Monday, May 12, 2008

Partisan Papers

Dustin Block at the Racine Post has written a commentary on the decline of the local newspaper and what to do about it. I won't quibble about what he has written, but I do think it is incomplete.

Dustin ignores the issue of the political ideology of the newspaper. Does this matter? I think it does.

Like it or not, there is a political divide in this country. This breaks down largely as a conservative/liberal or Democrat/Republican divide. People just see issues from different perspectives and this tends to impact a journalists work, whether consciously or unconsciously.

The vast majority of journalists for local newspapers (if the JT is any indication) tend to be liberals. The first order of business for a newspaper would be to recognize that fact and to recognize that they risk alienating or ignoring half of their potential customers. The obvious answer to this problem would be to actively seek out journalists that bring the perspective that is lacking. The JT has not done so and there is no indication that they even recognize the problem.

I suspect that Dustin also does not recognize the problem. For example, Dustin mentions health care a few times, suggesting that there should be local articles written about this national problem. Fair enough, but I have read several of Dustin's articles about health care problems and they tend to suggest that socialized medicine is the answer.

But does Dustin know that some people are greatly helped by Health Savings Accounts. Will we read that article in the Racine Post or the Racine Journal Times? I doubt it.

So I will make my story available to the Journal Times or the Racine Post. I can tell them how I save over ten thousand dollars every year. I can offer that local angle on a national issue, only it is not something that liberals like very much. Will either the Journal Times or the Racine Post put aside partisan ideology and write a story about HSA's? We shall see.


Conscious Thought said...

i would also venture to say the vast majority of blogs in wisconsin and racine based blogs tend to be conservative. In addition, a plethora of conservative talk radio and tv news shows, locally and nationally.

As you reiterate in this post, liberals lean towards promoting liberal ideals, and conservatives lean towards promoting conservative ideals.

Similar to your comparison about how some folk have greatly benefited from HSA's, with no mention from liberal papers, do you also think it is safe to say, for example, conservative news sources touting the successes affirmative action policies have had for whites & non-whites? Will charlie sykes, free racine, fox news, mark belling, real debate and so on put partisan idealogy aside and write about these?....we shall see.

Anonymous said...


In many ways Free Racine acts like a paper you for very little cost other then your time write about your ideas and others read them and may or may not act on the information.
The big diferice is that you do not make money running Free Racine and the J-T is losing money being what they are, and the Post creating themselfs to what they think The Post should be.

The Post is far better in reporting News then the J-T as well as allowing groups to promote programs
I myself like the Post even thought I think it is a bit left wing I can live with that

Denis Navratil said...

CTW, the difference between left leaning news sources and FreeRacine, Charlie Sykes, Fred etc... is that the latter are not hiding their political point of view or pretending that they are politically objective. And, in many ways, right leaning news sources, blogs etc... grew out of a dissatisfaction with the way the traditional news media presented and analyzed the news.

So, to answer your question, I won't be spending my time "touting the successes (of?) affirmative action policies" because I am unabashedly seeing things from a different perspective. I will, however, write about the inherent unfairness, racism, sexism etc... of said programs in the hopes of sparking a healthy discussion of the subject.

Some smart people in the news business are figuring this stuff out. The NY Times has added a few token conservative opinion writers, Fox News has several liberals on board etc... They are general interest news sources and as such are wise not to completely alienate half of their potential customers. The JT should do the same but I suspect that they are so enamored with their own collective brilliance that they don't even see the problem.

anon, I like the Post as well.

Anonymous said...

Is this, Sykes, and Dooley's blogs members of the John Birch Society?

If your reasonings on most topics were not so disconected from reality, it would be worth arguing.

You guys are merely demogogic...

Anonymous said...

And, My God, Rupert Murdoch controls so many media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, and he is as right wing as they come.

What victim/persecution complex do you guys have? I would almost say that you guys suffer from some type of PTSD, the way you all carry on.

Dustin Block said...

Hi Dennis,

I'd be happy to write about HSAs ... I think they have a lot of potential. Send me an email and we'll work something out.


Denis Navratil said...

Thanks Dustin. I have e-mailed you and I look forward to our meeting.