Why Our Political Culture Sucks: The Hill Decides What’s Left Leaning

I recently read The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media (recommended) and one of the points the book makes is the habit of the media of declaring what’s within bounds. That is, before a proposal or law or anything comes up for discussion in the public sphere, the media has already decided for us just what the parameters are. That’s often why on the progressive side, ideas that the public has shown support for — or even a sizable minority — are considered out of bounds by the media. They don’t report, because they’ve already decided.

Case in point. Kent Conrad is a Democratic senator in North Dakota. By design, within the Democratic tent, he’s a moderate. So why did The Hill describe Conrad’s budget proposal, which is pretty middle of the road stuff, as “left-leaning?”

For an actual “left-leaning” budget proposal, you’d have to look to the offering from the House Progressive Caucus. But the mainstream media did give that proposal the sort of tongue-bath it’s given the Ryan plan to kill Medicare.

Why? It was out of bounds.