“Personally, I prefer to read many opinions to get the big picture,” Bonnie McGuire wrote in response to “The Union can’t grow by promoting the views of political extremists under its masthead.” “I’m glad the new publisher intends to carry on the tradition. We’ve subscribed for almost 60 years, and our parents and grandparents before us. The Union has always represented the pulse of our community and may it continue to do so for many years in the future.”
What’s missing, though, is that the community is changing, and many of the long timers (and The Union/Swift management) don’t recognize it. Bonnie is confusing the “pulse of the community” demographics with The Union subscriber demographics (in her case, three generations of subscribers).
But the two don’t go hand in hand anymore — they have diverged. In a nutshell, The Union has lost touch with “the pulse of its community.” The previous publisher of The Union has been transferred to Roseburg, Ore., where the demographics are more in line with what they used to be here. It’s a good fit with the pulse of that community.
In our county, meanwhile, political views such as George Rebane’s (“reject Obamunism” was the latest) are in the minority, not the mainstream — even among conservatives. So why are they getting such prominent play in the newspaper that is supposed to reflect “the pulse of our community”?
The recent election results of District 1 Supervisor (where a tea-party endorsed candidate Sue McGuire ran against a moderate conservative, Nate Beason, and lost handily without a runoff) are just one case in point.
First of all the longtime hard-right in our community downplay the changing voter demographics of District 1. Here’s a discussion on Rebane’s blog before the election that illustrates what I mean:
Todd Juvinal: District One is over 50% R
Not exactly, here are the numbers from the Sec of State Office.
Nevada County Supervisorial Total: 13,569 Democrat – 5,008 Republican – 5,033 Amer Ind – 384 Green – 342 Libertarian -118 Peace and Fredom -26 O Other – 31 No Party Preference – 2,627
The key here is winning the No Preference vote.
Second the “preference vote” sided with the moderate, not the extreme, political view:
In the District 1 Supervisor race Nate Beason is on his way to earning a third term in office with 59 percent or 2,842 votes to Sue McGuires 29% at 1,402 votes, as KNCO reported. Al Bulf received 9 percent at 445 votes, and Louis Meyer who had actually withdrawn from the race but his name was still on the ballot received 84 votes. Beason, who says he received support from Republicans and Democrats thanked his many supporters.
So we’re talking about 29 percent, not 59 percent. And this is a race among two conservatives.
Before the election Rebane wrote: ”Sue McGuire has all of the qualifications to become our new supervisor,” and I’m voting for her, not Nate Beason.
-Rebane, May 30
After the election, he tried to downplay the outcome: “Dammit Todd, don’t tell ‘em [we won]. Let ‘em rest in the comfort of their fabricated world.”
Others on the losing end also back peddled.
If The Union is going to succeed, it needs to more accurately reflect the pulse of the community, not the “29 percent.” Revisiting its editorial policy and lineup of “columnists” is a good place to start.