Local News Media

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

When I say the press is liberal, I usually try to qualify this as the major media. I was in Carson City this weekend visiting my mother. When I looked at the paper there, not too surprisingly they had an article on Saddam. But the picture was interesting, rather than a common picture of Saddam with his “new look” it was a picture of Saddam being led in while still in handcuffs.

The key issue however is that while local media often is conservative, particularly in the areas that voted for Bush in the last election, local press only affects the local area. The major media, however, affects the whole nation. It is the major media that controls the agenda and shapes the debates, not the local media.

For example, the news on the economy the last nine months or so, has been very good. Virtually every indicator, including jobs has shown great improvement. But the major media has not reported much of this good news, and instead has sought to find as much negative news about the economy as they can, along with pushing the democrats saying how bad things are. As a result there is now a large disconnect between reality and the views of the American people. In Iraq, things are much more mixed, but the tactic of the press has been the same: Focus on the negative, and ignore or downplay anything positive.

You could say that this is what the press does: focus on the negative; but that is not true. During the election in 2000, the press virtually ignored all the indicators of how the economy was in major trouble. The Internet bubble burst in the late spring, and there were a lot of layoff and closures during the summer. The Dow lost over 10% and the Nasdaq lost a third of its value. But this was all ignored. Here in CA people  were pointing to the looming energy crisis, and pointing out there would be major problems in the winter of 2001 unless something was done.

But that was an election year and such news might have hurt Gore’s chances. So it was virtually ignored. Even after the election but before the inauguration when Bush was pointing out these signs and saying something must be done, the Democrats were complaining that Bush was simply trying to “talk down the economy.” (Sort of makes you wonder if pointing out there is a problem when there really is a problem is “talking down the economy” then what is trying to claim there are problems, when things are beginning to look better?)

In addition, local media often depend on the major media of there stories. For example, many local paper run AP stories unchanged. So while the local media in Knoxville may be “so Republican,” even in Knoxville, I bet they still have access to NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, etc. Yet if you are in an area were the local media is liberal, then you will likely only get one side of the story.

On the other hand, I notice that many liberals are so used to a media that only presents the liberal view of the news that they see any attempt to present both sides as “conservative.” For example, when I ask what news source do they see as objective and balanced, often the reply will be “PBS.” Frankly I think this is why Fox often gets labeled as a “conservative” network. In the words of one democratic senator commenting on fox following an election (I think it was 2002, but it may have been 2000) the problem with Fox News is that they ‘let republicans get their message out.’ It is not silenced or distorted as it so often is in the major media.

Jul 5th, 2004

Comments are closed.