Sunday, August 2, 2009

Someone Needs A Reality Check

From McBride's weekly (and weakly) column from the Waukesha Freeman:
This is a crisis for Milwaukee print media. So, I say it’s time we stop dealing with this piecemeal and come together for a summit to fix this thing. Contrary to what many ideological critics often say about the newspaper biz, it’s not the product that really needs fixing. Sure, it would be nice to have more conservative opinion. And it would be nice if ideological double standards didn’t filter into the news hole sometimes (they do). It would also be nice if the news didn’t diverge sometimes into selective sensationalism that has nothing to do with the public good.

But I’d argue the newspaper business is NOT like the auto business, where union contracts are boosting the cost of production and the product is sometimes inferior to foreign producers. As I’ve written before, no one presents consistent, detailed reporting like newspapers do. Bloggers (when they’re not calling people names) present an inferior reporting product to newspapers in most cases, delivering what are essentially opinion columns online that react to the reporting done by newspapers.

Talk radio hosts largely react to the reporting done by newspapers (Mark Belling is an exception; he actually does some reporting). Skeleton radio news staffs often take wire copy about stories that were reported by newspapers. Ditto for television news staffs, which you won’t see shrinking much because they are already so incredibly small comparatively. Anyway, they often follow stories reported by newspapers.
Um, excuse us for a moment, Ms. McBride, but what the heck are you talking about?

The local papers, both the Freeman and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are decidedly conservative. How else can one explain the fact that coherent columnists like Tim Cuprisin are out, but PaddyMac is still there?

I can think of several examples of where bloggers have broken news before the newspaper, and often times things that the newspaper doesn't even report on at all. Perhaps that is why she is so grumpy about bloggers. One of the breaking stories was first alluded to on this very blog, and it involved her.

Others include Jay Bullock reporting well before the local paper that MPS was going to drop the contract with Milwaukee County Transit system, Michael Horne has done a splendid job repeatedly being the first to shed light on multiple subjects, and I've been known to find the occasional nugget over at Cognitive Dissidence.

And has far as Mark Belling goes, I don't think I've ever seen anyone else have to have a retraction of this magnitude issued due to their incompetence.

I don't know if the stress of her recent self-induced publicity problems is the cause for this type of irresponsible writing, but whatever the cause, I hope she gets some help soon.


  1. "It would be nice" if McBride would stop sleeping with other women's husbands!

  2. Anyone who thinks what's wrong with local newspapers is a shortage of conservative columnists is probably not the one to head the Task Force on Fixing the Newspaper Thing (as she so eloquently put it).