The White Supremacy Lie

The Rittenhouse Trial and Rightwing Media Fabrication

It is an old canard pushed by rightwing pundits and officials that the U.S. media are “liberally biased.” This narrative again returned in Greenwald and Carlson’s conversation about news reporting on the Rittenhouse trial. But there’s little reason to take this rhetoric seriously. As an expert on political communication who’s spent the last two decades studying the question of political and ideological bias in U.S. media, and as someone who’s written 11 academic books on the topic, I can confidently say there’s been virtually no evidence presented by scholars of a pervasive liberal media bias. There’s plenty of research identifying an official source bias more generally. For example, my own research finds that journalists’ privileging of specific partisan sources shifts depending on which party controls government, with the media favoring Republicans when they control Congress and the White House, with coverage favoring Democrats when they control these branches, and with reporting split between coverage of both parties when control of the branches is divided between Democrats and Republicans. Journalists have even admitted to favoring the in-power party in their reporting, as they recently moved to privilege the Democratic Party in its maneuvering on Congressional spending bills, while ignoring the Republicans due to their minority status in government.

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Anthony DiMaggio is Associate Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University. He is the author of Rising Fascism in America: It Can Happen Here (Routledge, 2022), in addition to Rebellion in America (Routledge, 2020), and Unequal America (Routledge, 2021). He can be reached at: anthonydimaggio612@gmail.com. A digital copy of Rebellion in America can be read for free here.

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