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Monday, March 28, 2005

Time for Conservatives to Stop Complaining, Get Inside the MSM, Report the News Better

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's self-described resident newsroom "right-wing Neanderthal" is Patrick McIlheran. He has some superb advice for conservatives who have had it to here with liberal bias in the MSM but who don't take the next step:

"Not so fast. Having gotten the mainstream press to admit a problem - that Pew report was covered in this newspaper, among others - is not the same as fixing it. May I ask conservatives: What are you going to do about it?
"Because the press is doing something. I see it all around me. People are taking greater care. Fairness is an open part of news discussions. The old professional virtue of not letting one's personal views drive news coverage, it seems to me, is becoming something not merely pursued privately but discussed publicly.
"This only goes so far. Newsrooms heavy on liberals, even fair-minded ones, will see the world as liberals do. They need conservative colleagues.
"The blogosphere and National Review are dandy, but ultimately they repackage news, not originate it. If conservatives want news they can believe, they must involve themselves in the daily reporting, photographing, editing, headlining and producing of news as eagerly as do liberals.
"Honestly, it's not a hard field to get into. It's fun, and you'll find there are other conservatives, too (as well as a lot of reasonably friendly liberals)."

Having spent nearly two decades in various MSM newsrooms as a resident right winger, I can attest to the truth of McIlheran's observations. Being a journalist is one of the most fun jobs I can imagine, especially if you enjoy getting the goods on slippery public officials, conniving bureaucrats and other charlatans determined to advance their own self-interest via the public interest.

But I would go one step beyond McIheran and encourage conservatives - and anybody else who cares about the public's right to know what is being done in their name - to consider how the Blogosphere can surpass the MSM as the most widely respected and credible source of genuine daily news, not just of opinion.

Anyway, thanks Patrick for saying something that needed saying.