Corporate Rag

The Elecpencil gets the Warren Tribune delivered to his humble abode. I like getting the local newspaper and I realize many people who don’t live in big cities make fun of their local newspapers as being kind of  podunk. The truth is most of those suburban and rural newspapers are corporate owned. One needs to look at a newspapers editorial page to really judge where a newspaper is coming from. Looking at the “Tribs” editorial page you will see mostly right-wing syndicated columnists.

The Tribune has two African-American syndicated columnists, Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell. What were the odds that they both happen to be right-wingers? Sowell is a senior fellow at the conservative think tank, the Hoover Institute. Hoover’s agenda includes wiping out public education, dismantling affirmative action, privatization of social services, tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of industry and dismissing environmental concerns. Hoover Institute played an influential role in developing President Bush’s economic policy. That in itself should show you that having one of its shills like Sowell on your editorial page makes you a joke. On the other hand the joke is on us if we think of newspapers like, the Warren Tribune of being a small town paper focusing on community news. Most of our small town papers are owned by the same corporations that fund right-wing think tanks like the Hoover Institute.

Hoover isn’t about academic thought it’s about being a self-servicing venue for it’s funders Chrysler, Ford, GM, Exxon,  Archer Daniels etc. Thus Sowell is a corporate lackey promoting corporate interests over national interests. Along the same lines the Warren Tribune’s editor and his editorial page’s syndicated columnists serve the corporate interests of Ogden Newspapers which owns the Tribune. The Nutting Family owns Ogden Newspapers and has newspapers in 12 states. The company is headquartered in Wheeling, West Virginia. The family also owns the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania and the majority interest in the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. Almost all members of the family are substantial contributors to the Republican Party.

Here’s a colorful story on the Nutting family

Warren Tribune editor, Frank Robinson doesn’t seem to care that this area is working-class and union oriented. The only time Robinson is patting unions on the back is when they are giving concessions and bending over to screw workers and benefit the CEO’s. The Tribunes editorial page features right-wingers: Sowell, Williams, Pat Buchanan, George Will, Cal Thomas, Bill O’Reilly, Dick Morris and Michele Malkin. Malkin has written a book in defense of interning Japanese Americans during WWII.  Malkin even says, that many of those interned liked the experience. Such a book makes Malkin a joke and any newspaper that features her columns thusly turns itself into a comic book. To balance these right-wingers out the Tribune features, leftist columnist, Andy Rooney. Ever turn on 60 Minutes and see Comrade Andy in a Che t-shirt? No, me neither.

To be fair if you write a letter to the editor of the “Trib” odds are 6 out of 10 times it will get printed in Sunday’s (the only day that has letter’s to the editor) Tribune. If your letter has a right-wing bent odds of it getting to print are 9.8 out of ten. I have found that if you send a letter to the editor criticizing something the editor himself has said, it probably won’t get printed unless you are some local official.

A case in point is on February 7, 2009 when the Saturday Tribune’s editor feature his weekly Saturday column, Orchids and Onions. He calls news events he approves of orchids and things he chastises onions. In that days column he featured this gem:  “ONION: Or a Duh? to Gov. Ted Strickland’s stipulation is his budget bill to ban statewide corporal punishment in schools. Does he not know corporal punishment has not been used in years? He calls these sweeping education reforms. Wow.”

I penned this the same evening and e-mailed it to the Tribune: Dear Editor~ In the Warren Tribune on February 7, 2009 an onion is given to Gov. Strickland. The editor gives him an onion because Strickland’s education reform includes banning statewide corporal punishment in schools. The editor says, “Duh doesn’t he know corporal punishment has not been used in years.” . A limited ban enacted in Ohio in 1994 prohibits spanking and other forms of physical discipline unless a school board follows several procedures before voting to allow it. Parents in those districts may refuse to have their children paddled. With this loop hole there are still school districts in Ohio that use corporal punishment. The Governor’s ban will eliminate that and join Ohio to the list of 29 states that have now banned it including the nearby state of PA. So duh, if the editor did more research instead of using political bias he could have found the facts.

I got an e-mail confirmation on Monday that my letter was received. If it was to appear it would have appeared Sunday Feb.14, 2009 but it did not. As in the past when I have corrected the editor’s misinformation my letters have not gotten into the Tribune. Granted the “Onion” I corrected was not a big deal but if I could find out the facts with 10 minutes research why didn’t the editor spend the same 10 minutes? I say it’s because the conservative editor saw a cheap shot he could take at the governor.

