I recently finished reading Eric Alterman's "What Liberal Media," his screed against what he considers the rightward tilt of today's news media. While I've generally not been a fan of Alterman's (he wrote a very pedestrian book about Bruce Springsteen, and his blog, Altercation, sucks), I was surprised by how much I enjoyed, and was persuaded by, his media book.
I found his arguments well-argued and well-supported even when I didn't agree with them, which is much more than I can say for the book "What Liberal Media" is billed as a rebuttal to, Bernard Goldberg's "Bias." (Alterman also takes aim at Ann Coulter's "Slander," which I confess I have not read.)
Before and after reading either book, my opinion about the left or rightward tilt in the media has remained pretty much unchanged: the media is extremely large and by no means monolithic, and therefore slamming "the media" as "liberal-leaning," "conservative-leaning," "responsible for Columbine," or any other such blanket condemnations is silly and counter-productive- if one reporter or one newspaper does something stupid or unfair, it's their fault, not "the media's" fault.
Furthermore, I've long looked at bias as in the eye of the beholder: to a conservative, conservatism is fair, unbiased, and correct while the same is true of liberalism to a liberal. That's how people on the right can claim to honestly look at Fox News Channel as "unbiased," while those on the left can do the same with the New York Times.
While the idea of an "East Coast Elite Liberal Media With Their Cocktail Parties, Etc." began as an anti-Semitic canard that was advanced by Nixon and others, it's not without grains of truth. But as even Goldberg concedes, the bias of the New York Times, CNN, and the Jennings/Rather/Brokaw axis is more a matter of elitism than politics- of course their coverage leans to the left- but in a way that is more inadvertant than conspiratorial. As opposed to Fox News Channel, which was founded for the express purpose of injecting conservative bias into the national media.