I tweeted this link last night and John Ziegler replied, “Isn’t this guild statement the ultimate smoking gun of liberal media bias? Didn’t do same for David Geffen’s efforts to buy LAT”. Precisely my point in yesterday’s post. If the media was as neutral as they pretend to be for professional (and political) advantage, any bid from a strong partisan, whether left or right, should cause jitters about the newsroom becoming “unbalanced.” Where’s the hand-wringing over liberal ideologues buying up media?
Here’s the Guild statement in full, via Jim Romenesko. Note that there’s no hand-wringing over traditional union concerns like the Kochs cutting wages, layoffs, reducing hours, etc. The objection is purely political, fraudulently dressed up as concern that the chastity of our impartial media might — gasp — be violated by ideology. In terms of pure contempt for the reader’s intelligence, the boldface bit here is the rhetorical equivalent of a middle finger:
Recently you’ve seen many petitions asking that the Koch brothers not be allowed to buy the Tribune Company’s newspapers. We understand why the Kochs breed this distrust. They are active political proponents of harsh right-wing positions. We’re also not certain that Tribune will listen to anything but money when the final decision is made.
What we do know is that great papers publish credible, trusted journalism online and on the printed page. Whoever comes to own these mastheads needs to understand that protecting newsrooms from ideological taint is no small thing. The future of American journalism depends on the ability to print truth, not opinion.
We call on Tribune to make a pledge that they’ll only sell to a buyer that will protect the objectivity of the news product by making a public commitment to doing so. The Newspaper Guild-CWA and the Communications Workers of America seek your support in this goal.
Yesterday I wanted the Kochs to buy the paper to spite the bien-pensants there who can’t stop getting high on the “untainted” scent of their own partisan farts. Now I want someone like Soros to buy it so that we can grind their faces in this statement when the Guild inevitably issues no objection to that sale. Actually, though, this fits with the trend I wrote about recently vis-a-vis Gosnell of the media becoming more candid about its biases over time provided that it doesn’t have to correct those biases. Conservative media watchdogs gave them a choice: Go on calling yourself objective and be objective, or go on being biased and cop to the bias. The idea was that they’d be shamed into choosing door number one. Wrong. They’ve taken door number two — occasionally with a vengeance, per the Guild’s little broadside against the Kochs. You win, wingnuts. We’re biased. Now leave us alone.
But look on the bright side. If you’re a fan of partisan conservative media like talk radio or Fox News, big media’s insistence on remaining out-and-proud left is good news for you. It’s not good for the average voter (there’s a special irony in California’s flagship newspaper riding an ideological monopoly to ruin), but big media’s loss is alternative media’s gain.
Update: I dare them to do it. Just because I want to see what the inevitable First Amendment lawsuit looks like.
Three Los Angeles City Council members — including a candidate for mayor — asked their colleagues Tuesday to consider pulling city pension money from the investment firms that own the Los Angeles Times if they sell the publication to buyers who do not support “professional and objective journalism.”…
“Frankly what I hear about the Koch brothers, if it’s true, it’s the end of journalism,’’ said [Councilman Bill] Rosendahl, a former broadcaster. “I don’t want to see Los Angeles, the second-largest city and the biggest region in the nation, not to have a quality newspaper.”…
“We cannot support the sale of the Times to entities who Times readers would view as a political transaction first and foremost, turning L.A.’s metropolitan daily into an ideological mouthpiece whose commitment to empirical journalism would be unproven at best,” Rosendahl wrote in the motion. “A newspaper isn’t just a business it’s also a civic trust.”
It’s the end of journalism if the Kochs buy a newspaper, but not if city governments start threatening media companies financially for endorsing the wrong political views?
I’ll leave you with this:
If L.A. Dems horrified by Kochs Tribune bid, but not wealthy liberal donors' bid, maybe it's more about self-preservation than journalism.
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) May 1, 2013