Newspapers

Are Big City Newspapers Inevitably Liberal Due to Market Forces?

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No more spin!, says, uh, The Daily Kos. ||| No seriously, this ad, or one like it, reportedly ran in the L.A. Times itself.
No seriously, this ad, or one like it, reportedly ran in the L.A. Times itself.

Garance Franke-Ruta, a smart senior editor for The Atlantic, has an interesting piece about the recent news that Koch Industries is sniffing around the upcoming sale of the Tribune Company's eight newspapers. (David Koch, Charles's brother and frequent partner in business, politics, and philanthropy, is a trustee of the Reason Foundation, which publishes this website.)

Instead of focusing on the Kochs, who have become the left's favorite bogeymen-billionaires, Franke-Ruta concentrates on the underlying economics and politics of big-city newspapers:

There are several reasons regional newspapers are an awkward fit for anyone looking to counter-program what they see as liberal bias in the news media.

The main reason is that all major U.S. newspapers are based in cities. Cities in America are in the main run by Democrats, because they are populated, by and large, with Democrats, and very often also surrounded by Democratic suburbs. And because cities are run by Democrats, and populated by not only by Democrats but, very often, by liberal, minority, and immigrant Democrats, they tend to have laws on the books that at least formally signal a desire to serve the interests of these voting groups—their residents, let's call them.

Newspapers, which are businesses, are subject to the employment and other laws of the cities in which they are based. Because they are based in cities, and because cities are often at the forefront of progressive legislating, newspapers tend to work under employment laws and answer to regional communities that have distinctive views about what a just society looks like. Conservatives are right to call these views liberal, but it's just as important to recognize them as the product of representative democracy within defined urban spaces….Newspapers, like other businesses, have to follow the local laws—such as those protecting out gay employees—or risk getting sued. And, historically, they had to appeal to urban or urbanizing local residents if they wanted any subscribers.

It's a nifty theory, with the added benefit of containing plausible-sounding market elements. But is it true?

Don't let the hippie hair fool you: This town ain't librul! |||

Well, let's take as a test the largest city in America you might describe as right-of-center: Houston. Fourth-biggest city, 12th-biggest daily, 7th city ranked on the largest-dailies list, politically mixed but a whole lotta conservatism headquartered and represented. Famously hostile to zoning, friendly to business. Are those politics reflected in the Houston Chronicle?

My exposure to the paper is very limited (and very positive, for what it's worth), but I don't recall any particularly conservate or libertarian point of view, or reputation thereof.

Like so many American dailies, including the Los Angeles Times (my former employer, and the plum property in the Tribune roster), the Chronicle was a strongly conservative newspaper as recently as the 1950s, before more a more progressive breed of journalist began gaining a foothold in the 1960s. Crucially, the transformation from right to left, from crassly political to high-mindedly "fair," went hand in hand with the paper benefiting from and engaging in newspaper consolidation. It was the classic deal between mostly liberal newsrooms and mostly conservative boardrooms: Close down the competition and use the profits to professionalize the news divisions, instilling a more liberal ethos even while embracing the advertising-friendly pose of objectivity. Then sit back and enjoy the 20 percent profit margins for four decades. 

Back to the Chronicle, though the controversial and self-interested Houston Endowment ran the place through the late 1980s—like the "Great Eye of Sauron," according to this Texas Observer account—it was also increasingly going up against in-house journalistic values that cared more (according to verbiage at the same link) about "women's rights, poverty, and the mistreatment and neglect of ethnic populations, immigrants and refugees."

SPEAKING of Yao Ming jersey! |||

The paper has belonged to the similarly evolved Hearst Corporation for going on three decades, euthanizing the last of the competition in 1995. I am happy to be corrected in the comments, but if the Houston Chronicle is even half as friendly to conservative and libertarian viewpoints as the residents in its coverage area, I will sing a Backstreet Boys song in a Yao Ming jersey.

Ask yourself this: Of all the one-newspaper cities in America, how many are served by a daily that's more conservative than its readership? Pretty hard to come up with one, right?* Now do the same exercises for newspapers that are more liberal than their cities, and see how quickly you run out of fingers and toes.

