Ever since the good old days of Nixon, the Right has pounced on the concept that we have a "liberal media." As evidence of such, they point to the Watergate investigation (apparently breaking and entering, diverting campaign funds to criminal activities, exerting executive power to cover up wrongdoing, and basically running a criminal organization from the Oval Office are OK; it's reporting on them that's wrong), Vietnam War coverage, media reports of Ronald Reagan's attempts to get ketchup labelled a vegetable, Dan Rather, CNN, PBS, NPR, the New York Times (and most newspapers in general), coverage of Bush's lies on Iraq, etc. Basically any news that sheds critical light on a Republican policy or action becomes evidence of "liberal bias."
As a term, "liberal media" is so pervasive that any neocon can conjure up a defense and a counter-attack all at once simply by uttering it. It's nearly as powerful as the term "soft on communism" was in the 1950's and 1960's. The latest development in this whole hoax is the new coinage, "Mainstream Media," or "MSM" for short. The MSM is invoked not as it properly should be, which is to differentiate it from the marginal publications out there, but rather as shorthand for both the "liberal media" and some sort of monolithic elitist conspiracy. Somehow, though, FOX News (one of the most popular television outlets), the Wall Street Journal (certainly a venerable and respected example of the print press), widely circulated tabloids like the New York Post, and the nearly inescapable stranglehold right-wingers have on talk radio don't actually count as MSM.
I honestly don't understand that contradiction, unless we are to understand "mainstream" in some context other than "popular" or "widespread."
But back to the Liberal Media. They seem to be everywhere, if you listen to any number of fearmongers on your radio dial. Ann Coulter, widely syndicated columnist for the "MSM," tells us they're everywhere. However, it's also utterly untrue that we have a "liberal media" in the USA.
It's true that liberal media outlets exist: Pacifica radio (WPFW 89.3 in the District for example), small run magazines such as The Nation, but to consider them mainstream or pervasive is nothing more than a perversion of truth. That's why I have to read The Guardian for a dose of liberal press.
Back in the run up to the Iraq Boondoggle, the so-called liberal media couldn't get enough of the Bush Kool-Aid...remember Judith Miller, disgraced reporter for the most prominent target of right-wing hate, the New York Times? Miller was so eager to promote the Bush Adventure that she didn't really give a crap about the veracity of her sources. The Washington Post nearly wore out the skins on their war drums. How about CNN, the supposedly liberal cable news outlet? They were too busy fine-tuning their war production values (ominous music, iconic graphics) to bother to investigate Bush's fabrications. This so-called "liberal media" helped Bush right along.
Personally, I don't see any way out of this utterly false discourse, because in a world in which a sizeable amount of the US electorate can believe both that Barack Obama is a Muslim AND that he's anti-American because of his Christian preacher, you don't stand much chance applying reason.