The Media Needs More Liberals Like Kirsten Powers

powersConservatives should feel pretty fortunate for outlets like FOX News, talk radio, and new media blogs. Without them, there really wouldn’t be any mechanism in this country for combating the overwhelming problem of liberal bias in our news media. While these sources do indeed offer at least a tiny semblance of a counterbalance, the reality for those of us who truly long for a fair and honest media is that fighting fire with fire will not get us there.

Conservative partiality cannot conquer or even hope to evenly compete against liberal partiality. It can only prevent a complete shutout in the promotion of dueling viewpoints. The liberal establishment in our media is just too widespread, too engrained in our society, and way too comfortable in their harmonious bubble of like-minded thinkers.

Ultimately, ridding bias from the media as whole (or at least marginalizing it) requires a fundamental change from within – one that needs to start with a renewed respect from journalists for their own profession. If a strong majority of journalists legitimately respected the importance and responsibility of their role in a free, democratic society, it wouldn’t make all that much of a difference if they were liberal-minded or conservative-minded. Sure, diversity of thoughts and different perspectives are important factors as well, but a serious sense of professionalism and discipline would lead members of the media to perform their jobs with integrity. And when they didn’t, their bosses would be principled enough to reprimand them.

I’m not exactly making a groundbreaking point here. This is how journalism is supposed to work. In this day and age, however, it doesn’t. There is a stunning lack of both self-awareness and shame in our media right now, and it might just take brave individuals from within their own ranks to change things by publicly challenging their colleagues to get their acts together. After all, it’s one thing for a conservative in the media to denounce liberal bias. It’s quite another for liberal to do it.

Over the past few months, Kirsten Powers has proven to be one of those brave individuals.

Powers is a columnist and commentator for the Fox News Channel. Most FNC viewers are familiar with her, and many have probably disagreed strongly with the solidly liberal political views she’s expressed over the years. I know I have. Unlike her colleagues on the left, however, she has distinguished herself by making known the personal exception she’s taken to the mainstream media’s over-the-top softball treatment of the Obama administration.

Commenting this week on Steve Kroft’s 60 Minutes interview with President Obama and Hillary Clinton on Sunday, in which Kroft chose to largely fawn over the Obama/Clinton relationship instead of challenging either on Benghazi or any other foreign policy issue, Powers said, “…it really was something you would expect from like the state-run media. You know, it was that kind of level of propaganda as far as I’m concerned.”

When have you ever heard that kind of honest media criticism of the left from the left?

Last week, Michael Hastings (a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine) revealed that during the 2012 presidential campaign, reporters (himself included) chose not to ask President Obama tough questions. Hastings wrote in his new book: “That’s the presence of Obama, even on the press corps, even on the people who follow him every day. When they’re near him, they lose their minds sometimes. They start behaving in ways that are juvenile and amateurish, and they swoon.”

Rather than trying to spin Hasting’s observations into a less incriminating explanation (like several on the left did), Powers remarked, “I think we need to hire some grown-ups to cover the president. This is not acceptable behavior…” She went on to say, “The purpose of a journalist is to hold people in power accountable. I know this is probably a surprise to some journalists today, but that’s actually what they’re supposed to be doing. They’re not supposed to be swooning.”

Amen.

Those weren’t the only harsh words Powers had for the presidential race coverage. Back in September, she stated, “This campaign season has been especially egregious in terms of them [the media] just ignoring things that are bad about President Obama and obsessing over things that are, you know, that Mitt Romney has done wrong.”

When weighing in on the media’s reaction to Mitt Romney’s response to the September attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East, she professed, “I mean, it is just absolutely utterly insane the way that they [the media] have elevated this… And the thing is, the outrage that has been expressed over the fact that Mitt Romney put out this statement has even overshadowed any kind of outrage that you would see over the fact that you have Islamic flags being hoisted over American embassies, the fact that an American ambassador is dead.”

Powers has been one of the media’s toughest critics on the coverage of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, regularly pointing out the media’s disinterest in following leads and asking tough questions because the answers would surely reflect poorly on President Obama.  She’s also taken to task the numerous double-standards the media uses in their coverage of Republican politicians versus Democratic politicians.

Her take has been refreshing to listen to, and her decision to voice her grievances on-air is significant. My hope is that her media colleagues on the left are taking note.

Now, I’m sure that even though Kirsten Powers is an unapologetic liberal and dishes plenty of criticism against the conservative media as well, she probably takes a tremendous amount of heat from her fellow lefties for merely being employed by Fox News. And I’m guessing that whenever she speaks out against liberal media bias, her email inbox fills up with angry rants from the angry left, accusing her of being a shill for Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes.

Those people, however, would be wrong. Powers has shown that she comes from an extremely rare breed of modern day liberals in the media that carries a deep pride in the media profession. She realizes how truly vital that profession is in our society, and she’s rightly offended by her peers who do not take their responsibility seriously. Whether or not they share her political views is irrelevant to the job at hand.

This is how all journalists should be viewing their profession. So when one of them not only demonstrates that they get it, but also demands that their peers get it as well, they deserve some praise.

As a conservative, I have no problem saying that the media needs more liberals like Kirsten Powers. The country would be better off for it.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • Chuck

    Kirstin is one of the few liberals i listen to, she is thoughtful about what she says
    and shows great maturity, Something both sides need these days.
    And im a concervative

  • Kevin

    I so miss Tim Russert. He only let his personal bias in when the discussion turned to the Buffalo Bills. But left or right you were getting tough questions. I observed Ms. Powers displaying the same standard of journalistic integrity, especially about Benghazi. Thank you for pointing out so many other instances of that integrity.

