We all know what happened with the Iraq war. After the initial success of the invasion and lots of hoopla, reports soon start emerging that there's a growing insurgency; the Right says that it's just dead-enders who shouldn't be paid any attention to. There are reports that basic services and infrastructure aren't working; the Right says that everything is going well and attacks the media for not reporting on the great progress being made. The media reports that the insurgency has grown, sectarian violence is rampant, and the whole country is on the verge of civil war; the Right says it's all liberal bias and that things are just dandy in Iraq. Finally, after almost four years of this, the Right concedes that things aren't going so well after all.
Now if you're a sane person, you probably see this as evidence that the Right's belief in "liberal media bias" is not only wrong, but has become so badly exaggerated in the conservative mind that they've lost the ability to discern reality from fantasy.
But if you're not a sane person, then you come to conclusions like this:
In the end, I think the media bears fundamental responsibility for this. Had they been less biased–had they reported acts of heroism and the many good things we have done in Iraq–I think conservatives would actually have taken their reporting of the problems in Iraq more seriously. In effect, the media’s consistent liberal bias discredits even its valid reports.But you are right that MSM’s failings place a burden on smart conservatives not to be too dismissive, just because of the bias. We wish the media were more balanced, and therefore more believable. But we only hurt ourselves if we automatically dismiss anything MSM reports. Again, I think the media bears the lion’s share of the responsibility for this problem.
You see, it's not conservatives' fault that they didn't believe that things were going badly -- it's the media's fault for telling them that things were going badly. If only the media had been more wrong, then conservatives wouldn't have been so badly misled. Or something like that.
(hat-tip to Kevin Drum.)