Media Critic Dan Gainor on the Expanding Liberal Bias
Doug talks with Dan Gainor, prominent media critic in America.
Jerry Ewalt: Welcome to the First Right podcast, a weekly conservative news show brought to you by Restoration of America. I'm your host, Jerry Ewalt chief marketing officer for Restoration of America. Today. We are blessed to have a special guest, a prominent media critic in America. Dan Gainor, Dan has been doing this for decades and understands liberal media bias and how it changed over the years. Dan, welcome to the show.
Dan Gainor: Well, thank you. It's a pleasure to be on.
Jerry Ewalt: All right. So my first question for you, right? I, I, the audience really wants to know, give us your background and the evolution of your career and how you got to this point today.
Dan Gainor: Well, I, I started in journalism and when I started in journalism, I was a college newspaper editor, university of Maryland Baltimore county, which is just two, it's just a weekly, but it whetted my appetite for journalism. And then I got a job coming out of college at the Baltimore news America, which doesn't exist anymore, like many newspapers, but that was the beginning. I moved around a little bit. I worked at the Washington times for several years, and then I went and did a couple of new startups, but around the.com era, I started getting involved more in publishing, not straight journalism, but financial publishing and.com era was a bad era to be doing startups. So ended up losing, not one but couple jobs and you know, that places just cease to exist or whatever. And so then I got recruited for a job at the media research center. I worked at MRC for almost 18 years. A lot of people know the MRC for more for news busters.org. But then, you know, in that job, I criticized the media then D you know, used my journalism experience to tell them they were doing a bad job, which mine, gosh, they do a bad job. So, so that's, that's kind of the evolution of the things. And then I see about working for the bee research center. Like I was, you know, when you're a journalist, you were supposed to be neutral, supposed to be, nobody is anymore, but you're supposed to be. And so once I'd worked in there, I could be open about my politics, my, my beliefs, and yeah, I'm conservative and I didn't have to hide it.
Jerry Ewalt: Well, that's a, that's great. And you, and that in your career span, what? 30, 30, 30 plus years is that right?
Dan Gainor: Let's go with 30.
Jerry Ewalt: We'll go with 30. Okay. No, but it's, it's important, right? Because you, you have a unique, I'm sorry, what was that
Dan Gainor: I said, it sounds better than the actual number was closer to 40.
Jerry Ewalt: Well, I think, you know, it's important that the audience knows, right? Because you have this unique perspective and your, your background is so diverse, that's going to help. It's going to make you uniquely qualified to answer some of these questions. Right. So for me, I want to know, right. If I want your perspective on the nature of media bias today in America, and how has it changed over time?
Dan Gainor: Well, journalism has always been biased. There's a, there's a great movie, starring Humphrey Bogart that takes place. I think in the 1930s called Deadline USA, anybody who likes journalism should watch this movie on free burger. That's great net. And it was actually the foundational idea for the old TV show, new grant show, but it talked about running sort of a progressive newspaper, even in that movie. And so by the time you hit the fifties with Edward R Murrow and the sixties with Walter Cronkite, you know, the journalists, the prominent journalists were all pretty much liberal. We later found out, you know, as they retired, they were, they were more open about it. But then with Nixon journalists learned the worst lesson they could have ever learned. They learned that they could take down a Republican president if they were aggressive about it, not they could take down a corrupt president, just a Republican president, they don't.
And so that drew people into the industry who are, you know, very activist. Then we've got the internet and the internet basically gave people a chance to push back, which may journalists, who are always pretty thin-skinned about errors. I made the more aggressive blogging, really escalated things. And with the arrival of social media journalists, who used to be kind of quiet or try to be somewhat quiet about their biases, they put them all out there because that got them clicks and follows and retweets and everything else. Right. So, so the last really, you know, even a little bit before Trump really things escalated. And then the arrival of Trump, the media just, you know, they felt rejected by a guy who was one of their own, he was a media creation. And so that's, they just went nuts.
Jerry Ewalt: Well, we're, we're gonna, we're going to definitely talk about Trump a bit here. Cause I think, you know, that that was maybe an inflection point here, but w what you were saying makes a lot of sense, right. Because all of a sudden, everyone became journalists. Whether we went to school like you did, and have all the experience with it or not, it didn't matter because everyone became a journalist, you have the internet and all the social media, and then you say something and it becomes, it goes viral. Right. And that kind of is a reinforcing loop that kind of adds to the, the fear of it and gets it gets everyone riled up. Right.