    • John Daly

      Russert had a lot of integrity. He flirted with bias a few times, but he was pretty well disciplined.

  • BrianFruman

    While many times I disagree with her she is very fair. Probably the best liberal commentator out there. The point of commentating is to not always follow a simplified talking point but to have some insight of your own. It is healthy to say that not everything that conservative do are good ideas or that they worked out the way they where suppose to. Now it is high time more liberals start realizing some of Obama’s failures without that they will just be repeated. Just a note the failure to move farther left is not a failure. This has to be policy that have been enacted over the last 4+ yrs.

  • Stuart savanuck

    Great commentary…to a mixed audience comprising the rational and irrational, or stated differently, a general sample oft he body politic!

  • Thai Law Forum

    Typical, isn’t it? The state of journalism today is a sad one. Quote approval by politicians has reached a new level: http://www.thailawforum.com/blog/quote-approval-the-end-of-journalism

  • Shane

    I wonder how honest Powers would be about liberal media bias if she were employed at NBC or MSNBC. Most likely she would then keep her mouth shut about the liberal bias of the Lamestream Media.

    • John Daly

      I would hope note.

  • Michael

    I consider myself a moderate Republican and I actually like Kirsten Powers’ position on a lot of issues.

  • ted

    This is just a sneeky trick by Powers so she can get a real job on Fox news.

    • John Daly

      Sad that “honesty” is seen as a trick.

  • therealguyfaux

    Kirsten Powers is a liberal-media version of Mitt Romney, in that she says things people can’t substantively disagree with, but they had much rather she had never said it. Of course you’re not supposed to acknowledge openly that, if you are a Republican, you are starting from behind the eight-ball, both in terms of economic demographics (Romney), and in terms of bucking the cheerleading for the other side (Powers). Why, you’re telling the Emperor he’s naked! “It must needs be that offences…” [perhaps not “offences” in the same sense of the word as in the original, but hey, it’s a good quote!] …”come into this world, but woe betide the one who brings them!”

    • John Daly

      Didn’t understand a word of that. Anyone else?

      • therealguyfaux

        Biblical quote– Hans Christian Andersen reference– sorry for being literate, John. I am properly chastised. What it is, in simple terms even you can understand, John, is they say things that are true, but that people don’t want to hear and cannot contradict, and they get grief for having done so; but it’s necessary that these things be said– but it doesn’t seem to go so good for the one who says it.
        Once again, John, sorry for overestimating you.

        • John Daly

          Try reading it again. Completely nonsensical.

      • Stuart savanuck

        You’re not the only one! But i would expect you would be savvy enough by now to know that once you committed to on- line editorializing, that stuff like this does not deserve a nano-second of even glancing attention, much less comment!

  • GlenFS

    John, good piece. I think Kirsten Powers deserves cudos for her candor and have appreciated her perspective even when usually in disagreement… because I see her telling the truth.

  • cmacrider

    John: I think Pat Cadelle, a registered Dem, needs at least a passing reference in an article of this nature.

    • Stuart savanuck

      I agree, pat Cadell, has distinguished himself, to the extent humanly possible, as an “objective observer” of the contemporary political landscape

  • http://twitter.com/ArizCindy Cindy Clites

    While I’m not particularly fond of Kirsten Powers, I will say that she has risen above her liberal colleagues in that she will bravely say what she feels is right or wrong. Sometimes this does NOT agree with the “liberal bias”. However, it takes bravery nonetheless, and I admire immensely when someone is in actual pursuit of the truth, and not just a viewpoint!

  • DanB_Tiffin

    “State Run Media” – Well, close enough these days.

  • anon

    Uh, in what way is Kirsten Powers a liberal? I think maybe you mean, “conservative that Fox has placed in their ‘liberal’ slot for a fake perception of balance.”

    • John Daly

      Are you kidding me? Have you ever actually listened to her political commentary? From an ideology standpoint, she’s little different than Obama.

      You realize that you made my point in regard to how knee-jerk libs want to misrepresent people like her, don’t you?

      • Patrick H.

        Yeah, I’ve read her columns on the Daily Beast and elsewhere, watched some of her segments on O’ Reilly and elsewhere, she’s really only at odds with fellow liberals over tactics and hypocrisy as opposed to viewpoints. The only viewpoint that I think she shares with conservatives as far as I know is that she opposes the Fairness Doctrine, but just about it.

        • Stuart savanuck

          You’re making Mr. Daly’s point. Im conservative, but a lot of you people need to get your heads out from your ideological derriers!

          • John Daly

            I’m pretty sure Patick was agreeing with me as well. ;)

          • Patrick H.

            Yes I was, I was making the point that most of Kirsten’s disagreements with liberals are over hypocrisy, unfair tactics, and intolerance as well their attempts to silence their opponents(which is why she opposes the Fairness Doctrine) rather than ideological viewpoints (like over gun control, gay marriage, abortion e.g.).

  • anon

    Plus, Kirsten Powers is so hot

    • Stuart savanuck

      Its a sexist pig thing to admit, but besides offering worthwhile insight, for healthy male viewers, she is easy on the eyes. But if she weren’t, to quote paddy chayevsky’s “network”, she “wouldn’t be on television, dummy!”

  • G. Daylan

    During the Bush administration, David Gregory of NBC and Meet the Press opined that it is duty of the press to consistently challenge the administration so that freedom can be preserved. Too bad he has abandoned that position.

    • John Daly

      Remarkable, isn’t it?

  • http://twitter.com/BeauNuerr Beau Nuerr

    Agreed. Good work.