So if regional political rub-off doesn't adequately explain it, what else could be at play in the liberalization (so to speak) of newspapers? I think Franke-Ruta is on firmer ground here:

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. It does not get as many job applicants who want to live in traditional rural communities, because it is not a rural-community-based employer. 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.

Dr. No-hit? ||| cardjunk.blogspot.com
cardjunk.blogspot.com

I'd take this a step further: Journalists from newspapers all over the country want to work for The New York Times, even if their byline never gets within 100 miles of Gotham. Regional newspapers everywhere pattern their writing, their subject matter, their mores, on the Paper of Record.

Well, here's the problem with that: The New York Times is the product of a unique—and uniquely competitive—market. It already assumes that high finance and laissez-faire economics are covered by The Wall Street Journal. Crime, local shenanigans, and gossip are adequately handled by the Post and the Snooze. Newsday owns the suburbs. The vast majority of American dailies who ape The New York Times do not live in cities where whole swaths of their readership are properly served by other outlets.

Journalists have turned the daily newspaper into the print version of the local NPR station: intellectual, fuzzily liberal, elitist. Potential readers who have more of a talk radio sensibility have to go elsewhere. Like, well, talk radio (which does just fine in many famously liberal cities). The universality of the NYT model at a time when afternoon and/or populist dailies were going extinct worked as a short-cut on the more evolutionary process Franke-Ruta describes. Yes, big cities are going more liberal (though higher-growth Sun Belt cities aren't necessarily liberal at all), but my hunch is that the newspapers got there first. 

Speaking of NPR, I was on it this morning, talking about…the rumored Koch interest in the Tribune Company! Listen here.

* Alert commenter Heroic Mulatto correctly points out that The Union-Leader of Manchester, New Hampshire famously fits the bill. I'll add other no-brainers as they arrive.

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  1. Ask yourself this: Of all the one-newspaper cities in America, how many are served by a daily that’s more conservative than its readership?

    Dude, that’s easy. Manchester, N.H.’s The Union Leader.

    1. Excellent point!

      1. Pretty much, but remember that fact next time primary season rolls around.

        1. At least Billy Loeb isn’t there any longer.

          1. Nackey too.

    2. Well, it looks like your moniker is “Alert”. That’s something, I guess.

      1. Well, I’m a hero. Must I be alert when I leap from rooftop to rooftop, patrolling the city for crime, in my luchadore mask.

          1. Dat’s racist!

          2. Correction: “**White-Hatin’** Coon”

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgTuarwFm6s

    3. The Richmond Times-Dispatch probably qualifies.

      1. The Times-Disgrace is conservative now?

        Huh.

    4. I would perhaps add New Orleans’ Times-Picayune.

    5. I know you aren’t a STEM guy, so this might be hard, but the proper answer to a “how many” question is a number, not an example of what is being asked about.

      1. I know you’re not a science guy, but the proper response to a research question is to gather facts, then come to a conclusion.

  2. The paper-formerly-known-as The St. Petersburg Times is way more leftwing than the local community is. Just to flip the argument.

    1. The Salt Lake Tribune has such a huge divergence between its own viewpoint and that of the community it ostensibly serves, it’s almost downright comical.

      1. Actually, Salt Lake’s become a lot more liberal and hipsterish since the Olympics, mainly due to Californians doing what they always do–migrate to a functioning, stable community and proceed to infect it like Captain Trips.

      2. Salt Lake City, despite being Ground Zero for Mormondom, is a liberal Blue dot in a very Red state. Note how the legislature keeps trying to divvy up the SLC area into pieces for Congressional districts, with each piece paired with a very conservative countryside, and yet still can’t find a way to avoid one Democratic congressman.

        A friend of mine, who is basically a socialist and about as far from Mormon as you can get, is moving to SLC because of a job offer.

    2. I can’t stop myself from calling it the tbt.

      I suspect it’s the Poynter influence that makes the paper such a socialist rag.

    3. I’ve have actually read hints of skeptisim from the Tampa Bay Times recently. But that will last till the next light rail referrendum

    4. The latest advertising they’ve got running on SunSports all the time is rather revealing: The Amazing Story. Oh, right, they’re not selling news or journalism they’re selling the narrative.