Dan Gainor: Well, yeah. And remember the, the first amendment isn't just to protect journalists, a lot of journalists, think the first amendment protecting them now, freedom of the press protects everyone. And especially in this day and age where we all can be journalists. So if you're out somewhere and you, something happen, whether it's a fire or arrest or a crime or explosion, anything like that, you've got phones and video right there, and you can, you can cover it. And that's the way journalism. I mean, that's supposed to be that way.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. It's real time, anywhere in the world right now. So it definitely contributes to it. So I'll say I'll do this, Dan. So I, I think, you know, so far we've kind of stayed in the middle a bit. Right. And I want, I want you to move a little bit to the left here or a lot to the left. And when did we start to see the, the liberal media machine kick into high gear? You know, you, you mentioned Trump a few times, was it with Trump and the, the infamous Trump derangement syndrome? Or was it something that happened earlier?
Dan Gainor: It was Bush Gore back before I started working at the media research center, I was working on a book about, but that never got published. So it's, you know, don't nobody go to Amazon for this. But I was working on a book about how the left use the internet. And I've been online since 1995 for basically, since we got the worldwide web and I saw how quickly they went off the deep end, then in their sort of odd ball defense. I think if the right head, if the Supreme court ruling had been reversed in Bush gore, I think the right would have gone off the deep end. And so they went off the deep end and there's no looking back. The, the stuff that you saw 20 years ago online, where the most radical leftist activists were talking about it, whether it's gender or race or, you know, sexuality, whatever it was, they were promoting that then. And the people who were promoting that then are in charge now. And that's really so, so I think that was the inflection point. Trump Trump was what I think the military likes to refer to it as a force multiplier.
And so two Trump arrives. This is like, okay, do you think it was bad before? And I remember joking, a friend of mine is reporter. And we, we talked a lot during Trump. The first Christmas time during Trump, we all got a week off and the media kind of calmed down, everybody kind of relaxed. I thought, okay, things won't be so up. Nope. That was, that was the last week we had during Trump. And even now here it is. Yeah. We're getting closer to two years, you know, since the election and all the media can talk about as Donald Trump. Yeah.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. So you, you had, so it started 20 years ago in your opinion. Right. And things started kicking into high gear. Maybe not everyone noticed it, but as, as time progressed, we saw a focal point in Trump, right. Where people were able to focus their attention on it. And at the same time, we did see a shift in certain people coming into power to help amplify that even further. Is that what you're saying?
Dan Gainor: Yeah. I mean, the fact that Trump ran for election, all the media guaranteed, he wouldn't win. I mean, you remember election night with that New York times meter that was, you know, said 95 or 97%, and then watching it during the night is it shift. And that actually was the second major thing to happen that year, because remember Brexit happened and Britain experienced the exact same thing that we experienced, where there was this disconnect from polling and reality where ordinary people had their say and it didn't go with what the establishment wanted. So I remember staying up and watching the BBC that night and staying up and watching CNN on election night. And both times they were shell shocked, you know, that, and that's, that's when, you know, they, they, they lost the election and Nate, you know, in their like, and when I say they lost journalists, lost an election, they threw their full weight at and they decided, okay, that didn't work. So now we're going to do even more.
Jerry Ewalt: They're doubling down basically what you're saying.
Dan Gainor: I wouldn't say doubling. I mean, you know, what's like infinity and down
Jerry Ewalt: The force multiplier that you mentioned, right? Yeah. Look where we're at today. So I mean, that, that leads me to my next question. Right. So it's, it's insane out there and we'll say both sides, right? I'm not going to sit back and say that, that the conservatives do it better, or haven't used these tactics as well, but for, for your average, every day, non news junkie, right. How do they go out and get the, get the news? How do they understand what's really going on in the world? Because you're, you're being bombarded with, with, you know, liberal media and conservative media. And how do you figure out how to get in the middle? I mean, can we do that? How would you recommend we do it?
Dan Gainor: Well, I mean, there's no, there's, there's a lot fewer outlets that, you know, that one side or the other would look at it and say, it's neutral, associated press used to be that way. Associate press it's far to the left that. So, so, you know, it's the only way to do it is to have a healthy news diet. And that means, you know, you don't just like you would eat. Normally you don't eat all of one thing. If you're, if you're a conservative, make a point of, you know, monitoring some liberal sites, you know, look at CNN and MSNBC, but also pick some people who are prominent people on the other side, if you, if you're active on social media and follow them in the same, if you're conservative, you know, do the same thing, you have to peep pick people, both sides a little bit and pick some outlets on both sides.
