Folks, quit trying to make moral or ethical points about this. As you can see by perusing the nutroots and MSM, such comments just slide off their skins.
The journolistas are somewhere between shameless and proud of themselves. What we need to do is make the business case. We have no horsepower and only indirect influence — they still buy ink by the barrel and pixels by the googol — but the ownership, the owners and publishers and managing editors and directors and stockholders do have ways, and they need to start paying attention and attending to business.
Viewership and readership of the “mainstream media” — lousy term, but I don’t know a better — has been dropping steadily and has reached crisis proportions in some cases. The journolist shows why. People read the paper and turn on the teevee looking for news. If what they’re getting is Party propaganda, well, they can get that for free at the local Party headquarters, and not have to pay for the paper or sit through the Depends ads for it.
Furthermore, what really sells news is novelty, and the highest form of novelty is the scandal. A good scandal with 48-point headlines and anchors speaking with suppressed excitement attracts eyeballs; people turn the teevee on for updates, and buy newspapers for the details. The journolistas have left a lot of good scandals on the table, scandals that could have sold a lot of brassiere ads — John Kerry’s adventures with the antiwar Left, the Black Panthers, Cold Cash Jefferson, and of course anything about Barack Obama before he sprang full-blown from the brow of Bernadine Dohrn. Meanwhile they’ve been trying to manufacture scandals about Republicans, and failing miserably except among their own echo chamber. (Let’s face it, Republicans are boring. It’s one of their selling points.) It’s not so much that the matters haven’t been mentioned — they have, as any leftoid will be happy to remind you — it’s that they never got the full-bore, TV-truck-in-the-yard, breathless recounting of Teh Latest Revelations at the top of the seven o’clock segment treatment. Leaving scandals on the table costs you money, news-organization owners.
As readership declines and revenues plummet, news organizations have consolidated, merged, and taken all kinds of questionable measures to stay alive. It used to be that a mid-sized city like Kansas City or Dallas would have two or three newspapers, a couple of teevee stations, and a whole host of independent radio outlets. Nowadays they have one paper (besides News McNuggets USA Today) that gets everything from the AP, one TV outlet with essentially no reportorial staff that just takes the network feed at face value, and a gaggle of radio channels that lease their “news” coverage from Clear Channel if they have any at all. They got clearance for what are frankly monopolistic practices on the grounds that they were journalists, independent, fair and balanced. If the people producing and presenting the news are colluding in an effort to influence politics, that exception looks less and less credible.
So, news business owners:
1) People aren’t consuming your product because they don’t like paying for Party propaganda; plus, there’s a prima facie case for declaring your organization a PoliticalAction group dependent on one party (the Democrats in this case; having it be Republicans wouldn’t be any better). How’d you like to have to treat your budget as a campaign contribution under FEC rules?
2) You haven’t been producing much product anyway, because in their zeal to promote one political party your employees have been leaving highly salable product on the table or tossing it out entirely. As a result, are you gonna have funds to cover the lawyer bills?
3) This behavior is lapping well over into conspiracy in restraint of trade territory. You won’t like having to deal with the Federal Election Commission, but I can guarantee that the antitrust people are even less fun, and RICO covers a multitude of actions, only some of which are genuine sins.
Curb your critters, willya? It’s for your own good.