  3. It is amazing what fascist nasty little fucks Kos and their ilk are. They honestly believe that the Kochs have no right to own a newspaper of any kind. It is just infuriating.

    1. They’ll flip out about the Kochs and probably rush to the defense of Raul Castro, if he were to attempt to buy a paper (I’m sure he couldn’t with the embargo).

      1. Or George Soros or anyone on their side. They are totalitarian fascists.

        1. Rich people buy stuff. Including papers if they like losing money.

          And, as has been repeated here at length, the Kochs provide funding for things like PBS shows, too. So NOVA is right-wing propaganda?

          1. ownership seldom has a thing to do with editorial slant. People who work in newsrooms tend to be liberal; it has nothing to do with location, especially in the big cities. It’s just who these people are, much like talk radio tends to be populated by conservative voices.

            1. It can affect the hiring of editors and big-name columnists, of course, but if the audience is largely leaning one direction, the likelihood of the owner shifting the political skew radically in another is very small. It’s about money first.

              1. It’s about money first.

                not in the newsroom, it’s not. If it were, the editorial sensibilities of the NYT, a host of other dailies, and the alphabet soup networks would have changed from its reliably liberal tilt.

                1. I think it’s precisely because circulations are diving that papers are being more openly partisan. The economic factors inhibiting the mask removal are fading.

          2. So NOVA is right-wing propaganda?

            Can’t be, it’s science!

          3. So is the excellent Koch funded exhibit on human evolution at the Smithsonian.

            1. Evolution? Right-wing lies! Wait. . . .

    2. I’m reminded of my daughter as a two year old when she said to her cousin:

      “My compromise is we do it my way because I’m right!”

      1. And so the emotional age of the typical Kossack has been established.

      2. That was an extremely verbal 2 YO! Congrats. She keep it up?

  4. But wouldn’t a liberal community be better served by a conservative newspaper who looked under the rocks to see what was really happening rather then one in bed with the local politicians? Most of the local news in newspapers I have read in the US just repeat whatever is being put out by the local powerbrokers in government.

    1. Of course not. Then they might find out just how corrupt local government is, and it might make them lose faith in Top Men!

    2. But liberals are stupid and often insane. Yes, you would think they would want a dissenting voice around so that corruption and such would be rooted out and less likely to happen. But they don’t see it that way. They see any dissent as just being mean and not something that should ever be allowed.

      1. Their team is in control and they don’t want dissent because that might mean they lose control. Better to have corruption by their team then power by the other team and with their team in control then all the patronage jobs are safe.

        1. Yes. And that is what Republicans don’t get about liberal voters. They think that if they give liberal voters some of what they want they will like them more. Instead it is the opposite. Give them something and they think “see the Dems got us this great stuff by vanquishing the evil Republicans”. Give them nothing and they hate the Democratic Party for not providing the goods and get discouraged and don’t vote.

    3. Liberals spend an inordinate amount of time rationalizing away the shortfalls in their theory of government. They desperately WANT it to work, so they greatly prefer echo chambers and sand holes for their heads. Any liberal who is legitimately curious about what the other side thinks about an issue would have no problem finding out. But they’ye not curious. At all.

    4. liberals will barely recognize that a dissenting point of view is legitimate, let alone be willing to consider one. Some local reporters are equal opportunity in afflicting the comfortable but the agenda is set by a decidedly left-leaning editorship.

    5. Interestingly for a time (maybe its still the case but I no longer live there), the Raleigh News and Observer got really pissed at the end of Democratic Governor Easley’s administration about them shredding and deleting memos the paper put FOIAs on. Then they hounded him for years afterward even when his term ended, and gave his Democratic successor hell too. They even endorsed Romney and McCrory the Republican gubertorial candidate.

      That’s only one issue that it watchdogs though.

    6. But wouldn’t a liberal community be better served by a conservative newspaper who looked under the rocks to see what was really happening rather then one in bed with the local politicians?

      In practice, they look under conservative rocks to see what those evil people are doing, and expose them if they find something.

      They’ll pile on if a liberal really screws up, but the same level of scrutiny doesn’t seem to apply.

