Thursday, April 25, 2013

An Interesting Take On The Liberal Bias Of Big-City Newspapers

Or the sub-head can read:

A cover for the the Leftywhore stranglehold on big-city propaganda rags.

OK, I guess that could be a little harsh for this article in The Atlantic magazine by Garance Franke-Ruta actually has some points that are worth an examination at the least and rebuttal when necessary.
I think that the thrust is that like attracts like. And since big-cities tend to be the last bastions of liberalism in the United States, liberal people will work for newspapers that reflect the liberalism of their city of choice.
Well, that would be true, I suppose, if newspapers were hermetically sealed and only read in say New York City proper. Or Washington, D. C. proper. Or Los Angeles. Well, you get the picture.
But newspapers in large cities not only serve their own big city but usually a region around it. Sometimes it is the one source for many in large swaths of some states.
Take where I live for example, Los Angeles.
Whilst I was growing up, this was a two-paper town. The behemoth Los Angeles Times and the scrappy Hearst-owned Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. When I was a tike, I can remember that the Herald as we called it had four editions a day. The Times two. But by 1980, both newspapers went down to one morning edition. Now the Herald was crippled by a strike that by 1989 killed it. But it was always beating the Times to big local stories, exposing corruption at the highest levels of local government. But the fact the the strike was solved was too late as the Times went from perceived right-wing rag to the "respectable" paper and just pretty much crushed the Herald. No amount of great reporting can save a newspaper if no one buys it, right?
Only now is Los Angeles a one and a half newspaper town again.
The Los Angeles Daily News essentially serves the interests of the San Fernando Valley. While it is sold and delivered city-wide, one can tell where its reporting is emphasized. And that is the San Fernando Valley. That is why it is a half rather than full rival of the Times.
OK, so in reading the article, it pretty much says that all cities are ran by Democrats and that suburbs are Democrats and by that alone, their is no market for Republican or conservative interests to be served by the newspapers in these cities.
Face in palm and head shaking.
If that was the case, the United States would be a one-party state ran by the Democrats.
Take suburbs.
They are totally less Democrat than the big cities. Some are Democrat, some are Republican and some are somewhere in the middle. And yes, it is true that immediate suburbs probably are more Democrat leaning, that is less the case the further one gets away from the big city.
When most American cities are down to one newspaper representing that city, it makes it more, not less, to be truly diverse and fearless in reporting.
Yet the opposite occurs.
They become more docile and choose to ignore issues that can be corruption or something that affects all, not just Ds or Rs. They often act as cheerleaders rather than watchdogs. And often are the last to know, so to speak, until the dreck hits the fan.
Anyhow, this part of the article is what gets my goat:

Because employment at these city-based newspapers is voluntary, they tend to attract reporters who want to live in cities. The New York Times, for example, gets the Iowans who want to leave Iowa and live in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

OK, yes that maybe true at a level. But a lot of people want to leave Iowa, work in big cities and are. . .conservative.
But, Mr. Franke-Ruta goes on:

Newspapers hire people who can deal with working in cities -- big, major, complicated, diverse, progressive cities -- and who will obey the socially progressive laws of those cities at work, even if they live off in the 'burbs somewhere.

So what does that mean? Only liberals need apply to newspapers in a big city? That discrimination against conservatives is OK in this area?
Once again, face in palm and head now violently shaking.
Is it really true that a good reporter who is conservative can't hack it in the big city? Is it really true that a conservative reporter that follows a story with no fear or favor can't be a conservative? In fact I will argue right here and now that is exactly what big city newsrooms need more than ever. It is more likely that they will not take corruption and bad governance at face value. It is more likely that the conservative writer or even worse in their eyes, editor, will be more than fair because of the fact they are the ones to point out the lack of balance in reporting, choice of stories, etc.
Honestly, this is the weakest case for bias I have seen.
In fact, it is why even the big city newspapers are beginning to see their comeuppance.
Most are losing readers at alarming rates. Most have not figured out to have a compelling, easy to navigate website that not only compliments the physical newspaper but makes the newspaper reader want to check out the website. The only reason people will do that is because many newspapers are making things only accessible online.
Instead of toeing the party line in said liberal big city, a good shake-up would be in order. Where all news is reported no matter what. Where political correctness sensibilities are thrown out the window. Where the liberal cocoon is busted wide open.
People will respect a newspaper that takes on sacred cows in the name of good reporting,
Seriously, it is what people are always looking for.
It is why alternative media, be it on the left or right is more widely read than a daily newspaper.
What Mr. Franke-Ruta is trying to do is essentially say hey, yeah the big city newspapers are propaganda sheets for the left, but it is only because only lefties live in big cities. And hey, if you are conservative, don't bother to even apply because you are probably from some part of the country that can't hack even being in a big city. Of course unless you can't wait to get the hell out of Deadwood, South Dakota and hate where you were brought up and want to stick it to the people you once thought were pretty OK, then apply.
It is this lefty cocoon thinking that will eventually be the death of the American newspaper. Unless people like Mr. Franke-Ruta wake up and kind of step out away from Manhattan and see the rest of the United States, maybe in 20 years or less there will not be a slew of newspapers around the way they are today.

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