I increasingly ask myself if we are being swallowed up by right-wing media — much of it extreme — here in the foothills.
It’s hard for any “flatlander” to comprehend, where the popular wisdom is that media outlets tilt to the left.
Ironically, this “old boys” media network comes at a time when we are going “purple” politically — electing our most liberal supervisor in years and ousting the most conservative one, for example.
•The Union. This morning the editor/publisher complains about the bureaucracy and environmentalists (again) — this time when it comes to reopening the Idaho-Maryland Mine. “What a pointless rambling pile of prose,” responded one reader, AKA “customer.”
•KNCO. This radio station still features Rush Limbaugh and other extreme right commentators but provides no balance. It recently sold its Yuba City station to “downsize.”
•Right-wing bloggers. Their ranks are growing: Russ Steele, George Rebane, Barry Pruett and Todd Juvinall. This morning Pruett — whose wife works for Tom McClintock — cites another Rasmussan report to support a hard-line immigration policy — despite a finding by the Pew Institute that the landline-only polls show a GOP bias.
Rebane bashed the Sugarloaf deal this weekend, which provides open space for the picturesque town of Nevada City.
Steele got his scoop from the “nonpartisan” county Contractor’s Association Christmas party, where our new State Senator has launched a webpage “There Ought Not to Be a Law.”
“Jennifer Sailor, State Senator Doug LaMalfa’s Nevada County Field Rep, mentioned this contest at the NCCA Christmas Party, but asked me to wait untill the contest was launched before posting on the contest,” he writes, agreeing to hold off before carrying water for the field rep.
If you challenge this blogging group, you can expect a personal attack that is unrelated to any discussion at hand.
People who comment on the right-wing blogs include “John S,” who are conservative electeds in our county.
In a Democratic state, this onslaught of hard right commentary (with its “my way or the highway” tone) helps isolate us from the rest of the state.
It burns bridges, rather than builds them. It stifles our ability to find innovative solutions to our problems, rather than just defending the status quo.
We need to diversify our economy, not just rely on “old” industries such as mining and logging — or real estate and construction. It is stale thinking.
In addition, from a business perspective, the intended audience of all this like-minded commentary is shrinking. We are an older, declining population.
The way to grow your business is to diversify, form an alliance or target other markets. Winning a government contract might be another, but you can’t do that while you’re bashing government.
Ironically, Fox News — for all the populist fervor — has its own growth problems. FoxNews.com’s web traffic is lagging behind its cable news rivals, including CNN.com.
As Mediaweek’s Mike Shields writes: “Far more people visit websites than watch the television network. The top rated cable news telecasts will attract a couple of million viewers. Meanwhile unique visitors to network websites are counted in the tens of millions.”
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