Liberal bias

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Reality has a well-known liberal bias.
Stephen Colbert[1]

Liberal bias is a term used in two ways. First, the most obvious and realistic:

  1. A bias towards liberal political views.

Second, as conservative pundits seem to understand it:

2.1. Where an issue is presented in such a way as to downplay points of view expressed by conservatives.
2.2. A pejorative to describe any fact or opinion that conservatives don't like.
2.3. Lies from the Devil intended to lead you away from their political agenda.
2.4. Facts.[note 1]

The first definition is fairly straightforward. It is true that some news organizations do have a left-leaning stance, just as a number of news organizations have a right-leaning stance; one can't read The Guardian or watch Rachel Maddow without feeling a teeny weeny slight lean to the left, but they at least usually acknowledge this fact.[note 2] However, the second definition is far more interesting, as it tells us something about the attitudes of some pundits and commentators to things that they don't agree with.

From a conservative POV[edit]

The American right, for example, occupies half of the ideological spectrum and ranges from doctrinaire conservatives like modern Republicans all the way to goose-stepping Neo-Nazis and Dominionists who have little to no idea what "morality" actually means.[note 3][note 4] What they share is a contempt for the grievances of the left-wing, some of which survive news coverage filters. A common tactic of many wingnuts is to dismiss news stories and facts if they consider them to be written in such a way that they distort the truth and present the story with a "liberal" slant. Many commentators are quick to use the argument that any story that doesn't fit with their preconceived notions or understanding of an issue must be wrong, and thus it has a liberal (or other) bias and is actually pushing an agenda — whereas they, of course, are being impartial.

There is a long history of accusing the media of a liberal bias, mainly as a method to discredit critics without having to disprove the point they make (ad hominem). Papers that supported the civil rights movement and labor union movement in the United States were frequently accused of having liberal and/or communist leanings by conservatives. In South Africa, anti-apartheid news outlets were accused of having liberal biases and providing ideological support for the anti-apartheid movement. Unsurprisingly, they were frequently subjected to government censorship.[citation needed]

The accusation of a liberal bias in the media has become so widespread in conservative circles and conversation that the term "Mainstream Media" (MSM) is largely a colloquialism for "liberal media".

Organizations that conservatives frequently accuse of being liberal:

Other liberally curious things[edit]

Conservatives don't stop at just accusing news organizations of having a liberal bias. In fact, if everything had the liberal bias that conservatives claimed, reality itself would surely have some form of liberal bias;[note 5] either that, or liberals are so devious that they have managed to take control over every form of communication to distort the truth.

Here is a short list of places conservatives have found liberal bias:


Conservatives who lambast anything for having a liberal bias most likely genuinely believe what they are saying. It is a staple of the ideology to stand for 'tradition' and the status quo,Wikipedia so it is not surprising that many conservatives are firmly entrenched in their personal opinions and beliefs and will employ willful ignorance when confronted with opposing viewpoints, no matter the accuracy. A story that can be firmly based in fact can be accused of having a liberal bias because it goes against a central part of conservative thought and political discourse (e.g. evolution or global warming, at least with American conservatives). If a news organization is actually left-leaning, or if conservatives suspect it of being left-leaning, news stories can't be trusted, and every fact mentioned now comes up for question.

This type of ignorance can have a terrible effect, and in Texas has actually led to whitewashing of history in school textbooks.[33]

Conservative leaders and others have darker motives, though, and attacking critics for having liberal bias is meant to discredit them, and also to discredit what could otherwise be legitimate criticisms.

See also[edit]


  1. Re-Improved Colbert transcript (now with complete text of Colbert-Thomas video!), Daily Kos, 30 April 2006
  12. The comment section alone will tell you this.
  30. See the Conservative Bible Project.
  31. See War on Science.
  32. See RationalWiki:Pissed at us, roughly half of which is conservatives being butthurt over being called out as evil buffoons. (The other half is cranks and charlatans who are butthurt over being exposed as bullshit peddlers.)
  33. See this article on textbooks. (That source is from the New York Times, though, so it obviously cannot be trusted. /s)


  1. We would say "facts that don't support their political agenda", but given that most people screeching about "liberal bias" are far enough to the right of the political spectrum to be bunkmates with Adolf Hitler and being hideously ignorant of reality is practically a requirement for anyone with a functional conscience and/or an IQ over 50 to think that alt-right views have even a fraction of a shred of logical validity and/or value to society… well, the Venn diagramWikipedia of "facts that disagree with a conservative agenda" and "empirical facts supported by scientific evidence" is for all intents and purposes a circle anyways.[citation NOT needed]
  2. RationalWiki itself has been accused of leaning to the left more than a man who has had his left leg blown off. While most of our users and political articles are left-leaning (see the Stephen Colbert quote at the top of the page for why), they clearly haven't read our articles on communism and capitalism.
  3. Even after Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy (read: blatantly pandering to bigoted psychopathic fuckwits longing for the days when owning black people was legal Dixiecrats) kickstarted the Republican Party's slide towards absolute moral depravity, there still used to be a sub-camp of Republicans who were actually [generally] sane and decent people who just happened to be wary of change and/or fond of the concept of capitalism. If conservatives who are generally sane and decent people still exist, there is very little evidence that they still have any power or influence, as they have been increasingly drowned out by the likes of Donald Trump and his rabid supporters, including the aforementioned Neo-Nazis and the Religious Right.
  4. And let's be honest, nobody in their right mind would call meritocracy — which is what [pure] capitalism aims to be on an economic scale — a bad thing (except as far as it leads to the unskilled having their [basic] human rights neglected). Much like its opposite — e.g. communism — the problems with capitalism tend to manifest not on paper but in practice. Specifically, the big problem with capitalism is that people who are already rich and powerful (who usually had to be fairly ruthless to become rich and powerful in the first place) have a huge advantage over people who are not currently rich and powerful — which wouldn't even be that bad if not the fact that already rich and powerful people, if allowed to do whatever the fuck they want, tend to go out of their way to suppress and destroy potential rivals before they can grow into threats to their financial and sociopolitical security — and given how power structures in nature work (which our lizard brains will always remember), the list of "potential threats" tends to amount to "literally everybody else". The result is, to paraphrase George Orwell, a very large boot perpetually smashing the little guy's face.
  5. Spoiler alert: it does.