Sep
29
2012

#rsrh I… would heartily recommend that conservatives avoid news careers.

I saw this Washington Post article (via Hot Air), and I, well, winced.  To be fair, I believe that the author of that article is sincere when he says that the Washington Post should hire more conservatives for its news sections; but I do not believe that the author has really considered precisely how nasty and short a career those conservatives will have, once they start becoming effective.  The brutal truth of the matter is that conservatives have noted, time and again, that attempts to break into the bastion of liberal thought that is the newspaper business goes as follows:

  • A liberal Media organization announces fairly well-known up-and-coming conservative pundit/writer to work for them.
  • The Left goes through the pundit/writer’s backlog to find something that can be used to discredit him or her.
  • The Left full-court presses their “revelations” until something sticks.
  • The liberal Media organization caves, fires the pundit/writer.
  • The Left pats itself on the back.

I can guarantee you that somebody on the Left is right now reading this, and murmuring “Right on!” – and annoying as that is, that is how it is; and crying about it won’t change the situation.  The Media may want conservatives, theoretically – but they usually don’t want them badly enough to tell the slavering mob to go away.  So, what can you do, then? You can’t expect somebody to take a job – particularly in this economy – that they know they’re going to keep two, three weeks tops; and you can’t make people be sacrificial victims, either.  In fact, there’s only one damned thing that the Right can do:

(murmuring) Right on.

Moe Lane

PS: I don’t really care what traditions the modern newspaper business maintains, largely because they’ve abandoned this one:

If Woodhouse knew nothing of journalism, young Ollyett, who had graduated in a hard school, knew a good deal. Our halfpenny evening paper, which we will call _The Bun_ to distinguish her from her prosperous morning sister, _The Cake_, was not only diseased but corrupt. We found this out when a man brought us the prospectus of a new oil-field and demanded sub-leaders on its prosperity. Ollyett talked pure Brasenose to him for three minutes. Otherwise he spoke and wrote trade-English–a toothsome amalgam of Americanisms and epigrams. But though the slang changes the game never alters, and Ollyett and I and, in the end, some others enjoyed it immensely. It was weeks ere we could see the wood for the trees, but so soon as the staff realised that they had proprietors who backed them right or wrong, and specially when they were wrong (which is the sole secret of journalism), and that their fate did not hang on any passing owner’s passing mood, they did miracles.

Bolding mine.  The quote is from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Village That Voted The Earth Was Flat,” and you should read it on general principles.

15 Comments

  • […] UPDATE: Moe Lane diagrams the inevitably short unhappy lifespan of a conservative working for a liberal newspaper, and concludes, “I… would heartily recommend that conservatives avoid news careers.” […]

  • acat says:

    Well .. there is a third option here, Moe. Pick up where Breitbart left off.

    I see a lot of “newsletters”, and of course Glen Beck* but not anyone with the audacity of Cheops, daring to believe that conservative** news is possible, even profitable.

    Mew

    * whose success I admire, even though I can’t stand to listen to his voice…

    ** truly conservative, not just Fox News relatively-speaking-conservative…

  • Joe I. says:

    Interestingly enough, I am a conservative who has recently taken a job at a left-of-center, but not wildly liberal newspaper. My boss is a liberal, yet she has allowed me pretty wide latitude on the stories I’ve done, and has not tried to interfere or influence my decisions on what stories I do. So far this week, I’ve had stories on the front page 4 out of 5 days. I have a West Nile story slated to run Monday. Granted, the WNV story isn’t controversial, but I’ve been fairly treated so far. The newspaper is a part of a large conglomerate, maybe there has been a change. Nah…not likely, but hope springs eternal. I may be out looking for a job soon, who knows? LOL.

  • Tom says:

    Joe, perhaps you can make a sacrificial test for us and lay on the train tracks as follows:

    Write a detailed expose of [choose anything this administration has done/failed to do] and lay it out there for voters of all stripes to read.

    Its not like you’ll have to dig deep to find factual supporting details to build an actual journalistic product.

    If you get let go, you can always write a book about the experience.

  • JS Absher says:

    The Anchoress recently quoted this from HL Mencken: “A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier” (http://tinyurl.com/8agmjug), a saying we see illustrated daily.

  • Dave Ivers says:

    Interestingly enough, my wife and I used to subscribe to the Detroit News. It wasn’t a terrible paper. She’s probably conservative and I’m a libertarian. Anyway, the News and the Free Press made a new deal and pretty much dropped daily delivery. We now get physical newspapers on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. We have, I suppose, free access to the online files or something.

