Friday, October 15, 2004

Will Nearly Everybody Still Read?

Considering the ubiquity -- and ratings -- of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, conservatives have some nerve whining about the "liberal" media. Even locally, right-leaning Michael Smerconish has becoming something of a civic presence thanks to gigs on a local talk radio station and as a Daily News columnist, and the Inquirer has made a point to run regular op-eds by conservative columnists. But there's no Philadelphia equivalent to the Washington Times, so former Main Line Times editor Kevin Williamson is stepping in to fill the void.

Williamson -- not to be confused with his more famous namesake -- appeared on Smerconish's show Wednesday, reported the Inky and the DN, and announced that he would begin publishing a new paper, the Evening Bulletin, Mondays through Fridays beginning next month. As for the paper's political bent? The Daily News's Dan Gross wrote:

On Smerconish's show, Williamson likened the paper to the Fox News Channel, which he called an alternative to mainstream media.

Williamson, 32, is a motorcycle-riding former Texan described by a former colleague as "scary"-looking, and also "Catholic, very conservative, very bright, very hard-hitting, with a shaved head, and leather pants."

On Smerconish's show, Williamson said Narberth-based investment banker Tom Rice would be the publisher and financier.

Rice is also said to be conservative. He could not be reached yesterday for comment.

In an era when many more newspapers close up shop than crack open a new printing press, the Bulletin's launch is welcome. (Love the name, too -- nice nod to Philly tradition.) Chances are there are a lot of its politics with which I'll disagree, but that's okay -- contrasting voices are a healthy and necessary component of democracy. Best of luck to Mr. Williamson and his partners.


18 Comments:

At October 15, 2004 at 6:33 PM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

Let's see, the Fox News Channel and Rush Limbaugh nationally, and Michael Smerconish locally versus CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNBC, The L.A. Times, The N.Y. Times, the Inky and the Daily News, "Air America" to name a few. Yeah, what are we complaining about? Whew. The fact that FNC blasted every other non-cable news station (as well as CNN) should tell you bleeding heart liberals something: viewers are getting REALLY tired of the leftist slant.

As far as Williamson is concerned, I heard the interview on Smerconish's show (as opposed to reading it in the uber-left DN). And, as usual, Gross got it all wrong. Although Williamson claimed HE was conservative in nature, he promised that the job of The Bulletin would be to report the news, not commentate on it. When pressured by Smerconish if the paper would be a "conservative alternative" to the other two rags, he said no. Their job, as he sees it, is to report the news fairly on all sides, which would be something new in Philadelphia.

Of course, nowadays if someone states that they are going to be an alternative to the mainstream media, the MoveOn.org crowd (like you, Matt, and Mark) jump up and assume they will be hardcore right-wing - even before the paper begins its first printing.

BTW, Smerconsih is right-leaning, but has no problem bashing the Bush administration when needed. His book "Flying Blind" is testament to that.

 
At October 15, 2004 at 7:05 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Your words, Shawn: "The fact that FNC blasted every other non-cable news station (as well as CNN) should tell you bleeding heart liberals something: viewers are getting REALLY tired of the leftist slant." Thanks for proving my point -- people who complain that there's no conservative media voice are just wrong. The conservative media voices are scoring huge ratings. So why complain about the "liberal media"?

And, hey, this is Shallow Center, not Shallow Left, so don't lump me in with the MoveOn crowd. There's plenty of stuff on the left side that I disagree with. And plenty on the right, too. Can't we all just get along?

 
At October 15, 2004 at 7:07 PM, Blogger Tom said...

One more thing: I agree about Smerconish. One of the things I admire about him is the consistency of his position. Too many partisan commentators stray from their beliefs in order to blindly support their guy. Smerconish brings an intelligence to the table that's refreshing. Hell, sometimes I even agree with him.

 
At October 15, 2004 at 7:26 PM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

Really? I must have missed the posts where you bash the left. You must post them on the days that I don't check in. Oh, never mind, since I check in EVERY day, something must be wrong. Maybe Bowa is a Dem . . .

The fact that people rant about the liberal media is because every time something comes out of Limbaugh or the FNC, there are millions of people (like you) who label it right-wing balderdash, while CNN and their ilk get a free pass. Almost every time I post something about the Prez race, you chime in about Bush being a dope, or god-awful, etc., yet you have NEVER made the same claims about Kerry or other Dems. Am I missing something?

And the fact that you "sometimes agree with" conservatives is just swell. Thanks for throwing us a bone.

 
At October 17, 2004 at 3:16 PM, Blogger Mark said...

I welcome competition to the PNI papers. I think the Inky Op/Ed page has gotten weak and I hate that they got rid of the Sunday magazine and the Ombudsman’s column. I just hope the new paper doesn’t ruin the old Bulletin name.

 
At October 17, 2004 at 4:51 PM, Blogger Tom G. said...

Call me Crazy, but I think it is time the media stops pretending to be unbiased. I don't see anything wrong with just coming right out and saying, "Yep, we lean this way." Let's just stop the charade, on both sides. Ideally, in perfect world, the media would be unbiased, but as long as people and not robots are the ones writing and commenting, it is impossible for a news service to be 100% unbiased.

Go back in history as far as you want, news souces have always leaned one way or the other, what makes today's media so full of themselves that they think they can be unbiased?

 
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