UPDATE: LINKED BY COLD FURY! THANKS!
The liberal bias of the mainstream media, as measured by both frequency and severity, feels like it is breaking new ground during this election season.
The one bit of solace for conservatives is the knowledge that the traditional liberal organs of the mainstream media are dying. Liberal newspapers have been hemorrhaging money for years. Even the New York Times, the market leader (the value of which has declined by over 80% in the past decade), seems to have little hope beyond winning the war of attrition, and picking up the readers of failed competitors as the last man standing. The viewership of network news broadcasts is both shrinking, and increasingly geriatric. The weekly news magazines seem entirely irrelevant to public discourse as they struggle to keep their heads above water.
Yet even as these dinosaurs flail about in the tar pits, a new liberal news organization is rising, distinguished not by the tired leftist cant with which its reportage is riddled, but by its sustainable business model: Bloomberg News.
As it happens, the best business model on Wall Street is not underwriting IPOs for 7% of the proceeds. Nor is it managing a hedge fund for 2-and-20. No, the best business model on Wall Street belongs to Bloomberg LP, which effectively levies a $2,000 per month tax on capital market professionals around the globe. Bloomberg is the most comprehensive, and thus the standard, source for financial market news and data. It would be difficult for many financial professionals to function without it, not just on Wall Street but in every financial center from the City to Shanghai. If you are a market professional, your company pays Bloomberg roughly $2,000 per month for you to have access. No discounts.
That business model is why Mike Bloomberg is so much wealthier than the Masters of the Universe that comprise his customer base.
And increasingly, that $2,000 monthly subscription fee for financial news also supports a broader news effort that combines the reflexive liberal bias of the New York Times with profitability the Sulzbergers can only fantasize about.
Consider just one Bloomberg article from late last week, bearing no possible relevance to capital markets, under the headline, Laws Revive "World Before Roe" as Abortions Require Arduous Trek.
Is Planned Parenthood planning an IPO? Call me crazy, but I just don't see a profitable trade based on that information.
In a nutshell, this article consists primarily of political advocacy decrying the fact that abortion, while legal, is less convenient than some might like. If Bloomberg published similar articles lamenting the fact that millions of Americans are forced to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest Cabela's in order to exercise their right to shop for a wide selection of firearms, then this might not be so objectionable. But I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for the latter story.
I'll declare my own bias, such as it is, up front: while I have some strong libertarian leanings, I am also Catholic. And while I would not describe myself as an especially good Catholic, I subscribe fully to the Church's teaching on abortion, and would be very happy indeed to see it made illegal with exceptions only for very serious risks to the life of the mother.
But I cite this particular article because you need not share my views on abortion to marvel at the bias, to say nothing of the Sandra Fluke-like sense of entitlement, embedded in this article.
You may not know it, but there is a pestilence upon the land, and its name is Federalism:
"Over the past two years, state lawmakers across the U.S.
have been passing new abortion restrictions at a record pace.
Dozens of laws stipulating who can perform abortions, how
abortion pills can be administered, tighter building standards
for abortion clinics and what women need to do before abortions
have been enacted -- helping create a patchwork of access to the
procedure that the U.S. Supreme Court deemed a constitutional
right almost 40 years ago."
Ah yes, laws passed by duly elected legislators - the bitter fruit of democracy. Don't these people see that until there is an abortion clinic on every block, none of us is truly free? Maybe Planned Parenthood can pursue some sort of co-location deal with Starbucks.
And aren't liberals always going on about wanting abortion to be safe, and decrying prospective returns to - I'll try to hit every standard meme here but forgive me if I overlook one - "back alleys" where "butchers" were inevitably using their tool of choice, the "coat hanger?"
Wouldn't the preferred alternative involve "laws stipulating who can perform abortions" to weed out those nefarious butchers, and "tighter building standards" to ensure that things aren't still taking place in those back alleys? A more cynical person than myself could almost get the impression that all this professed concern for pregnant women's well-being is just so much partisan bullshit.
So precisely how are these democratically elected state governments eviscerating our freedoms?
"In Mississippi, new requirements on doctors threaten to
shutter the state’s last remaining abortion clinic. In Virginia,
a Board of Health decision this month to make existing clinics
meet building standards for new hospitals, may force facilities
to close, make costly renovations or move. In Utah, women must
wait 72 hours after counseling -- the longest delay in the
nation -- before they can get an abortion. And nine states since
2010, including Arizona, have banned abortions after 20 weeks,
around the same time many women learn about fetal abnormalities."
Mississippi lacks lots of things, and if one were to triage that state's needs, I dare say an abortion clinic would be well down the list, even for ardently pro-abortion liberals. After all, Mississippi still has one abortion clinic, but it doesn't have any Whole Foods stores.
Abortion clinics in Virginia are being required to comply with building codes? I'm not really seeing the outrage. Utah requires women to take three days to think things over? This doesn't strike me as inappropriate given the stakes.
I do find it jarring that I, as a reader, am expected to be dismayed by the revelation that some states ban abortions after 20 weeks, or "around the same time many women learn about fetal abnormalities." For the moment, let's leave aside the interesting fact that Bloomberg only finds it important that women learn about fetal abnormalities, as though fathers have no legitimate interest in their children.
Let's leave that aside because what's far more appalling is the implication that "abnormalities" should be connected with the desirability of abortions. Presumably this is because children with, say, Down Syndrome may be a burden, financially or otherwise, on their families or society, and some may judge them to have an inferior, or even inadequate, quality of life.
What reporter Amanda Crawford is really doing is embracing eugenics, without having the courage to come out and say so in plain English. I can certainly understand her reticence. Simply saying "Let's kill all the retards" sounds so coarse. And the term eugenics itself carries all that fascist baggage. It's so much more genteel to simply point out, in an almost offhanded way, that sometimes you can't even tell if your baby deserves to live until its already enjoying legal protection from you.
My favorite part, though, is a quote that combines the advocacy that runs throughout the article with the Sandra Fluke-like belief that women aren't really free to enjoy their rights unless somebody else is doing all the work:
“Access basically depends entirely on where you live,”
said Julie Rikelman, litigation director for the New York-based
Center for Reproductive Rights. “Even though it is supposed to
be a constitutional right available to all Americans in the
United States, it is really a right only available to a minority
of American women.”
Ms. Rikelman's statement is only true if one accepts a certain, rather tendentious definition of availability. If availability means being able to get an abortion on the spur of the moment without spending more than a couple minutes walking or driving, then she is absolutely correct.
To those of us not completely blinkered by ideology, however, a more useful definition of availability might be something like the ability to get an abortion within a few days of one's initial inquiry, at a location close enough to home that one can sleep in one's own bed that night. Under such a definition, Ms. Rikelman is wrong and surely knows it. She is lying, and Bloomberg is uncritically publishing the lie in the service of a political agenda.
Actually, you don't even need to read the article to glean the bias. You only need to look at the subheadings, only one of which is in scare quotes:
Yes, the idea that abortion ends the life of innocent 'unborn children' is just an artifact of my Papist superstition. The truly abhorrent empirical reality of abortion in America is Paperwork Hassle.
This is just one bit of hackery on one issue. But it is important because of its source. Bloomberg isn't materially more or less biased than traditional MSM outlets, but unlike dying liberal broadsheets, it is hugely profitable. As a result, its influence is likely to grow. Anyone concerned about media bias ignores it at their peril.