You won't find necessarily the middle, but you'll tack closer to it. And if something big happens that you're interested in, I, and again, if you're active on social media, particularly Twitter, or get her, or wherever, I strongly urge you to pick, to find some good experts, the war Ukraine, as a history buff, I find the war in Ukraine said depressing, but fascinating because you're watching, you know, something happened in real time. And I didn't feel that the media were covering it enough or properly for me. So I sought out experts and it was a couple of people I found who seem particularly intelligent. And so I followed them on Twitter. And they're my, go-to not the major media.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. I think that's, that's really good advice, right. Because I, I find myself in normal, everyday conversations with people outside, maybe my, my social circle. And, you know, maybe they're liberal, obviously I'm, I'm conservative here, but, but there's such a, there's such a gap and, and both sides need to understand, you know, how the other fields so that you could try to figure out how to get to that common ground. And the only way you could do it really is trying to understand or put yourself in that person's shoes, reading some, you know, finding those experts, as you said, maybe on both sides to get both perspectives and then make your own decision. Right. Don't, don't just side with one, because that's what I always listened to or that expert, but make your own decision.
Dan Gainor: Well, you just, you talked about, but didn't use the word you use. One of my favorite things. You talked about empathy. Yeah. And you know, I mean, the war in Ukraine is a great example. I I'm very strongly on the side of Ukraine personally, I have pretty American nieces and a Ukrainian American sister-in-law, I'm not neutral on this issue one iota, but there are some conservatives who, because the, the left has backed Ukraine. There's conservatives who reflexively been critical of that. Now you can be critical of the spending, how much money we're throwing in Ukraine and all live long day. And I don't, I don't blame you, but, but you have to have some empathy about what is happening in Ukraine to kind of see both sides. And so that's what I would urge people to do in general. And, and then also, if something is rapidly moving news event shooting, or any sort of, you know, natural disaster or anything like that, assume a lot of what is initially reported will be wrong. And that's just the thought of journalism has always been called the, the first draft of history. The first draft is often wrong. So you just have to accept that. And don't blame necessarily journalists who, you know, they, they got information from person a look at the U Valdi case. We're continuing to hear more and more damning information about how the police mishandled that. And everyday you hear more like, oh my God. And so, you know, if you had just taken the police account, initially you would believe one thing, if you looked at things now it's complete, complete opposite.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. I think, I think that's powerful, right? We talked about the speed of the internet and how people are jumping in and they're becoming their own reporters now. And things like that. We moved to conclusion too quickly, right? We're, we're getting things real time, but we also try to make a decision instantly on what actually happened. And to your point, many times that could be wrong. We need to get all the facts and figures before we make more conclusive decision.
Dan Gainor: Well, I look at video, particularly if you see video and you only see a tiny bit of the video, assume that there's more to it. I'm thinking particularly right now, the Nicholas sand and case where, you know, the, the confrontation happened in DC where native American goes up and is drumming right in his face. And Nicholas SAMSA standing there, cause he didn't know what to do. And he's just a high school kid and the attacks he received from the media, which she's already won. I think to his court cases, you know, were insane. But then when you look at the whole video, you realize he's not at fault at all. So if you, if somebody shows you a snippet of 15 seconds of video, be immediately suspicious of it, no matter who does it or what side, you know, look for context.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah, no, that's that, that is why. So I'm hearing empathy and patience. Right. And do, do, do your dig, dig into it, right? Because there's more to the story than that. 15, second Twitter or Tik TOK video that you're watching.
Dan Gainor: And I would say I would be the first to admit, I don't always do this. I would say B be Christian about how you handle all of this. And you know that everyone makes mistakes. If we are all held to the standard of our worst day, then we are all awful people. And I refuse to believe that we are all, I believe we're not all good. I believe the biding overwhelming. Majority of people are, are inherently good. And the reason why I see that as you will often see cases where a little kid wanders into the street and people will run out in front of moving cars to see if a kid jump into, into the water, to save a little kid. Even if they can't swim human beings, do good deeds, but they also make mistakes. Cause you know, we, we all are human
Jerry Ewalt: Amen to that. I, I couldn't agree with you more and we do get caught up. It's easy to get fired up on seeing, again, those, those short video clips, jumping to conclusions, focusing on that as opposed to focusing on humanity, which is what we're supposed to do. We're all here for each other, help each other out. And we, we tend to lose sight of that. So I, I thank you for, thank you for sharing that.
