Newsbusters, a website dedicated to ‘exposing and combatting the media’s liberal bias’, today pointed out the mainstream media’s obsession with using the term ‘far right’ in connection with anything relating to race hate, neo-nazi’s and white supremacists in an article I found interesting. I had never thought about this before, but once I did I was forced to the conclusion that this term is misleading and (whether deliberate or accidental) does constitute a genuine media bias towards the left by the way that it is used.
My first problem with the ubiquitous use of the term far right to describe such people and groups is the fact that the word ‘Nazi’ is a shortening of the German words for ‘National Socialist’ – the name of Hitlers political party. Notice the word ‘socialist’. Nazis and Neo-Nazi’s are socialists. In today’s world the political right in all English speaking countries broadly stands for economic liberalism and traditional values, with a tendency to favour a smaller state (at least in rhetoric if not in actual action once in government). Facism is not the extreme end of this political ideology – in fact it would be more accurate to describe Neo-Nazis as far left than far right.
My second problem with this is the fact that communism is never described as ‘far left’. In fact I never hear the term ‘far left’ at all. Communism is just called communism, because that is what it is. This definitely seems to me like the right wing of modern politics is being implicitly demonised through the choice of language used by the media. It suggests a connection between Neo-Nazis and conservatives which simply does not exist.
So is it time we dropped the term ‘far right’ altogether? Personally, I think that it is, but I would love to read your thoughts in the comments.
On a related note there were news stories out today about scientific studies showing a link between low I.Q. and voting conservative. These stories have a classic ‘bias by ommission’ effect which misleads the reader. It has indeed been found that people with a high I.Q. are more likely to vote for liberal parties, whereas people with a low I.Q. are more likely to vote for conservative political parties. But this is not because voting conservative is stupid, or voting liberal is intelligent. In fact it is well known that the reason for this is because people with a higher I.Q. are more likely to have a personality type which emphasises openness to new experience, and it is this which draws them to the liberal agenda emotionally rather than based on an intellectual analysis. Also, there have been many studies linking many different things to I.Q. (which in any case is not the be all and end all of intelligence). For example, a high I.Q. means that you are more likely to be: a psychopath, an alcoholic, clinically depressed, socially mal-adjusted, and the victim of fraud, amongst other things – none of which is particularly intelligent.