Sunday, July 19, 2015

Why is the press so unanimously left-leaning?

Freedom of the press is one of the most important core principles of a free modern society. It's sacrosanct. Censorship of the press is, in fact, one of the key features of totalitarianism. That's why censorship of the press is abhorrent.

The press has always been the voice of freedom. The press has never shied away from scrutinizing, investigating, uncovering, exposing and even sensationalizing events, but for fame and profit (and, to be fair, sometimes even for a good cause, and because of journalistic principles.) If people want to hear it, they will write about it. If it sells, they will write about it. Nothing is too holy, too taboo. People have the right to know, and the press is one of the major forces exposing the things that are wrong in society. The press has also always been a major force in sensationalizing, exaggerating and even distorting things just for publicity and profit; this of course isn't always a good thing, but it shows that the press never shies away from anything that will sell.

Except that, somehow, it does.

Censorship of the press is abhorrent and a sign of totalitarianism. Yet, somehow, the press at large censors itself. This baffles my mind to no end.

For example here in Finland every single major (and by far the vast majority of minor) newspapers and magazines are heavily left-leaning. You won't find a right-leaning newspaper anywhere. Not a single one. Every single one of them follows the exact same strict left-wing political agenda. Every single one. It's almost like they have all agreed on following the exact same political principles. This even though there is demand for more neutral and even right-wing press.

It's not a question of whether it's right or wrong. It's a question that it baffles my mind how the press, which should be both completely free to do whatever they want and does not shy away from publishing what the public wants to see, can be so tightly and unanimously one-sided.

This goes beyond just bias. They will self-censor. They will not publish certain stories, or those stories will be heavily biased. They will leave out details if those details would go against their left-wing agenda. They will exaggerate and present in a negative light anything that goes against that agenda. In many cases they will even go against well-established journalistic ethics to do so (by eg. blatantly fabricating stories, or distorting and lying about them.)

That in itself is not the surprising part. That would be quite normal if some papers did that, while others were more neutral, and others had the opposite narrative.

But no. Every single one of them does that. Even the most neutral newspapers are left-leaning, and will occasionally print biased one-sided stories. Not a single one of them will present the opposite narrative.

And to my knowledge, Finland is not the only country where this is happening. This is really prevalent all over Europe. (The Swedish media is even more egregiously one-sided and far-left than Finnish media is, with not even a single counter-example. But the same is true for many other European countries.)

I can't understand how this is possible. Where are those journalists who dare to be different, who dare to go against the norm, who dare to be sensationalistic in the other direction? Where are those journalists who criticize the rest of the press for being so politically unilateral, for self-censorship, for distorting and fabricating stories? Why aren't there any newspapers or other forms of media that would expose them, or even present the right-wing side of things? Where are they? Why do they not exist? How is this possible?

(I'm not saying that individual such journalists don't exist. It just seems that no newspaper is like that, and thus you never get to see what those few individual contrarians have to say.)

I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it certainly feels like the entirety of the press has agreed to follow one single political agenda, and somehow succeeded in stifling or scaring away dissenters. I don't know how exactly they have succeeded in that (or whether it's just something that has, somehow, naturally formed without explicit intent.)

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