- Affordable health care
- Balanced state funding
- Economic development
- Better government
- Quality growth and planning
- Rails and highways
- Water resources
- Open government
A fellow I know has written a critique of the SE’s editorial agenda. It was published in today’s edition. His wit is somewhat scathing.
"Regarding the Jan. 7 editorial "Our 2007 editorial agenda": Regarding the topic "affordable health care," I can only assume your "morality" or "religion" says it's blasphemy for private industries (see drug companies) to have record profits, but a sign of "righteousness" for governments to have them (see taxes)? Where in the Utah or U.S. constitutions does it say anything about "affordable" health care?
"Diversity: What offerings of diversity will your God accept?
"Economic development: Let's see, your "religion" doesn't allow too much economic development, so tell us how much economic development the wicked private sector can have.
"Education: I noticed your "religion" gives all the freedom and choice to the government.
"Open government: Your "good book" must state: "You shall live by the sweat of other people's brows," and "Thou shalt not steal unless it's for a 'good' cause -- especially for children."
"Government cannot give to someone without first taking by force from another.
"You do not want government to be "open," otherwise you would never get the plunder that they take to carry out your "religious" agenda!"
Bear in mind that by national MSM standards, the SE’s editors are quite ‘conservative.’ But by actual conservative standards, the SE editors lean rather liberal. This little episode demonstrates why people increasingly deprecate MSM output. While pretending to be objective, liberal bias screams from between the lines of almost all MSM productions. This dissonance naturally results in a reduction of credibility.
Conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt spoke at a journalism symposium last year (see discussion). He argued that the MSM’s arch enemy, conservative talk radio pioneer Rush Limbaugh, is actually the most trusted media personality in America. Why? Because his agenda is totally transparent. His modus operandi very closely matches his purported nature.
The MSM, on the other hand, likes to promote itself as objective and unbiased, while it is quite obvious to almost everyone that this claim does not align well with the facts. Hewitt says that the way for the MSM to regain credibility is embrace transparency — they should go ahead and be honest about their agenda. When their actions line up with their purported nature, credibility will return. People will use their own judgment to sift out the opinion angle.
I think Hewitt has a point. But I think he really misses what the MSM is all about. The MSM is not about truth. With very few exceptions, the MSM is about power. For years the MSM had a corner on the information market. They had almost unilateral power to make people think what they wanted. For many MSM people, that is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
But that power has been waning. Oh, they still have a great deal of power, but a variety of channels have cut in and diminished it. They are trying to morph to make up, not just for lost market share, but for loss of power over the lives of individuals. But most of their changes are simply window dressing. The evening news and the morning newspaper aren’t going to completely disappear anytime soon, but their power is far less than what it was when I was delivering the SE as a kid.
This is apparent in my sons’ experience as news carriers for the SE. When I spent almost six years delivering the SE there were only five or six homes on my 75-customer route that didn’t subscribe. There was only one delivery option: yes or no. Now, my sons’ routes cover more than double the number of homes that were in my route, but their total number of customers is about the same. In other words, many people don’t take the newspaper. And of the customers my sons have, some only get the paper on weekends or even just on Sundays.
Don’t look to the MSM to take Hewitt’s advice. For one thing, Hewitt is the enemy. But for another, many people on the inside of MSM organizations truly believe that they are objective and unbiased. The people they hang out with all think the same as they do. They have difficulty comprehending how any intelligent person could have opinions that strongly differ from them. And even if idiots out there do have differing opinions, MSM people are so elite in their abilities that they are capable of filtering out their own opinions while developing media output. They are incapable of realizing how silly some of their stuff sounds.
Competition is healthy for the MSM, but it causes them fits. I’m not one of those prognosticators that pretend to accurately predict what the future of media is. Who knows what the next big change to impact media will be? 15 years ago, almost nobody knew anything about the Internet. How will the market change over the next 15 years? It’s almost impossible to say.
But I think it’s safe to say that the basic nature of the MSM will not change. They will continue to pretend they are unbiased while constantly spewing bias, even if this course of action continues to reduce market share. The leopard will not change its spots.