One phrase I have kept hearing from conservatives is about the “left-liberal-slanted news media.” It’s a convenient scapegoat for them to bring up, for when facts don’t go their way, like in how the Viet Nam war fared for our government, or how unpopular the war had become, or of the rightness of the Civil Rights movement or the other freedom movements that came from it, such as for women, LGBT people, Native Americans, Hispanics, etc.
The phrase “working the ref,” from baseball, describes the conservatives attempt to bully and dominate the news media-the coach of a team accuses the referee of bias in favor of the other team, hoping the referee will in future be biased his way. But if the referee knows he’s being “worked,” and if he has a modicum of backbone, he could see through this act and resist it.
The truth is the “mainstream news” media errs to the right, not offending corporations (such as the media are), hinting at us how we should think about issues. Even NPR I notice biases towards the Republicans when it discusses the election and how Congress (mis)handles such issues as the federal budget deficit (rung up under George W. Bush) and not mentioning how the Congressional Republican (mis)leadership just acts out of denying Obama a second term.
For my part, I noticed the “mainstream news” media follow the Occupy movement a couple of weeks after it started at Wall Street; alternative media sites, like Buzzflash and AlterNet, followed it first, and the corporate media picked up on it later. It’s corporate owners who dictate to their editors what the news should be; Fox News is the most horrific example, but it’s the same way with other news outlets. I believe that you read the “mainstream” news first, to get a baseline for what’s going on, but also read alternative media to get deeper into the issue; and try to get hold of foreign media, they would have a far different, maybe better, perspective of events than American media does.