Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A change in the wind?

So the Washington Post hired themselves a blogger. A right winger - for balance doncha know. I guess it must be because newspapers are oh so leftie. Even my own local. The Portsmouth Herald several months ago hired a regular columnist – not a blogger but someone to write for the Sunday print edition. They call it The Conservative Corner.

Now, I for one do not think of the Portsmouth Herald is particularly liberal. It tends to be Chamber of Commerce safe in its editorials. But what I have found is that its letters page has become decidedly more left wing (full disclosure – I do my part).

It’s a phenomenon maybe. I do not equate my local daily with the Washington Post and I believe my local daily would not equate themselves thus. But there seems to be a certain resonance in their actions. I think they are in fact reactions.

What immediately comes to mind is that they are kowtowing to the right wing whinery. You know the constant railing against the liberal media. And to some degree that is probably the case. Not that the media is liberal, it is because the letters page has become decidedly more leftie.

That is the interesting part. I don’t know if this holds for the Washington Post but my un-empirical conclusion is that it is absolutely the case with my local daily. The letters that deal with national issues are very nearly all to the left. There are the few right ones but really even the Republican operatives have stopped writing in to defend the current state of this nation.

Some time ago there was a Midwest paper that actually put out the call for more pro-Bush right-wingers to write in because the letters page was getting too left heavy. And that was when Bush was popular.

The acknowledgement- putting a right winger on the payroll - is itself a victory for the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. And that is exactly what happened with my local daily and what has happened with the Washington Post. They are “balancing” meaining that they are pre-emptively caving to the right wing. They marching themselves to the re-education camp.

But there is a deeper truth here. If my anecdotal conclusion is correct that for my local daily the letters page is becoming tilted left and for the Post that the blogosphere that is attached to it is becoming tilted left, it suggests that there is a left tilt happening in reality.

If the news media pulp-edition and the news-media internets edition both need to self-censor – I mean "balance" because the public is tilting the other way then maybe there really is something happening here.

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