Turns out C-SPAN is not just painfully mind-numbing, but it also leans decidedly right in its coverage of think tanks, according to a new evaluation by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The study finds that right-wing think tanks got 51 percent of C-SPAN's total coverage in 2006, while left-of-center think tanks only got 18 percent of their coverage (a mere 5 percent of which were "progressive" think tanks). The other 31 percent of coverage went to centrist groups. So what happened to C-SPAN's stated mission to provide their audience political coverage "without editing, commentary or analysis and with a balanced presentation of points of view"? Well, you don't need editing or commentary to create an imbalanced presentation when you get to choose whose ideas get coverage.

Here's the question though: Is this a deliberate, ideological snub to progressive voices? Or is it just deference to ideas that have been long-portrayed as the most sensible and acceptable by the rest of the mainstream media? I'm actually more inclined to believe the latter, that this isn't an ideological choice by C-SPAN but a decision made because the larger media scape has constructed the illusion that conservative voices are more rational and aligned with what Americans think. And C-SPAN is pretty much designed to be a vehicle for "objective" maintenance of the status quo, so it makes sense that they'd tend toward the conservative. It's either that or conservatives are just more boring, and therefore better suited for the C-SPAN model.

--Kate Sheppard