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The European Media’s Deep Bias Against Conservatives

I was fired last week. It happened when I received an email from the editor-in-chief of an outlet I’d contributed to for the last eight months, saying that he’d found a social media post of mine to be unacceptable. This is said post:

For context: Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist who sparked international (though most notable in Europe) school walkouts to demand “climate action” from governments. Thunberg hasn’t done anything but moralize about how we need to reverse capitalism to save the earth. For that, she got to speak at the World Economic Forum, and has since been nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (though Barack Obama also got one, so the relevance has certainly diminished). The protests received a lot of favorable coverage, with children appearing on TV uncommented on and unquestioned.

I don’t consider that professional journalism. Even though reporting is something I myself only do on occasion, I still get to have opinions on it, particularly since I write columns and analysis pieces. My post was there to illustrate how the reporting would have been much different had the children held less popular beliefs. I don’t mind if The Guardian or The Independent has a lack of consistency, because those are both far-left broadsheets. But this bias has become obvious at supposedly “objective” outlets too.

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The editor told me he expects opinions to be backed up by facts. In essence: the hypothetical scenario I was drawing could only be drawn if it actually happened, which would make it not a hypothetical. …Right.

The same editor also wrote in his email: “Some of your columns have suffered from the same problem, and I have worked hard with you to give you a chance to improve. I now see a pattern here that I fear I am unable to change.”

Give that some thought. I am a contractor writing opinions for your news outlet, yet you’ve taken it upon yourself to change those opinions? Note that this is an outlet that pretends to have no political bias, that supposedly allows diversity of thought. Apparently not. Said outlet received €100,000 ($113,000) in government subsidies in 2018.

A bit more than a year ago, I was fired from a public radio broadcaster after I submitted a column criticizing the overblown and overpaid public sector in my home country. Echoing my more recent episode, an editor claimed my statement that the public sector is inefficient was “not factual.” Here as well, I was initially brought in to diversify the range of opinions. On the same taxpayer-funded broadcaster, you can listen to a wide range of left-wing pseudo-intellectuals day in and day out, lambasting global predatory capitalism and recommending the creation of new welfare programs.

Sometimes they do get caught.

German public broadcaster ADR was recently found [1] to have commissioned a framing document by a linguistic expert, in order to find ways to demonize opponents of Germany’s media royalty, which taxes all citizens to fund public broadcasting. The linguist recommended that those who do not want to pay the fee shouldn’t be labeled simply as opponents, but as “questioning the authority of democratic decisions.” She also recommended that ARD portray those opponents as acting “contrary to democracy,” “untrustworthy,” and “disloyal.” Rejecting the media fee should be portrayed as “asking for less democracy.” She even suggested new slogans for ARD: “Others want profits, we want cultural profits,” “TV without censorship for profits,” “excellence instead of profits.” The idea was to demonize both opponents of the licensing fee and private media companies that could replace the functions of public broadcasting.

These outlets need to be asked: what have you become?

Does anyone remember when The Economist was a thorough magazine with classically liberal leanings? Today, you get stories about how Emmanuel Macron walks on water [2]. “Electoral victory will make France’s president a potent force,” they say. Hah. I think in journalism school, that counts as “headlines that don’t age well.”

The British BBC has had so many controversies that Wikipedia has a six-subcategory list for them [3]. Many news outlets in Europe suffer from the same problem: a consistent lack of objective reporting.

The French news show Quotidien reported [4] on Elizabeth Warren claiming to be Native American and Donald Trump betting $1 million against it as Trump losing the bet since Warren’s DNA test revealed her to be “part” Native American. That the “part” was between 1/64th and 1/1,024th was not mentioned.

Or how about the German Spiegel journalist who got caught writing fake news [5] about Fergus Falls, Minnesota? Claes Relotius pretended that this town of Trump voters had a sign at its entrance saying “Mexicans out” and embellished the portraits of the people he interviewed with completely fictitious stories. The fact that Relotius was awarded with two “Journalist of the Year” awards by CNN is just a bonus at this point.

The European press in general suffers from political bias that clearly goes in one direction. No wonder, what with all the journalists graduating from universities where Che Guevara T-shirts are common, and with a majority of news outlets either owned by the government or funded by it. There isn’t much room in such an environment to question the Etat-providence, the “providing state,” better known as the welfare state. Anyone questioning it must be demonized and laid off.

