An End to Liberal Media?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," April 28, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, GUEST HOST: A new survey by the Missouri School of Journalism shows that most Americans think the news is biased — no surprise there. Of those, 48 percent say that the bias is liberal; 30 percent say it's conservative.

But our next guest says the era of liberal dominance and political correctness in the media is coming to an end. Brian Anderson is author of "South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias."

Brian, that's today's big question: Are liberals finally losing the media culture war?

BRIAN ANDERSON, AUTHOR, "SOUTH PARK CONSERVATIVES": Well, I think losing is probably too much to say. But it is the case that they're no longer winning.

NAPOLITANO: All right.

ANDERSON: There's been a huge transformation in our media landscape over the last five or six years really and liberals are now fighting a battle.

NAPOLITANO: Tell us about that transformation. And then I want to ask you about how the liberals are fighting back.

ANDERSON: Sure. The three big mediums are talk radio, cable news and now the Internet and the blogosphere. Huge, huge numbers of Americans are moving over to these new media. The average age of a CBS News (search) watcher or any of the network news watcher is now 60.

NAPOLITANO: Average age, 60?

ANDERSON: That's the average age. So, if you look at the commercials, they're for things like Mylanta and Viagra.

NAPOLITANO: All right.

ANDERSON: Kids and younger Americans are moving over to the new media. And in each of these new media, conservatives, right-of-center voices, do very well.

NAPOLITANO: What's the average age for FOX News, for cable in general, for talk radio, for the bloggers?

ANDERSON: Talk radio is a little older. Bloggers are the youngest, no question about it.

The blogger audience is almost exactly inverse to the CBS News audience. Put it that way. So, you can see the horizon of the future there. And cable news generally attracts a younger demographic as well.

NAPOLITANO: Do Americans still trust journalists?

ANDERSON: I think not. And you just cited one poll. And that's only the latest in about five or six major polls that have come out over the last few years, which say, "No way. We don't trust journalists at all." And there have been a lot of reasons for that. The Dan Rather (search) incident...


NAPOLITANO: Right. When did all of this begin to unravel for the liberal media dominance?

ANDERSON: It started with Rush Limbaugh (search) and the rise of talk radio in the early '90s. Then you had the emergence of cable news and FOX News in particular in the mid-'90s.

And now, with the blogs, really only in the last five years, I would say we have seen this big shift. And you've got now 12 percent of Americans reading political blogs. That's 26 million people reading a medium that didn't exist five years ago. It's an amazing shift.

NAPOLITANO: All right.

ANDERSON: And it's something I think is very healthy for our political debate.

NAPOLITANO: Are the liberals fighting back?

ANDERSON: Yes, no question. They've launched Air America (search) over the last year and it's not been very successful. I've been, in fact, writing about this over the last few weeks. Their ratings are pretty low right now.

And you've got Al Gore TV (search) coming up pretty soon, although it was interesting that Al Gore — when he announced his new station — said this wasn't going to be Air America goes TV.


ANDERSON: An indication that maybe people are a little worried about.

NAPOLITANO: He is actually going to come out now with a television network that he will either own, manage, control or be on the board of directors on.

ANDERSON: Yes. Yes. That's exactly right.


NAPOLITANO: And what are they going to do? What can we expect to see on there?

ANDERSON: He's aiming at a younger audience. And I think you'll see a pretty liberal slant in its news delivery.

But, you know, it's still a shifting landscape and I think right-of- center voices still have some way to go before they draw even.


NAPOLITANO: We only have a few seconds left. I've got to ask you about your book.


NAPOLITANO: What are "South Park" conservatives?

ANDERSON: Well, another theme in the book is the emergence of what I call anti-liberal humor or "South Park" conservatism.

It's a characteristic you see a lot among students on campus now. They may not be traditionally conservative, but they hate political correctness and really reject the Nancy Pelosi (search) left, let's say. And "South Park" itself is a very irreverent, very offensive TV show.


ANDERSON: But it often makes fun of liberals. That's something new.

NAPOLITANO: Brian Anderson, author of "South Park Conservatives." Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

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