Writing in this space two months ago, I laid out the media advantage that President Obama has in his quest for reelection. According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, 32 percent of journalists say they are liberal, 53 percent moderate and just 8 percent conservative. Ask John McCain how the press treated him in 2008 if you want specifics on the tilt toward Obama.
A great illustration of media bias is the recent dustup over Sandra Fluke. She is the liberal activist trotted out by the Democratic Party to deflect the contraception issue away from the "church-state" controversy the White House was losing and into the more emotional "women's health" arena. Nancy Pelosi herself organized a press dog-and-pony show for Fluke, who portrays herself as a law student having a rough time paying for birth control pills. She wants the feds to pick up the tab through mandated insurance benefits even though the pills cost about $9 a month at places like Wal-Mart, and are distributed free at health clinics under Title Ten legislation.
But you won't find those facts being discussed much in the national media. No, for them, Fluke is a victim of a cruel system that wants to unduly burden American women.
Of course, Fluke was handed an enormous gift by Rush Limbaugh when he made demeaning comments about her. Immediately, the committed left-wing media machine, led by the amazingly dishonest Media Matters website, cranked up two themes: that Limbaugh should be deported to Tonga, and that he is the real power behind the Republican Party.
MSNBC, which is now partnered with Media Matters in the quest to disseminate left-wing propaganda, went wild, and so, to a lesser extent, did other national media outlets. The story line is that because the Republican candidates did not call for Limbaugh to be sent to Guantanamo Bay, they endorsed his attitude toward Fluke. The analysis was so hysterical that it could have been a Jon Stewart bit, and in fact it was.
The bigger picture is this: Voters who do not pay close attention to public policy and political controversies are at the mercy of so-called "prevailing wisdom" — that is, what they hear around town, from their friends, etc. As long as most of the media, including the entertainment industry, promote one particular candidate for president, that person will have a major advantage in November.
But informed voters know the fix is in, although there's little they can do about it. A Pew survey taken in January found that 67 percent of Americans believe there is bias in news coverage. They are right, and it is toward the left.
Few in the press are reporting the truth about Sandra Fluke. That is an indicator of what the American media have become, as well as what is likely to come as the election campaign unfolds.
Veteran TV news anchor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor" and author of the book "Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama." To find out more about Bill O'Reilly, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com. This column originates on the website www.billoreilly.com.