Washington Post columnist and Brookings Institution fellow E. J. Dionne is considered by many liberals to be moderate, yet he is often paired with conservatives in point/counterpoint type discussions. He regularly appears with David Brooks, a moderate conservative, who writes op-eds for the New York Times.

Dionne has written a new book Stand Up and Fight Back (not to be confused with James Carville’s book Had Enough? : A Handbook for Fighting Back. In an excerpt, Dionne takes on the myth of the liberal media.

One of the most successful conservative tactics in the media war has been to compare conservative media institutions with neutral media institutions and declare that because the neutral institutions are not conservative, they must be liberal.

…Though one could wish that [the] Fox [News Network] would not try to claim that it is “fair and balanced,” there is nothing wrong with having a conservative network. But it would be better for democracy if Fox were balanced by a comparably liberal network. Conservatives claim that there is a “liberal” alternative and that it’s CNN. This claim is silly. There is not a single program on CNN that can be seen as liberal in the way that, for example, Bill O’Reilly’s program is conservative.

Dionne goes on to provide some useful history of how the whole myth of a liberal media started, how it was nurtured by conservatives, and how it was cowardly accepted by major media outlets.