  5. People still read newspapers?

    1. Mostly they haven’t figured out how to cancel the subscription.

      1. For a brief time in the early 90s I took a newspaper. I tried to cancel my subscription for two months.

        It’s harder than you think.

        1. Almost impossible. I subscribed to our local paper when I bought my house because I thought I needed local news. When I realized all I did was recycle papers without reading them, I tried canceling. They would continue mailing me papers anyway and then try billing me for them.

          1. “10 papers, twenty cents a paper. That’s two dollars.”

  6. “”””and who will obey the socially progressive laws of those cities at work,”””

    They will support Comrade Stalin in his work to smash the enemies of the proletariat.

  7. Houston used to have two papers: the Chronicle and the more conservative (and now defunct) Post. The Post has been out of business for about two decades. I would say most newspapers have monopolies, and in cities where they don’t, there is a more conservative alternative to the dominant liberal paper: the Times in Washington, the Post in New York, etc.

    1. Honolulu used to have two newspapers, one liberal, one center-right. The center-right one went under. Now conservatives and libertarians on Oahu have to go online to get news without a liberal bias.

        1. Couple of the people I worked with at the state capitol listened to Limbaugh or his ilk all day long.

          Closest I come to listening to radio is listening to Portland Oregon’s 94.7 online (at player.tritonmedia.com/entercom/KNRKHD)

  8. Are Big City Newspapers Inevitably Liberal Due to Market Forces?

    No, Matt, they’re inevitably going out of business due to market forces.

    That’s what happens to any business that doesn’t reflect or respect the consumer it’s trying sell its products or services to.

    1. *cough* Seattle Post-Intelligencer *cough*

      1. Sad about the PI. The coolest newspaper building in the world…

        1. Hey, we still have the building and the globe!

      2. Intelligencer than a Post.

  9. What about the Cleveland Plain Dealer?

    1. What about it? I get it and it is decidedly liberal, although perhaps not quite NYT deep commie red.

      1. Sorry, I had the impression it was more libertarian for some reason.

  10. Orange County Register

    1. But Santa Ana isn’t a one paper town, as they have also the OC edition of the LAT. Or am I not understanding the rules of this game?

      1. No, you’re right. I wasn’t sure about the overlap with that one.

    2. The Register may have a libertarian/conservative editorial page voice, but I would wager that nearly all the reporters are liberals, and their stories reflect that. The front section is pretty much NY Times content, with the AP and McClatchy thrown-in.

      There really isn’t a real OC edition of the LA Times; it’s been ages.

  11. This issue aside, the fact is that the news media has become far more openly leftwing and, really, loving of authoritarianism than it used to be. I read The New York Times in the 90s, and it tried much harder then to disguise its political leanings.

    1. Newspapers have also (well, actually just doubling down on what you’re saying) openly anti-free speech.

      What kind of fucked up in-through-the-out-door bullshit world are we living in when journalists are hostile to free speech?

      1. Many operate under the delusion that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are two totally different things.

        1. They are becoming increasingly so.

          When I can’t talk about a candidate 60 days before an election, but Ezra Klein can, it makes me want to strangle kittens.

        2. But seriously, whether or not journalists believe they’re two different things or not, I can certainly say they want them to be.

          Giving the press special immunities and powers seems to be precisely the end-game they’re shooting for.

          1. Of course, that’s a stupid mindset, because if the government gets the power to determine what is and isn’t journalism. . .game over, man. Game over.

        3. Or as been widely observed, they’re going by the concept of “the press” as a class of persons (i.e. them) rather than of activity.

      2. journalists are hostile to free speech

        They’re just like any other big business. As soon as they get theirs, they want government to restrict the upstart competition.

    2. …the fact is that the news media has become far more openly leftwing and, really, loving of authoritarianism than it used to be.

      I’m not really sure this is true. I think it’s just gotten more adamant. Twenty years ago, the media could rely on it’s dominant view being The Consensus. As such, a challenge or disagreement wasn’t a threat. It could be looked on as quaint or entertaining. These days, the media doesn’t have the monopoly on public opinion they once enjoyed. They’re not taking it so lightly.

