Media Matters has a new report out today analyzing a number of points from years of polling data and other means, and they come to a conclusion that is about to shock the established narrative crowd: the United States is fundamentally a progressive nation, not a conservative one.
The report, entitled “The Progressive Majority: Why A Conservative America Is A Myth,” pokes holes in a number of established media narratives that have cropped up over the years. And it is no wonder that these myths have gotten planted, given how frequently Wurlitzer folks repeat them — but, honestly, isn’t it time we all started saying to pundits and political consultants “And your proof of this is…?”
For example, after the Democratic takeover of Congress in the 2006 elections, media talking heads scrambled to come up with reasons that Democrats won and Republicans lost. The narrative that many of them settled on was that Democrats won because they ran more conservative candidates. But that is altogether false and unsupported by facts, according to Media Matters:
In truth, however, the Democratic class of 2006 was remarkably progressive. According to a survey conducted by Media Matters, all 30 newly elected House Democrats advocated raising the minimum wage, supported changing course in Iraq, and opposed efforts to privatize Social Security. All but two supported embryonic stem cell research and only five described themselves as “pro-life” on the issue of abortion. Thirty-seven House and Senate candidates who promoted “fair trade” rather than “free trade” won; and none of them lost. Candidates in the freshman class who were conservative on a particular issue got the lion’s share of the attention [from the media], but they were a distinct minority.
The report goes on to detail more instances with regard to public sentiment falling squarely in the progressive camp, and not in the mythological “conservative America” camp that the media and conservative politicians and pundits play up without a supporting factual basis. For example:
— On free markets versus regulation: “American believe in private enterprise, but they also understand that the profit motive does not serve the public interest.”
— On taxes: “…although people are happy to have their taxes cut, they worry about increasing the deficit or starving infrastructure to do it.”
— On “values:” “When a Zogby poll after the election asked voters what was “the most urgent moral problem in American culture,” 33 percent picked “greed and materialism,” 31 percent chose “poverty and economic issues,” 16 percent said “abortion,” and 12 percent said “same-sex marriage.”
And there are a large number of other issues detailed as well in the report, which ought to make the opinion-pushers and the pundit classes stop to think. (The section on increased tolerance and acceptance of homosexual rights alone is going to make Gary Bauer’s head explode.) But the media has to stop repeating false and unsubstantiated myths without first asking the person being interviewed — and themselves — what factual information and hard data they have to support the assumptions they have been repeating ad nauseum.
Seems to me that the conservative Wurlitzer is gonna need to start putting a whole lotta lipstick on a much larger pig if that happens.
(Lipstick photo via Sashamd.)