Sunday, April 03, 2005

Local Papers: Left or Right?

Am I the only one that thinks the Times- Standard's reporting seems to have shifted to the left in the last few months? Seems like a great deal of their coverage involves the Greens or some other Left wing group or subject. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that. Heck, I'm glad to see the coverage of the NORML meeting in San Francisco, but I'll bet you that coverage wouldn't have been in the paper a year ago.

Papers should be able to write about whatever they want, however they want. But I just noticed in today's T-S a page two article on local Green, David Cobb. Seemed to me to be a non- story after reading it but they had it on the top fold of page two with a pretty large headline. Maybe it was just a slow news day?

I've actually found many people accuse papers of left or right bias just because the paper doesn't write the news the way they want it written. I remember reading an e-mail discussion on the Redwood Peace and Justice Center e- mail list where it seemed some were complaining about an article on Democracy Unlimited by the Times Standard. Heck, they gave DU over half a page with only a couple comments from those criticizing DU. I thought, if anything, it was mostly positive.

But, The T-S does seem to have leaned more toward the left as of late. I told the editor of the T-S some time ago that they definitely leaned toward the Left if only because of their editorials and their ballot recommendations around election time but thought, at the time, it didn't seem to affect their general reporting a whole lot. They have had a thing about Libertarians at times, though. I remember a few years ago, when they published the results of a primary election, they had the results of every race, even uncontested ones, except for the Libertarian Party results. But, later on, when our candidate went to them asking for an interview, they gave him (and a little bit of me) a top notch story on the top fold of page one of the Sunday paper. I had to thank them for that.

Other local papers might have their own leanings as well: The Eureka Reporter certainly leans toward the Right, if only because of their ballot recommendations- straight Republican- but they give space to writers of opposing opinions as well.

The North Coast Journal is one of my favorites, if only because I think they give pretty even sided coverage of issues, albeit not many issues. I'm not interested in the arts and entertainment stuff that predominates the NC Journal but the local news and issues coverage is the best and, I feel, very unbiased despite being a publication oriented toward the Left.

The Humboldt Beacon seems pretty even sided, the few times I've read it. I haven't subscribed to it for some time though.

I was just made aware a couple months ago of "The Advocate" newspaper. Despite one of their main reporters (Charles Douglas) being one of the Green Party big wigs around here, the paper seems pretty even handed in their reporting, although I've only read maybe three issues of it. They even invited me to write a column or two for their paper. In fact, that was one of a number of reasons I started this blog: to get used to writing more often and hopefully come up with something, even if by accident, that someone might actually want to read.


At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can you really say the times standard is left??? they endorsed rex bohn for crissakes and so did the so called unbiased northcoast journal...i cant remember the last time the beacon didnt endorse a republican

At 7:25 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I forgot about that (the Bohn recommendation) but, since the NC Journal also endorsed Bohn, maybe they had a good reason aside from any partisan concerns for endorsing Bohn? I don't know.

As far as the Times Standard, I was mostly commenting on the type of stuff they report on as of late. It seems to be mostly on environmental issues and government stuff. I wasn't really referring to the reporting so much being biased, just the content. I suspect that, since I've noticed a few new names writing the stories, it's just that the reporters go where they're comfortable for stories, which might in their case be environmental folks. It also could well be that the Left has been making what seems to be an energetic effort at publicity for a while now. Not to say that the Right doesn't do the same, as past Republican Party Chair, Mike Harvey, made some effort to get in the press as well although I'm not sure his efforts carried the same momentum.


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