A Pew Research study shows that conservative cable news station, Fox News, is more balanced in its coverage than its counterpart MSNBC. The report seems to validate Fox's "fair and balanced" slogan. Unfortunately the news will not assuage those who still believe that there is a bias in the coverage of news events.
The most consistent meme coming from conservatives, libertarians, and those leaning right is the bias of the mainstream media. You cannot read an article, listen to a pundit, or attend a speech without hearing the right leaning pundit or elected official decrying the media bias of the mainstream media. But, what does the mainstream media mean? Basically, the right feels that the mainstream media includes any news outlet that does not agree with their opinion. Conservative media is in the mainstream in the 21st century, and it is time that they admit it and stop whining about its inability to convince others to switch loyalties.
Fox News Channel has been the leading cable news network for 11 straight years. FNC has the No. 1 cable news program in every time slot from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the morning. Even their West Coast repeats are No. 1 in their timeslots. In 2012, the top 5 cable news programs in viewership were The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, Special Report with Brett Baier, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren and The Five. That is a solid bloc of mainstream political news analysis between the hours of 5:00 p.m. (EDT) to 11:00 p.m. In the first quarter of 2013, Fox News had the top 13 programs — and the top 6 in the 25-54 demographic. Not only was Fox the No. 1 mainstream cable news outlet in primetime, their mainstream morning program Fox and Friends, their mainstream business program Your World with Neil Cavuto, and their midday news programs America Live and America's Newsroom were No. 1 in their timeslots. If Fox News is not part of the mainstream media then I don't know who is.
Conservative talk radio dominates its market. Newsmax's list of the top 25 most influential talk radio hosts is dominated by the right, including Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Don Imus, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Larry Elder, Glenn Beck, and Neil Boortz. Talkers Magazine's 2013 Heavy Hundred is a list of the 100 most important radio talk show hosts. 6 of the top 8 programs are conservative, right leaning pundits. Mark Levin and Joe Doyle join Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and Bill O'Reilly at the head of the list. Talkstream Live's Top 100 Report "tracks talk radio show metrics gathered on the internet and collected through a cloud based server via TalkStreamLive.com's Website, Gadgets, iPhone app and 'click2listen' links on Social Networks." Eight of the Top 10 programs listed on Talkstream Live are conservative talk show programs including conservative comedian Dennis Miller and conservative pundit Bill Bennett. Clearly conservative talk radio is in the mainstream.
Conservative pundits dominate the political best sellers list. O'Reilly, Beck, Ingraham, and Ann Coulter are best-selling authors. Michelle Malkin, Dinesh D'Souza, Dick Morris and Sarah Palin are also conservative authors whose books have been on the NY Times best seller's list. In 2012, The Washington Post's Ezra Klein reported that Amazon's "heat list" an indication of what books are selling the most, showed that 56% of political books sold were conservative leaning. Culture and Media Institute found that conservative author's books stayed on the bestseller list longer than liberal author's despite the "lack of coverage by mainstream media." There it goes again the "mainstream media." Once again the knock is against the mainstream media, meaning the people that conservatives want to reach but are unable to use their own outlets to do it.
The Wall Street Journal is the No. 1 financial newspaper in America. No one could ever doubt that it is a mainstream newspaper. It can be argued that its opinion and editorial content definitely leans right. The same can be said for Forbes magazine. Christian Science Monitor, The National Review and The American Spectator and Human Events are widely read and long running mainstream conservative magazines. Just about every city in America has a conservative newspaper.
The conservative voice is part of mainstream media. It is illogical to ask the mainstream liberal media to promote conservative ideology when the conservative mainstream media is doing just fine on its own. If conservatives and libertarians continue to complain about the mainstream media the only thing they will do is convince people that their views are not part of the mainstream.
The conservative and libertarian media is dominating television cable news, talk radio; political book lists and has plenty of online content providers (Townhall.com, Reason.com, Redstate.com, The Daily Caller, Breitbart.com, and Drudge Report). The right has print outlets like WSJ, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, The Boston Herald, and the Washington Times in every "mainstream liberal market." If the conservative message is not making its way into "mainstream" America, maybe it's the message, not the mainstream media messenger.