The Local Newspaper

I have written far too many articles about the demise of newspapers. Like the yellow pages, these monopolistic local voices have held their fingers a little too strongly around the necks of local businesses and local politics. An editorial story with slanted investigative bent could easily spell demise or success at will. To some degree, local television media wields the same power.

It is no wonder that Warren Buffet is treated so nicely by the media. He owns more newspapers than any other american. Newspapers are horrid investments, yet the rich have found them to be excellent tools to forwarding their political and economic agenda. The liberal bias of the Buffalo News wrote an article or two every day that disparaged Carl Palidino - Republican candidate for Governor of New York. According to research performed by the University of Buffalo, there was not a single article written that supported Palidino's candidacy at any time during his campaign. Surely there was some redeeming aspect to a candidate who won the Republican Nomination.

If you pull back a few thousand feet, you can see newspapers coming full circle. Before World War II, newspapers were mostly owned by political and business interests who used them to push an agenda. People like William Randolph Hearst and Robert McCormick wielded their newspapers as cudgels to get their way. It was only when newspapers began making all kinds of money in the postwar era that they were professionalized and infused with editorial standards.

“We are going back to a form of ownership that dominated in an earlier era,” said Alan D. Mutter, a newspaper and technology consultant. “As newspapers become less impressive businesses, people are going to buy them as trophies or bully pulpits or some other form of personal expression.”

We should all be skeptical about the motives of the modern descendants of Hearst and McCormick. People just have to be aware that other agendas exist. Take a gander at the San Luis Obispo Tribune and see if you can figure out where their political and economic interests rest.


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