From the Editor of Editor & Publisher
Editor & Publisher is a trade magazine for the left wing MSM, and so naturally its editor has perfect pitch for the overwhelmingly left wing MSM. From a recent column by Greg Mitchell blasting new New York Times columnist and former WaPo reporter Thomas Edsall:
Edsall was so eager to sell his new book that he appeared recently on rightwing radio host Hugh Hewitt’s program, where he admitted that the mainstream media has an “overwhelmingly” strong liberal bias — making the job for his former colleagues in the industry so much easier — and estimated that Democrats outnumber Republicans in newsrooms by 15 or 25 to 1. This margin is not sustained by a single survey, even the slanted ones frequently cited by Hewitt and has brethren.
Here’s the important aspect of this paragraph: Everyone knows that Edsall was speaking the truth, and honest journalists like Mark Halperin and Thomas Edsall admit it.
Mitchell can’t and won’t because the admission of pervasive left-wing bias within the MSM threatens the less talented among the lefty brethren. If media companies intend to get competitive before completely bleeding out, they will have to re-balance their newsrooms and end the clubby smugness that destroys not just their appeal to many readers who resent the endless agenda journalism, but which also wrecks a journalist’s news judgment. Thus do places like the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Los Angeles Times shut heir newsrooms off from the sort of intellectual diversity and debate that sharpens all comers and produces much more interesting papers, and with that, climbing as opposed to plummeting circulation.
But to re-balance would mean tossing a lot of the timeserving and talentless lefties overboard and hunting for fresh perspective and energetic newcomers. E&P is like a union newsletter –it isn’t going to be calling for productivity improvements anytime soon, even though its engines are shutting down, and in fairly rapid fashion.
UPDATE: Edsall responded to Mitchell’s blast with a bit of analysis that is probably the best assessment of the 2006 elections yet rendered by the anyone in the MSM, which collectively seems obliviouis to the year six of eight year presidencies data. Edsall wrote in part:
Republicans have been ascendant in American politics — the data there are clear — since the mid sixties, with the transformation of the South into a GOP stronghold. Things change. The reformulation of a center-left coalition which may be emerging this year has been four decades in the making — I don’t think it is irrational to see this new success as potentially fragile. The Democrats won the presidency in 1976, to see it slip away in 1980. They won the Senate in 1986 and lost it in 1990. Clinton won the White House in 1992 (with 42% of the vote in a 3-way race), only to see the House and Senate swing to the GOP in 1994, where they stayed for the next 12 years. In addition, the Republicans won the presidency in 2000 and 2004.
The win this November was a substantial gain for the Democrats, but not an iron-clad irreversible victory, if you look at the numbers.
I have invited Greg Mitchell to be a guest on the radio show.