The Elecpencil is just trying to say corporations aren’t buying up hometown newspapers just because they care about your community. If you take a good look at a papers editorial page the agenda isn’t really very hidden.

Kevin Ayers May I

Baby Come Home

Keep in mind, the news media are not independent; they are a sort of bulletin board and public relations firm for the ruling class–the people who run things. Those who decide what news you will or will not hear are paid by, and tolerated purely at the whim of, those who hold economic power. If the parent corporation doesn’t want you to know something, it won’t be on the news. Period. Or, at the very least, it will be slanted to suit them, and then rarely followed up. ~ George Carlin



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6 responses to “Corporate Rag

  1. Great post and “right” on about the Trib. You’ve done your homework well and it come through loud and clear.

  2. elecpencil

    Thanks Tristan.

    I haven’t read the Vindicator for quite a long time. I picked up a copy today and see the editorial page features Sowell and George Will. I know they also carry Cal Thomas so they are a right-wing rag like the Trib.

    Our area deserves better than these corporate newspapers that don’t represent our values.

  3. i am a copy editor at the tribune, and i lay out the editorial page every single day. you neglect to mention that we also run liberal-minded columnists ellen goodman, roger simon and susan estrich (who has been on some kind of extended vacation). Also, we ran Robert Novak twice a week (a Democrat, albeit conservative, who supported JFKs campaign and supported Ron Paul), but he stopped submitting columns since he’s sort of dying of a brain tumor.

    we also run a number of local community columnists who are hardly as conservative as michelle malkin. they lean more towards the political views of good ol’ andy rooney, who we run on fridays. what’s so bad about his talking about his drawer full of ties?

    if you are accusing someone of a bias, you yourself should not show bias by omitting information that would partially contradict your stance. the whole point of an editorial page is to present the opinions of others under the very clear premise that they are the opinions of the INDIVIDUALS, and not of the entire paper. i try and pick from the editorials available via the wire the most interesting ones being offered that day (or at least the ones that will fit the page well).

    i myself am a registered Democrat and tend to vote somewhat liberally, although i enjoy shooting guns. it is not a huge mind-control mission on my part. ditto for the editorial cartoons.

    letters to the editor are spaced out so as to allow for multiple topics … almost all of them DO run eventually, save for the major conspiracy theorists.

    while ogden may be a conservative-thinking company, i assure you they do not put a gun to my head and make me run bill o’reilly.

  4. elecpencil

    Roger Simon was a liberal in his youth but no longer. Bob Novak is no Democrat but a far right conservative Republican which everyone but you seems to know. Ellen Goodman is a moderate at best but Estrich is a bit liberal. Malkin is a joke who belongs on the comic page as does O’Reilly. I was joking about Rooney being a liberal as he’s a moderate at best.In other words I omitted nothing and have not contradicted myself. You actually have made my case for me.

    Today’s Trib featured, conservatives, George Will and Malkin and no balance to them. Yesterday the Trib featured, Scumbag Dick Morris, and corporate stooges, Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell all conservatives with no moderate or liberals to be found. You call this balanced?

    As for the community columnists the retired teacher is good. The woman from Cortland and especially the Human Resource guy are conservative and boring.

    You pick editorials by what will fit the page? Damn that is messed up big time.

  5. sarahsepanek

    your quarrel about the lack of variety should like partially, of not substantially, with the syndicate, not with newspapers. the pool of columnists has been shrinking as they switch to blogging exclusively, writing books, and, well, dying., the source of syndicated columnists for pretty much all newspapers, has all of their available columnists shown. theres a link that says something to the effect that ‘if you want to see s0-and-so in your paper, click here.’ if there is a columnist that you would prefer to see in the trib, send in an email to us. we have to arrange the new columnist with creators, and do legal stuff before we can add a new columnist. i cant just start putting in dan savage or jim hightower without clearing it through all kinds of channels. i myself would love to get some new columnists, as i at times have few to pick from on a given day, resulting in rehashed topics and old news. williams and oreilly and michael barone and all of them submit their columns on a schedule, so on a monday, there may only be george will and a few others to pick from. like i said, i dont agree with most of the columnists either. thats why its an OPINION page, not an AGENDA page. and i meant ‘fit’ as in fit theme-wise, not size-wise. all text can be cut and scrunched to fit. there are pretty much no newspapers left in the whole country that can afford to have a roster of hand-picked columnists, so the syndicates leave most of us in a bind. theres a difference between village voice alt weeklies and daily newspapers. but not in the rose-colored blogosphere.

  6. sarahsepanek

    btw i was on vacation for a week. i can only imagine how theyve been doing it while im gone

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