January 29, 2006
-- by John Emerson
I've sent the letter below to a few people who sometimes answer my emails. To me it seems like an obviously good idea, though no one has showed much interest so far. Pass it on.
I've been flogging the idea of a new national newspaper for well over a year. I even tried to persuade the Guardian to publish a US edition -- no luck.
I don't have much throw weight, and unless someone else picks up the idea it won't even be talked about.
I strongly doubt that the Times and the Post will reform themselves. I think that Sulzberger and Graham are much more strongly committed to a political agenda (probably neocon) than anyone realizes.
It would take a lot of startup money, but with good management and promotion it could be good business. The money is there, though liberals do seem to be much stingier than conservatives. the new newspaper would be a magnet for new journalists of the non-opportunist sort, and my bet is that some disgruntled major guys would jump from the Times and Post. There are also a lot of people like Seymour Hersh out there, who used to be newspapermen but got blackballed.
I am convinced that the center-right / right bias of the media dooms the Democrats to defeat. The free media are the worst, but the newspapers are also very bad and speak to a more significant demographic. Because of media skew, ambient political opinion -- the opinion of independents, moderates, and thoughtless people generally -- can usually be swung to the Republicans, and since the Republicans start out with a hard rightwing core representing 30%-35% of the vote, they usually win.
Right now I live in Minnesota. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is a skimpy, average paper, but the editorial policy is liberal. It really makes a difference for your morale to open a newspaper with the reasonable hope of seeing something you agree with, and I believe I notice a difference in the guy reactions of ordinary people around me who otherwise be cynical centrists. Ambient political opinion is a tremendous political force.
Nobody's going to listen to me, but maybe if someone else picks this up the idea will get a little traction.
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I think you're on to something. Most people who read and understand the great Daou Report post everyone's linking to this week would probably agree a national liberal paper is a good idea, at least in theory.
Posted by: Fat Tony at January 29, 2006 9:57 AM
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