In an interview with Buzzfeed, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that the dominance of the old liberal media is over and that social media has leveled the playing field:
Let me tell you, I think The New York Times monopoly is over,” McConnell said. “Arthur Sulzberger used to have the biggest megaphone in America. And all you have to do is look at the dwindling size of newspapers, even one as big as his.
To the extent that there isn’t media domination like there was in the days NBC, ABC, CBS The New York Times, The Washington Post, particularly since most people on my side of the aisle feel they had a pretty obvious bias … those days are over. I kind of like this new environment. I think its much more competitive, much more balanced.
From a conservative point of view we have a better chance of competing in the marketplace of ideas.
McConnell is largely right—the old media model has been disintegrating for years. Newspapers are seeing their print circulation decline as readers flee to the Internet where the news is free, or mostly free, and use social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter to get at least a portion of their news. The newest threat is now coming from mobile devices, smartphones and tablets where both newspapers and networks are rushing to create apps to try and retain readers even if it means that they receive little in the way of revenue.
While the Internet and social media have disrupted the old media model, liberal media bias still exists. Some of the most visited websites are the liberal papers and networks that McConnell speaks about. Media bias isn’t dead, it’s just shifted online.
McConnell is right, though, that the playing field has been leveled to a great extent. Conservatives had very few options when it came to news until Fox News burst on the scene. It is now the number one cable news network. But conservatives had to play catch-up with the liberals as sites like the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos grabbed an early toehold on the Internet. Conservatives, however, appear to have an edge on Twitter and some other social media platforms.
The liberal media is reeling from the collapse of their news monopoly, but they won’t go down without a fight.