      1. There may be some truth to that. Certainly, that was more the case with TV news.

      2. There certainly was a time when newspapers and media challenged the government.

        That time has passed. They will challenge an administration, but they don’t challenge any overriding notion of government power.

        Major media reflixively demand government solutions, or imply their need upon reporting on any issue or human problem.

        The only complaint about government I hear from almost all major media outlets (especially big city newspapers) is that there isn’t enough government.

  12. And, historically, they had to appeal to urban or urbanizing local residents if they wanted any subscribers.

    Apropos of the previous thread, big city newspapers are speaking to a vocal community or neighborhood activist community. It’s very much an echo chamber.

    To read most big city columns, you’d think the only thing going on are community meetings and urban gardening. The rest of us who live in big cities continue to live our lives, mowing our lawns, driving to work, going to the movies, you know, regular stuff. Why, some of us even own guns. And some of those gun owners even carry them!

    You can take any random transportation article from any Seattle rag, and you get the impression everyone in the city of Seattle lives in Madison Valley and commutes downtown. So why do we need this ugly highway that runs from Edmunds to Tukwila? I mean, who really needs that thing anyway?

    1. They’re all moving to South Lake Union so that will change shortly.

      1. By the way, I have a friend who’s nicely obsessed with minutae that politicians say so that he can catch them on it years later (so I don’t have to be), he informed me that the SLUT’s ridership numbers are less than half of the 2012 projections made by city officials which were specifically used to sell the thing to us.

        Streetcars: The Future of transportation!

        1. It’s the SLUS now, Paul! Say it right!

          1. Sounds vaguely German. You know who else who sounded vaguely German was obsessed with trains?

    2. This is why government needs to subsidize multiple newspapers in each city to represent the diverse groups that make up their populations. Except the icky gun owners. And the folks who burn fossil fuels to mow their lawns. Those people don’t deserve a voice in polite society because the highly intelligent and reality based liberals might be seduced by the evil siren song of the Right.

  13. Good thing the LA Times is such an objective subject on all things Koch Bros.

    1. Seriously. Isn’t it funny how the LAT perfectly supports their hatred of the Koch brothers?

  14. The same media who haven’t asked the President a tough question in four going on five years now, is willing to ask the tough questions of Joan Rivers.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ent…..-1.1327790

    And they wonder why no one pays attention anymore. Propaganda is boring.

    1. If I click on your link, am I paying attention?

  15. The chronicle sucks. Their website has some good blogs though. The editorial section is mostly just a reprint of the NYT and Washington Post with a few local opeds that might as well be.

    1. Also, fuck Bud Adams.

      1. This can’t be repeated often enough.

        1. Fuck Bud Adams.

  16. The Washington Post can be pretty so-con in its reporting. It toadies to big government, but it also does so to big religion, sometimes to the point of openly letting Bishop Harry Jackson dictate its news coverage.

  17. The Tulsa World is annoyingly liberal. Their Cheerleading for the Dem candidate for the upcoming Mayoral race is just terrible.

    Also Warren Buffett very recently purchased the World.

    1. Why are you mentioning Warren Buffet? We were talking about rick people taking over newspapers, and you distract us with this unrelated issue?

  18. I wonder if we’ll start getting people talking about nationalizing newspapers again. Especially if they manage to sour the Koch deal and no one else wants to buy it.

    1. That is why they want the House back so badly in 2014. They think they can finally get a huge bailout package for newspapers.

      1. Just to make things absolutely clear, just like I won’t ever buy anything from Government Motors, I won’t ever read even an article from a bailed-out newspaper. Not ever.

        1. Me either. It would be state run media then.

          1. It’s important to read the state media to know who they’re thinking about going after.

            1. Good point. Just don’t pay for it.

          2. I keep saying that, but I admit I get a lot of news from the perenially bailed-out NPR.

        2. Oh, I’d certainly read them.

          Maybe even put together some software to allow annotation/markup of them. Something like “highlight a section of text, then click the fallacy button that you want”. Add notes, links to where it is refuted. Use a browser plugin or customer javascript or something to distribute the markup and allow other people to, as well.