Dan Gainor: Well, it's, you know, eight with age brings wisdom, but I think experience brings, you know, you ha you have a more, you go through this a lot. And like I said, I'm sure anybody look at my Twitter history. I'm sure I've done the wrong thing. Just again, I'm just as human as anybody else.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah, no, we, we, we all have, and that that's that humility piece that comes with it. What comes with the experience of the 30 years or more? Okay. So Dan, my last question for you, right? I want you to, I want you to go out and kind of think about what's going to happen in the future. So on the horizon, right. Do we see any of this starting to change? Do we see a more polarization over the next let's call it next five years. We know that we're, Trump may be exp we expect an announcement fade from Trump in the near future of what he's going to run. Again, we know he's a focal point for the liberal media. Do we continue to see that that gap get bigger and bigger? Or are we going to be able to bring this together and find a common ground, a middle ground in the media?
Dan Gainor: I think unless there's some sort of external influence a war or something like that, I think we continue to not just polarize but self sort. And by that, I mean, I've noticed a lot of conservatives around Washington moving to the big three, Tennessee, Texas, and Florida to get out of a very liberal area to moving to a more conservative area. I think the abortion decision is going to drive pro-abortion forces out of those states more into liberal states. And so I think you're going to see some sorting of that. Now Americans are notorious for binding together in times of trouble. So if something got really happened, maybe we would ultimately, yeah, I think we've already, we're already seeing the signs that the left is going to play the same game against whoever runs. Even if it's not Donald Trump. I saw it yesterday, various people, including max boot who writes for the Washington post attacking Ron DeSantas.
And if Ronald Reagan were resurrected and ran tomorrow, they would, they'd be running the same games on him. And so that, I think that's the perspective for people. It doesn't matter whether you support Donald Trump or not, whoever you support, they're going to do this too. And so that, that means people need to be prepared for that and, and embrace whatever media that you find interesting out elsewhere. I mean, I'm, I'll use this as a chance to plug there's. There's a lot of, there are a lot of conservative, not just websites that do news, but all sorts of media. There are people who've launched a conservative books for children, people, I myself write some science fiction, you know, that has, has a, a leaning. And there's a lot of authors who do that. And so if you're unhappy, the way things are support people and websites and organizations that do something different.
Jerry Ewalt: Oh no, I think, I think that's great. Dan. Yeah. Dan, anything that you want to share before we wrap up for the audience here?
Dan Gainor: Well, I mean, I, we just had the 4th of July and as, as, and I really it's an important holiday and I'm not one of the people who bashes our founders and bashes this nation. And I think foundation that we still live in the greatest country ever, not just ever created, but ever conceived. And so, you know, the, the Bible would tell you not to lose hope and not to lose faith. And so I don't want people to, you know, if you're not happy with the way things are though, get up off your butt and help change them. That means one don't just, you know, help. Oh, I gave $10 to this politician, no run for your local school board. I we've seen that happening around the country. As people get rejected, what's happening in schools run for your zoning boards. Zoning's really important. Even if it's wonkiest hell, you know, I used to cover zoning at one point, the, you know, get involved, help somebody who's running.
If you can't run yourself, contribute, not just money, but time support. Like I said, support websites, authors. There's a ton of independent media out there that looks at the world differently. You know, I look at somebody I've been on with Tim pool and Tim pools. He wouldn't call himself conservative. He did Tim. Pool's an independent thinker. And I fall, I have to follow Tim since he covered occupy wall street many years ago. And you know, so support people like to support, you know, and then, you know, if you like what someone does, even if you don't, even if you can't support them, send them a note, retweet them on Twitter or post them on Facebook, get involved because I guarantee you, the people who disagree with you and hate everything you believe they're involved.
Jerry Ewalt: Well, I'm, I'm grateful that you ended on this message because I couldn't agree with you more we're everything is in God's control. He is active and engaged in the world and in the fairs of the world, everything going on, where we have to remember also that he, he, he asked us to get involved, right? We can't just sit around and get worried about things and say, it's, it's, it's a lost cause there's nothing we could do about it. Cause that's not true. Right. So if we get involved, we get active. We have a chance to turn this around and bring that humility, civility back into the country that we so desperately need. So I think that's a fantastic message. And, and well-received, it's so important for this day.
Dan Gainor: Well, thanks be the change you want to see basically.
Jerry Ewalt: Absolutely. All right, Dan. Well, thank you so much. This was fantastic. I really enjoyed our talk and I wish you the best. So thank you.
Dan Gainor: Have a blessed day.
Jerry Ewalt: God bless you. Yep. All right. Well, that's our show for today. Thank you so much for tuning in and supporting conservative media. Don't ever forget that by working together and staying diligent, we conservatives can bring our country back to true greatness until next week. Let's all keep praying that God will continue to bless America
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