Disdain for Conservatives is alive and well
Conservatives may take some satisfaction from the latest NBC-WSJ poll showing that 42 percent of U.S. voters label themselves as conservative while 35 percent call themselves moderate and only 20 percent confess to being liberals.
But you'd never know it from reading the mainstream media which continues to display a decidedly leftward tilt. The latest grotesque example comes courtesy of a prime suspect, The Washington Post, and it results -- oh-so-ironically -- from an effort by the Post to improve its coverage of the conservative movement.
The paper hired a blogger named Dave Weigel to write about conservatives in its online edition. The idea, the paper indicates, was to provide readers with insight into the conservative world and its movers-and-shakers. Instead, after a relatively short time on the job, Weigel exposed his real views by ranting in emails to a forum of fellow liberals about the very conservatives he was allegedly covering and explaining.
Like, for example: "This would be a vastly better world to live in if Matt Drudge decided to handle his emotional problems more responsibly, and set himself on fire."
Great stuff, eh? And there was more such venom in Weigel's emails, much more. So why did a respected newspaper -- even one that usually follows the liberal line -- hire an anti-conservative to cover conservatives. The Posts's ombudsman attempts to explain.
In the process, he offers good insight into the mindset that prevails in so many newsrooms (including some here in Maine). He explains how and what it happened at the Post but offers little about the big question that applies to virtually all of the media: Why?
Why are journalists so unable to relate to what has shown in poll after poll -- included the one cited above -- to be the majority of their readers? The majority don't necessarily want the media to take their side. They just want a fair shake. And put-downs like the one offered by the Washington Post blogger only solidify the widespread and growing perception that ideology, not fairness, is what really interests the mainstream media.
This is festering situation that publishers, editors and reporters here in Maine as well as across the nation ought to seriously consider.