy
- Last Updated: 3:23 AM, July 1, 2012
- Posted: 10:17 PM, June 30, 2012
Old joke: Guy tells his friend, “Guess what? My new girlfriend is a virgin.” The friend says, “How do you know she’s a virgin?” Guy says, “She told me.” The friend replies, “How do you know she’s not lying?” First guy says, “Virgins never lie.”
That circular reasoning, UCLA poli-sci professor Tim Groseclose points out in his book, “Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind,” is the kind of thing you hear from otherwise intelligent, even scientific-minded liberals when it comes to the kinds of stories that turn up in popular media outlets such as CBS, CNN or The New York Times.
Groseclose measured the extent to which these outlets mentioned liberal vs. conservative think tanks in their coverage and found a pronounced bias toward the left. A colleague of Groseclose’s to whom he mentioned this said, essentially, “So what? Those liberal think tanks are more reputable than the conservative ones.” And how did he know this? Because, er, they were the ones that were so often quoted on CBS, CNN or in The New York Times.
The crux of Groseclose’s book, which came out in paperback earlier this year, is seconded by this summer’s “The New Leviathan: How the Left-Wing Money Machine Shapes American Politics and Threatens America’s Future” by David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin.
Horowitz and Laksin explore the world of foundation money, where it came from, where it goes and what it does. Philanthropic organizations such as the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and their equivalents with names like Heinz, Rockefeller, Carnegie and Mellon tend to support left-wing causes. The financial assets of the 115 major tax-exempt foundations of the left, says Laskin, added up to $104.56 billion — more than 10 times the size of the war chest held by their ideological opposite numbers on the right.
We owe to Hillary Clinton the deathless term “vast right-wing conspiracy,” a sobriquet she used to ridicule reports that her husband might have had an inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
The evidence is ample, though, that when it comes to weaving an intricate web of money and influence, the left is far more successful than the right.
Measuring the nation’s most influential news sources, for instance, Groseclose agrees that the Drudge Report and Fox News’s “Special Report” are far to the right of the rest — but in absolute terms, they are near the middle of the road (along with “Good Morning America” and “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer”). The Wall Street Journal, CBS Evening News, Washington Post and New York and L.A. Times are all at least as far left as Connecticut’s fairly liberal Joe Lieberman.Follow @NYPostOpinion