Bill Wirtz comments on European politics and policy in English, French, and German. His work has appeared in NewsweekThe Washington Examiner, CityAM, Le MondeLe Figaro, and Die Welt.

20 Comments (Open | Close)

20 Comments To "The European Media’s Deep Bias Against Conservatives"

#1 Comment By Not unique On March 29, 2019 @ 2:43 pm

Please give it a rest. The list of biased “something or somebody” against conservatives has no end. Europeans, Muslims, Democrats, Independents, media other than Fox, FBI, CIA,the environmentalists, the non-Christians and even Republicans are all biased against conservatives. As a conservative I think a wide and lighted mirror might be in order.

#2 Comment By Sid Finster On March 29, 2019 @ 2:54 pm

I’ll let you in on a secret, – it’s not just conservatives; anyone outside the status quo that can expect to be silenced.

For better or worse, Europe, much more than the United States, is a society bound by norms. You believe certain things because everyone believes them, or everyone in your social class believes them. You don’t do or say certain things, you don’t question why the Emperor is parading around buck naked, because that is not The Done Thing.

When the Financial Crisis hit Europe, educated respectable responsible people did not question European Integration as a contributing factor, no matter how strong the evidence, because that would be the social equivalent of standing up in the middle of a Papal Mass and asking who just broke wind. Even if the the candles flickered and died and the altar boy just retched from the eye-watering stink, The Done Thing would be to pretend that nothing happened and everything is normal. Then as now, questioning European integration would be unthinkably gauche, like eating with the wrong fork or praising McDonalds over La Cuisine, even if you what you really want is a Big Mac.

This was all well and good, this could continue as long as the economic pie kept growing and kept being shared out in a reasonably equitable way. Now that growth is slow at best and inequality growing, we see the elites, the beneficiaries of The Done Thing desperately try to clamp down tensions. The status quo is doing them just fine, and they see no reason why anything should change, maybe some window dressing here and there, a three headed lesbian from Madagascar as Minister of Sports or something.

Witness the Gilets Jaunes, to name but one example, and witness the horrified reaction of Official France and Official Europe. Not so long ago, the demonstrations would be suppressed one way or another, a few symbolic concessions tossed out if necessary, and everything would go on as before. Instead, the demonstrations have been going on for months, weekend after weekend, all winter long, and the concessions are not buying peace.

Incidentally, Donald Trump was the most effective argument the anti-populists in Europe had. “Vote for more of the same, unless you want an dolt like Trump to get his hands on the levers of power!” But that argument is losing its force. Trump is a useful boogeyman, and God knows he is a dolt, but you can’t beat something with nothing, as they say, and voting the status quo back in does nothing to fix the economic reality of the Average Frustrated European.

Besides, sooner or later a competent and more effective populist than Trump may get into office. when that happens, the “Scary populist ZOMG run away quick!” campaign slogan will be drained of any remaining vigor.

I’ll let you in on another secret – it’s not just Europe. The dynamics are similar in the US, although the role of social norms is less pronounced.

#3 Comment By polistra On March 29, 2019 @ 6:26 pm

It’s not “conservatives”. Merkel and Macron are both “conservatives” in the usual sense. Macron is a clone of Romney.

Media are against NATIONALISTS or NON-INTERVENTIONISTS. Some non-globalists are Marxist, some are Randian, some in between. All are equally bad in media’s eyes. All are described as “far-right authoritarians”.

#4 Comment By Bob Radley On March 29, 2019 @ 6:56 pm

Not only did Obama’s Nobel peace Prize diminish the currency – you may be interested to know that Mahatma Gandhi was nominated 5 times and rejected 5 times. It’s hard to imagine a more worthy contender. The Nobel peace prize is politicised rubbish.

#5 Comment By Stephen J. On March 29, 2019 @ 10:59 pm

Article of Interest below. Will This happen in North America?
——————————————-
EU’s Parliament Signs Off on Disastrous Internet Law: What Happens Next?
By Danny O’Brien
Global Research, March 29, 2019
Electronic Frontier Foundation 26 March 2019

[6]

#6 Comment By William Silva On March 30, 2019 @ 8:41 am

You sound like a person that has no place in the real news world. It is plain to see you have strong opinions. But news should be about the facts and only the facts. Unfortunately many people around the world for sometime now have decided that making money is more important then the truth. Maybe you can get a job with someone on the far right who could not care less about the faces.

