I received an infographic showing the political alignment of leading media and publishing houses in the USA and the UK. You can see the infographic here.
It is remarkable to see the dominance of leftist publications to the extent that anything on the centre of the right is considered the source of fake news and detrimental to society. CNN, BBC, TIME, and The New York Times, all well-known news sources, align with political-left views. What confounds me is that in a capitalist society like the US, left-leaning media thrives and overwhelmingly shapes opinions. Politically right-aligned media like FoxNews get discredited and even ridiculed for their news and point of view.
The situation in other democratic societies is not different, where the popular media espouses political-left opinions. For example, in India, major newspapers and TV channels, The Hindu, Outlook, Frontline, and NDTV all have heavy left leanings.
Here it is essential to understand the difference between free media and unbiased media. In most democratic societies, free media exists but it does not mean that it is unbiased. Journalistic ethics allow media to have bias to support a point of view. But it is easy to breach a thin line between having a point of view and resorting to outright activism, which the websites like The Wire do in India. When the readers get balanced information then they can make the right decisions.
In our times, the left-biased media dominance is the fact of the day that constantly bombards us with the news and opinions from the ‘reputed sources’. They effectively control our brains to judge what is right or wrong by providing us with their ideological compass of morality and ethical conduct.
The desire to get a balanced view has made alternative media sources popular, which often take a political-right stand and provide commentary from perspectives that do not suit the left-aligned media. Donald Trump called mainstream media lame-stream media and refused to speak with the mainstream journalists for their biased opinions often against Trump.
PM Modi prefers direct dialogue with all sections of society. In India, Opindia, Swarajya, and The Jaipur Dialogues provide the news and views about the events, which the ‘reputed media’ blacks out or underreports.
Alternate channels enjoy huge viewership but still they come under attack for spreading the hate and fake news from the left biased media. In our world, where the left biased media has claimed the crown of respectability and authenticity, the democracies can be best served with balanced views. This makes alternative media the sixth column of democracy that we learn to follow and respect.
Anahita is based in Europe and runs an organization called The Culture Club.