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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Don't let the door hit you on the way out

Twitchy calls this the "emptiest threat ever":

It’s been widely reported that, at a recent LA Times staff meeting, fully half in attendance raised their hands when asked if they’d quit if the paper were purchased by the Koch brothers.

Me, I'd call it "a good start." Journalists won't admit there's a liberal bias in the press, because, well, they don't even see it. To them, their world view is just a natural part of day-to-day life. And if they won't change or can't even see the need to, the best those of us on the right can hope for is that a bunch of them leave in a hissy fit over evil rightwing zealots invading trying to play in their progressive sandbox.

I think this is right, though:

. . . the great conservative dream of buying up big-name liberal media outlets and making them more objective had a fatal flaw, namely that the reporters themselves would never tolerate it. Some will walk, others will stay on and defy warnings from the top not to tilt left and then dare ownership to fire them, knowing that martyrdom from the rest of the media awaits. Ace countered that Fox News proves that’s not true: Surely there are plenty of liberals working there, however grudgingly, in the name of collecting a paycheck in a highly competitive industry. They’ll put money over ideology if push comes to shove. Maybe, but Fox isn’t an exact analogue. Fox started from scratch as a conservative network; the Kochs buying the Times would be an invasion of liberal territory, a takeover of a once-eminent serious newspaper. It would threaten the left in a way that building a conservative media outlet from the ground up wouldn’t. Choosing to work for it would, at least at first, be seen by some leftist media types as tantamount to crossing a picket line. That’s a price worth paying in the long run, and even in the short run to see the bias exposed so nakedly, but if you think the Kochs are going to swoop in and turn the Times neutral or even conservative-leaning overnight, you’re kidding yourself.

I'm not sure what the goal of the Koch brothers would be. If it's just to transform the editorial page into a conservative one, that's fine -- always glad for the company. But what would they really want in a newsroom? Replace leftwing bias with rightwing bias? Insist on an "objectivity" that will be mostly illusory?