#7 Comment By GaryH On March 30, 2019 @ 11:26 am

The title and sub-title of this article leave me with this question: How is that different from the American Press?

The American Press has always been anti whatever is seen as culturally, religiously, socially conservative. And the American Press has always despised whites who are seen as representing a working class or middle class conservatism. And the American Press has always been willing and able, pleased as punch, to lie by leaving things out and exaggerating, by making complex issues seem as simple and 1+1, by employing endless positive words to describe whatever is Liberal in a given circumstance while using repeated negative words and phrases to mark whatever is conservative.

The American media is no more neutral and objective than is the Red Chinese media.

#8 Comment By Pat O Mahony On March 30, 2019 @ 12:29 pm

True!

#9 Comment By kalendjay On March 30, 2019 @ 3:45 pm

And if you want straight reporting on science and technology, which after all is a combination of economics and free and higher inquiry, the European picture only gets worse.

There is a particularly loathsome sight called GreentechMedia which pops up frequently on topics of energy. It is bias all the way, which seems to get top fiddle out of the deference of official and obfuscatory energy related websites within the EU, and of scholarly papers that occasionally pop up as Acrobat files, but aren’t even looked up.

Thanks to GTM and company, you have an entire generation of European coffeeshop and sunbathing fanciers who in drippy and obscure accents have nothing better than to denounce Trump and defend their way of life, oblivious to the technical and moral problems that face their socities,and the field of energy.

Today you will not find a critique of the German led gas deal with Russia, but you can check this instead:

[7]

SOME bloggers here take issue with the happy talk here, but the Euro media has already done its job: to make dissenters unwelcome, and conditioned via Pavlov to hate Trump.

#10 Comment By Mark B. On March 30, 2019 @ 7:06 pm

@ Sid Finster

“…a three headed lesbian from Madagascar as Minister of Sports or something.”

You meant a three breasted lesbian from Madagascar of course. And I would suggest the Ministery of Technology and Liberation.

#11 Comment By JohnT On March 31, 2019 @ 10:17 am

“… conditioned via Pavlov to hate Trump.” That’s a good one!!! A near human creature, little Donnie Drumpf, a disciple of the incorrigibly malignant Roy Cohn prances about as if he were a working class soul with a bright red hat beaming forth his love of the dirty poor among us. Oh how he hates the excesses of the “elites”…well…except for the gold covered room furnishings he keeps about…and a few other minors favorites.
It is no small leap to find in Herr Drumpf the personifications of the utter hypocrisy and malignant need for adoration that lead to the tragic ends of Jim Jones debacle. He sells lies every day for no other reason than his personal gains. Relies upon a propaganda machine pretending to be a news organization. For Jones is was the duplicity of the “Christian” evangelicals in which he found comfort, a cult Drumpf has pulled into his plans as well. Drumpf reaches out in adoration to every proto-fascist leader across the globe. Jones lacked the financial resources to add that one do his repertoire. And yet here on a website calling itself “conservative” we find defenders. Sweet Jesus!

#12 Comment By S On March 31, 2019 @ 10:39 am

No deep bias against anything here. There is no such thing as a free press. It’s all about the paid press.

The press will write and otherwise support whatever they are paid to write.

Case in point – illegal, neo-colonial wars in Persian Gulf and North Africa supported by most of these European countries’ governments you speak about. There is a flood of refugees causing immense social problems. This is a direct result of governments imposing austerity on their people finding billions to bomb the most advanced countries in the region back to the Middle ages. Is there any anti-war movement in any of these countries? A whole host of press articles exposing this? Nope – more war mongering from the ‘left’ and the ‘right’.

Am I surprised at what you have revealed here? No. Just surprised that you have just concentrated on this small part of the fraud and propaganda that the media perpetuates.

#13 Comment By The Village Atheist On March 31, 2019 @ 11:59 am

Someone gets fired and someone gets real crabby. This is simply sour grapes. Something Jon Stewart said long ago has stuck with me; the media doesn’t have a liberal bias, it has a trivial bias. Joe Biden is all “handsy”, the Conways are fighting, Stormy Daniels, Monica Lewinsky, the unending stories about the Royal family, a media/movie/sports figure is accused of sexual misconduct, etc. etc. For all of those who distrust the main stream media, what makes you think the fringe stream is giving you the truth?

