Saturday, April 30, 2005

Tolerant Liberals – 105

Shut Up Those Talk Radio Guys

From Sykes Writes, how liberal journalists at the Journal-Sentinel want to shut up Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner, conservative talk radio hosts who often criticize the paper. An e-mail sent out by a former copy editor at the paper named Stephen Maersch shows him asking the following question at shareholders’ meeting of Journal Communications, which owns both the paper and WTMJ radio.
Why do you allow Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner to continually bash the Journal Sentinel over WTMJ? Don’t you think this is damaging the newspaper? Also, why doesn’t WTMJ embrace a policy of fairness and equal time?
Maersch then goes on to editorialize to the recipients of his e-mail:
My read: I think what JournalComm is doing with WTMJ is extremely unethical. The most powerful radio station in the state is being used to promote the fortunes of one political party over those of another. The people are trapped. The only two stations in Milwaukee that have bona fide news desks, WTMJ and WISN, are fornicating with the Republican Party. And allowing Sykes and Wagner to conduct a dirty war against the Journal Sentinel is the stupidest thing I ever heard of. We’re using one division of the company to damage another. It’s like Chevrolet taking cheap shots at Buick. . . .
The executives at Journal Communications gave a somewhat convoluted answer, the gist of which was “Sykes and Wagner make us money.”

Score one for capitalism.

The Mainstream Media tend to be living in an era – decades ago – before there was vigorous competition in the news business. The three “major networks” had news operations that were in business not to make a profit, but to bring prestige to the network. Local newspapers were very powerful, and mostly monopolies, and the major ones were all liberal (with the exception of the Wall Street Journal). Talk radio was less important. With pretty much monopoly control over both both broadcast and print media, the liberal journalists were sitting pretty.

With the rise cable news (especially Fox News), the rise of conservative talk radio and the transformation of the Internet into a mass medium, the liberal journalists find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to actually compete with conservative voices.

And often being held accountable for their biases and mistakes by the conservative media.

They don’t like that. In fact they really hate that.

So their gut instinct is to try to shut down competing voices. If they are smart they don’t admit that this is what they really want. But sometimes the truth slips out.

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