    What’s funny is that we quit paying for it when this delivery system began, some three years ago or more. We keep getting the physical delivery three days a week but no bill. If one comes I won’t pay it because I don’t care enough to continue to get home delivery. I suspect that they’ll keep delivering them because they need the circulation numbers.

    The worst thing about this system is you can’t keep up with your favorite comic strips.

    The Detroit papers truly are nuts.

  • Joe I. says:

    Tom, the test may come in the next couple of weeks. I’m in the process of writing a story on Tom Cotton, a conservative Republican running for the 4th District Congressional seat in Arkansas. He’s a Harvard-educated lawyer who quit a pretigious law firm and voluteered to serve in the US Army and ended up in Iraq and Afghanistan. He led an infantry platoon, part of the 101st Airborne I believe, and called out the NYTs for revealing the SWIFT program. The NYTs and other liberal groups questioned his existence at the time. He also served in the 3rd US Infantry Regiment(Old Guard) at Ft. Myers, Va. Should be a good test as the story I’m writing will be very complementary to Cotton.

  • Roddy Boyd says:

    Moe,

    My name is Roddy Boyd and I am an investigative reporter. You can google me to see my CV; check AMZN for my book.

    There’s no problem–at least for me–being an “out” conservative (though I prefer to identify myself as either a Libertarian or, more accurately, a classical liberal) in MSM as long as you are prepared to be the only Orthodox Jew at the BBQ joint in Alabama.

    If you need comfort or reinforcing support for your political views, then that’s not the career for you. I don’t. I think I’ve been able to forge a career for myself because I am effective and aggressive in my reporting; I generally wade in where other reporters fear to tread.

    That’s earned me some street cred so my deviation from orthodoxy is tolerated.

    It’s a hard way to earn a living. I have no idea why so many of my colleagues are so devoted to the Left. As I tell them, constantly…for more than a decade, unilateral devotion to a political party only serves to alienate ~50% of the potential readership.

  • acat says:

    Question for @Joe and @Roddy … how high up in the organization do you think you can get?

    Mew

  • Joe I. says:

    Good question, acat, and I don’t really know. I am working for less money than I could mainly because I want to make a difference. Our institutions were taken over by liberals a generation or more ago, and it’s way past time we pushed back. I’m pushing gently now, but intend to up the pressure and see how far it takes me. My next series of articles will be focusing in on higher education, a very rich target environment. Should be fun.

  • Adjoran says:

    The trend of revenue and circulation (for newspapers) loss is worse than it appears. Ad revenues last year were below 1950 levels in constant dollars. Newspapers are cutting back on publishing and home delivery to save costs. The entire industry grew on the home delivery concept, to make the paper a habit in each home instead of relying on single copy sales from vendors or machines.

    The fact that the “news” industry has spent half a century destroying its own credibility is not merely incidental.

  • AzA says:

    Yes, conservative voices are marginalized out of the big media outlets. Ironically, a lot of lefties don’t think that is true. I’m quoting one when I say “The New York TImes has conservative writers.” By which he meant David Brooks, I suppose.

    I think you need to add one more step to the little game. The mainstream media exclude conservatives. Therefore, conservatives end up as bloggers, or in more local or ideological publications.

    Then finally, whenever a conservative like me tries to pass on a bit of writing to a liberal, said liberal dismisses it because it is not in a mainstream publication. After all, if this writer were really to be taken seriously, he/she would already be in the New York Times,Atlantic,The New Republic, etc.

    Thus do the gatekeepers function. They tell the would-be elites which writers are acceptable, and exclude those that are not. And the proof that those writers are not acceptable is the fact that they are excluded.

    Rinse, lather, repeat.

  • swami says:

    I work in the newsroom of a large, Northeastern TV news station. As bad as the bias looks from the outside, it’s even worse from the inside. The way the bias manifests itself is in story selection–what is or isn’t a story. The “deciders” in the room all have the same left-wing frame of reference; therefore, a Romney “gaffe” is news, while an Obama coverup of Libya is not. The coverage follows the mindset. The way this newsroom is treating one of the country’s highest-profile Senate races is disgusting. The few conservatives in the building speak with each other in hushed tones, for fear of being branded “extreme” and eventually being shown the door. Yes, it’s bad. Very bad. Worse than the public knows.

  • Patrick M says:

    “Interestingly enough, I am a conservative who has recently taken a job at a left-of-center,… ”

    The fact that a conservative in a news organization is ‘interesting’ is itself ‘telling’.

    “Our institutions were taken over by liberals a generation or more ago, and it’s way past time we pushed back. ”

    Indeed.

    “I think you need to add one more step to the little game. The mainstream media exclude conservatives. Therefore, conservatives end up as bloggers, or in more local or ideological publications.”

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