#14 Comment By Frank Lettucebee On March 31, 2019 @ 1:18 pm

Same as in the USA, the corporate MSM is conservative not left wing. The corporate MSM includes some of the largest corporations in the world with billions of dollars in after tax profits annually. To think that the corporate MSM is anti-conservative or left wing is logically ridiculous.

There are some outliers like the Fox Fake News Network and the rest of the right wing lie machine that is so far rabid right that they perceive conservative corporate MSM to be left wing. This just shows that self delusion, self deceit, and auto pilot outrage seems to be requirement to live in the right wing world.
Right wingers are such snowflakes. If the listener, viewer, or reader doesn’t share their grand self delusions, they try to brow beat them down with their fanaticism and zealotry. Economic and social conservatives when presented with facts, truth and reality; feel persecuted like any other cult and go in non stop attack mode.

To be fair, loony, loopy PC left wingers, as opposed to liberals and progressives, are the snowflakes too and live for their anguish and outrage just like right wingers.

One of the problems with modern conservatism the USA is that the rabid right has done a coupe and pushed out real conservatives from their own party and movement

#15 Comment By Rick On March 31, 2019 @ 2:19 pm

You’ve seen the devastation in Yemen right? Or the utter annihilation of stability in Syria?

The only bias in the media is one where pablum is elevated and — in your case “exposed” — while entire cities blaze away in human carnage and misery perpetrated against them by both “liberal” and “conservative” regimes.

Get a new job. Get a life. Shut the f&%k up.

#16 Comment By Sid Finster On March 31, 2019 @ 5:26 pm

@Mark B: duly noted, although nominating a three headed lesbian allows for the appeasement of up to three additional grievance groups, as long as each head identifies as something different.

#17 Comment By Eugene Tuttle On April 1, 2019 @ 5:09 am

ARD, a main German state supported news network referred to by the author, illustrated his point again last evening. One of the rare conservative news outlets this morning characterized ARD’s Anne Will talk show coverage of school climate change activists:
“Five guests, one opinion.”

[8]

[9]

These shows consistently stack the decks against guests who diverge from contemporary socio-political orthodoxy championed by most of Germany’s MSM. Early in the 2015 mass refugee influx into Germany, an award-winning Berlin based Swiss journalist among the guests, Frank A. Meyer, spoke of a “community of the faithful” (Glaubensgemeinschaft) forging public opinion on the issue, citing some major news and opinion outlets, such as Der Spiegel, as well as all political parties then represented in Germany’s parliament. The right wing Alternative for Germany party (AfD) was not yet represented there but soon afterward won many parliamentary seats, largely because alternative establishment views were lacking on issues such as the then-popular “refugees welcome” policies.

Guests on that 2015 evening talk show differed only on how best to integrate the expected million new refugees. The eventual return of refugees was not even discussed. Similarly last evening! There was some disagreement as to whether or not it was a good idea for pupils protesting global warming to skip school every Friday. There was no discussion of potentially more economical approaches to dealing with climate change, such as a combination of less radical policies favoring renewable energy and adaptation.

As the author also notes, the fact that governments tax people to subsidize so much tendentious media reporting contributes to the hypocrisy behind the balanced reporting façade.

#18 Comment By Martin Ranger On April 1, 2019 @ 8:06 pm

Or maybe reality has an anti-conservative bias.

#19 Comment By Dan Green On April 2, 2019 @ 12:41 pm

Who really cares about Europe and their Russian boogeyman.So old WW 2 logic.

#20 Comment By Digby On April 8, 2019 @ 5:07 am

Or maybe reality has an anti-American bias.

Fixed that for you. (lest this doesn’t get censored)
The flood of refugees swarming Western Europe would not have been that big of an issue if it weren’t for American meddling in Middle Eastern affairs. This wasn’t new; let’s not forget, for example, the American-backed dictatorship installed in Chile in 1973. If the United States cannot restrain itself from meddling in other countries’ affairs, then it is no surprise that other countries, even its vassals, show disdain. To make a long story short, severing ties with the USA, if not the Anglosphere as a whole, is long overdue.