          1. So, enable increased ad revenue for them, then?

  19. I’d throw in The Oregonian because unless you’re publishing Pravda circa 1950 you’re probably to the right of Metro Portland.

  20. The Columbus Dispatch used to be center right….wayyy back when I’m told.

    1. True dat. I’ve shuttled between Cols and Cleveland the past dozen years, and the Dispatch has lurched to the left.

  21. Matt:

    I am happy to be corrected in the comments, but if the Houston Chronicle is even half as friendly to conservative and libertarian viewpoints as the residents in its coverage area, I will sing a Backstreet Boys song in a Yao Ming jersey

    You’re pretty safe there, Matt.

    The paper’s only worth is as a delivery system for coupons and as a wrapper for dead fish – that is, whenever you need to send a message to your rivals. Other than that, it is no more than a repeater station for bad AP articles and some inane journalistic pieces about just how horrible are Houstonians to the plight of the underprivileged group du jour.

    Also, don’t read the letters to the editor section, because they stopped printing most letters, only choosing those that are so in tune with their politics that one has to wonder if the staff wrote those themselves. YES, it is THAT BAD a newspaper.

    1. The paper’s only worth is as a delivery system for coupons and as a wrapper for dead fish.

      And picking up dog shit.

    2. They have one of the better distance running columns (probably a blog now) of any daily.

  22. I enjoy how Harry Shearer will never say LA Times on his weekly radio program. He refers to the paper alternatively as The Local Dog-Trainer and The Local Fish-Wrap.

    1. That isn’t on the air in LA anymore.

  23. Hmm, this is interesting stuff.

    Where does the New Orleans Times Picayune stand in this, I wonder?

    Is New Orleans a liberal or conservative southern US city? I don’t read it, but it seemed to lean liberal, and the people of New Orleans loved that paper like it was family, but it still went belly up.

    Are the Washington Times and Washington Examiner cutting staff because they’re losing market share in liberal Washington D.C. or just because print media is struggling all over the country because of the stupid Internet.

  24. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review?

    1. Not a one-newspaper town.

      1. Matt, definitions. What is a one-newspaper town?

        Not being snarky, just being curious.

        Are we defining newspaper as “major daily”?

  25. Honestly, I think it has a lot more to do with simple sample bias. The national media is dominated by about, max, a half dozen markets (NY, LA, DC, Chicago, maybe SF, maybe Boston). Yes, these tend to be liberal cities. But, even within these cities and their metro areas, reporters tend to be left of center. So, let’s add on another layer. The journalists tend to live in specific neighborhoods in these cities, tend to have gone to a specific set of J-Schools, tend to work in an environment where the star reporter is the guy (or lady) covering City Hall (or politics more generally), tend to talk to similar sources, tend to socialize in similar environments, etc. Does anyone think that a guy (or lady) who moves from the Washington Post is going to be a fish out of water at the NY Times? Or are they going to pretty seamlessly meld from one paper and city to the other. In that bubble, they’re not left-wing. They’re in the middle of that very specific road.

  26. The Chronicle did endorse George W. Bush at least once. Not that he is conservative by any reasonable metrics.

    1. After they got the Richards v. Bush race so wrong, they weren’t about to bet against him when Kerry was his opponent.

  27. My favorite newspaper name ever is The Chattanooga News-Free Press, which I think is no longer used. I actually liked it when we were in town, because of its very local flavor. But the name always made me laugh.

    1. That is pretty awesome.

    2. I’d settle for the Anytown Opinion-Free News.

  28. Oh, and the Chronicle did publisher two of my letters to the editor about fifteen years ago, both of which were very libertarian-flavored, so that’s something.

    1. They’ll never make that mistake again!

    2. Nothing to crow about.

      Newspapers often publish “Hey, look at the Kook!” letters.

    3. Which of course now is printed as, “Hey, look at the Koch!” letters.

  29. Or how about the profession of journalism attracts those of the liberal mindset because you can talk out of your ass to a huge audience with no accountability?

    Seems like the perfect environment for liberals.

