The Conversation

Slate: Newspapers will start losing money if they become conservative

I don't know where to begin when nearly every sentence in this Slate post is silly.  I am reminded of Ann Coulter's characterization of arguing with liberals.  After a barrage of idiotic statements, the conservative is basically forced to answer, "How is an elephant not like a raisin?"

Charles and David Koch are reporting [sic] considering buying the Tribune Company (owners of the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, and others) prompting a great Garance Franke-Ruta piece on why big city newspapers' editorial staffs invariably lean left.

That said, I don't see this as reason for skepticism about the merits of the Koch venture. It's actually why it makes sense. The "liberal media" is, as Franke-Ruta argues, largely a product of the free market. Certain niches—talk radio and cable television—are very friendly to a conservative editorial product but others are not. Which is exactly why what conservative media needs is a couple of extremely rich people to buy a newspaper company and lose a ton of money building a great conservative media product. 

So, a newspaper will only begin to lose money because "extremely rich" conservatives buy it?  I know all those left-leaning newspapers (and magazines) are doing just grand!

After all, the big problem with right-leaning media in America isn't that it doesn't exist. It's that it's terrible. There is a large audience out there that's so frustrated with the vile MSM that it's happy to lap up cheaply produced content from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and you can make lots of money serving that kind of thing up.

Wait, if you can make lots of money serving up conservative viewpoints, why would a conservative newspaper lose money?  Once again, we're told that conservatives are unpopular, but just in it for the ratings and the money.

By contrast, to build a great media company that's top-to-bottom staffed with conservatives is going to be very expensive. The possible talent pool of great reporters is tilted toward liberals. The talent pool of great photographers and graphic designers is probably even more tilted toward liberals. Finding the great conservatives out there and hiring them is going to be relatively costly, and there's no real economic point to doing so.

Ah, yes, because only conservatives care about making money.  Note to all left-leaning media management: Your employees will take less money because they're not in it for the money.  Nevermind there are a vast amount of creative people who don't really care about partisan politics and still want jobs.

I was just talking to my coworker about this article.  His take on it is that many conservative media outlets focus on the money-making aspects of online media (like slideshows and big personalities) while ignoring real investigative reporting.  I agree with the sentiment, but that's not what I took away from this post by Yglesias. 

More and more it seems like one's view of conservative media is a Rohrschach test for how people view their own contributions to conservative media.

When we first learned that the Koch brothers were considering buying Tribune Company, I saw it as a positive move.  Not because these papers would be transformed into The Washington Times, but because it would help conservatives look beyond the A section.  Management might be more open to conservative editorial voices (good for the movement) and conservatives might be more open to the importance of the non-A sections (also, good for the movement).

Wait, did Slate just get me to turn the magnifying glass back on conservative media?  Pretty sneaky, Slate.

(P.S. Some contributors may mention the last time Yglesias was featured on The Conversation, but I don't see any point in doing that because I also live in a nice house.)


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