  30. What does Franke Ruta mean when he uses the word liberal? I suspect Mayor Bloomberg would fit his definition, but as for JS Mills definition, Bloomberg would serve as a useful counter example of the word. Newspaper reporters do reflect the politics of urban environs but ‘liberal’ as a discription of those political beliefs has been applied ad hoc, after the fact. Progressives will tell you that ‘liberal’ has evolved with the times, but that is not so. The idea of liberalism has been soiled by the politics of the urban political machine, graft, favor, spoils and toadiness not principle. If they were principled the liberalism of newspaper reporters would be far more libertarian than progressive which, afterall, began as a contemptuous reactionary movement against the liberal policies of the late nineteenth century.

  31. If Franke-Ruta really believed what she wrote, then she should favor the Kochs buying the LA Times. Under her market theory, the LA Times leans left because that is exactly what maximizes readership. The Kochs would be forced to choose between profits and politics. If they moved the LA Times toward the right, they presumably would lose readership, which, in turn, would harm their pocketbook. Conversely, if they allowed the LA Times to stay on the left, they would be bankrolling opposition to their political views. Sounds like a win-win for someone on the left.

    1. She. My bad, I read her article before reading the commentary on it. Don’t know what gave me the impression of a guy writing it.

  32. The Washington Post is well to the right of DC (they were big Fenty boosters, and frequently endorse the hopeless GOP challengers for city council), although that’s essentially by default. Chicago Tribune is also pretty conservative compared to ChiTown (they supported Romney FFS).

    1. Chicago Tribune is also pretty conservative compared to ChiTown (they supported Romney FFS).

      Mmm not quite. I’d almost say that’s a mischaracterization.

      The Tribune to the best of my memory and short research endorsed Romney within the scope of the Republican primary, in comparison to the rest of the GOP field. Ie, they endorsed Obama-light for the GOP contender.

      They did not endorse Romney for President against Obama.

      http://www.politico.com/blogs/…..17736.html

      1. Hmm, I could’ve sworn.

        I guess they’d be the prime example of a newspaper rapidly shifting left, IIRC Obama in ’08 was the first time they’d *ever* gone for a Democrat. They’re probably still to the right of their readers.

        1. “You’re a fucking Mormon, everyone has a drinking problem to you…”

          I’d imagine that Paul Krugman is to the right of Chicago Trib readers.

  33. Good point. Never considered Woodward to be a liberal, as commonly defined. He came out of milatary intelligence before being a reporter, after all.

  34. The San Jose Mercury News are stenographers for the White House. They have never found an Obama administration cock they would not enthusiastically suck.

  35. Goes with John Goodman’s assertion that most of today’s political isms are sociologies rather than ideologies.

  36. The New York Times? Why on earth would I read the New York Times? What possible use could I have for the New York Times? I mean, I might use it for toilet paper, except that it’s already so thoroughly drenched in crap!

  37. Sometimes dude you jsut have to smack it good.

    http://www.GotzMyAnon.tk

  38. The San Diego Union-Tribune is still sort of mushy Republican, although the city continues its resolute march to the left. The mayor, a majority of the city council, and three of the city’s four congressional reps are all Democrats. The suburbs to the south and close-in west are also solidly left-of-center. Most of the northern suburbs are still conservative, but some of them read other papers (The Orange County Register or The Los Angeles Times), so I’m not sure if the readership/editorial relationship still holds.

  39. I don’t know, maybe newspapers could go back to the old model of hiring high school kids out of their graduation gowns and turning them into beat reporters like they did before World War II? They’d turn these kids over to old-school editors who would edit the piss out of them until they were actual, honest-to-God, reporters.

    Most of those kind of guys reported WWII and did a decent job at it.

    Now? We have the stable of clowns at the WaPo and Politico. The Propaganda Ministry couldn’t be in safer hands.

  40. Before he got taken down, Conrad Black’s publishing arm included the Chicago Sun-Times and its editorial positions tended to be center-to-center-right. There’s no obvious reason why a newspaper or any other media outlet can’t be one or two steps different from its overall regional audience, which will include a diversity of opinions (there are conservatives even in SF) plus people who can handle reading or seeing something that might not fit their ideology to a “T”.

    The argument that media outlets must of necessity fit their areas contains several fallacies, as well as being based on a totalitarian attitude that is really offensive.

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