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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

THE NECESSITY OF DIVERSE MEDIA REGARDLESS OF FORMAT

By Allan McNew

It is important that the press in whatever form, print, television or broadband be diverse in ownership and expressed content.

The parent company of the LA Times and San Diego Tribune, the Tribune media conglomerate - which has a corporate pedigree so promiscuous it is hard to sort it all out - is attempting to acquire the Orange County Register and therefore the OC Register's fairly recent acquisition, the
Press Enterprise. That has been temporarily blocked by a judge.

In the past, I have extensively purchased and read all four papers, choice often limited to where I was at the time. Excepting local stories which, due to story type, had little point in putting on an ideological slant for journalists inclined to do so (fires, crime, Mrs Jones cat, etc vs. politics, social issues, immigration, etc.), there was little difference between three of the daily periodicals. Much of the content was opinion and bias masquerading as journalism. Excepting local interest, at the time I might as well as have purchased the LA Times or the Union Tribune as the Press Enterprise.

After the OC Register acquired the Press Enterprise, much of the ideological slant greatly diminished and the PE became a more balanced periodical. I recognize it can be difficult to put personal beliefs aside or interpret an unfamiliar subject well enough on brief exposure to present the reader a fair and accurate accounting of facts, but much, perhaps most, of the media today crosses the line to dispense propagandistic, yellow journalism content. While there have been objectivity failures with the current Press Enterprise, often involving externally generated content or by not having a clear enough, necessarily blindingly obvious distinction in the front and local sections between hard news "Staff writer" and opinion / entertainment / gossip "Columnist" (maybe a clearly different section for opinion / entertainment / gossip columnists not relegated to the opinion section might be appropriate), the current Press Enterprise is more an exception to that norm than not.

Personally, I prefer to read traditional news content in print rather than online. I can read it while drinking coffee while out at breakfast, folding it, setting it down as necessary or sharing parts with others, skimming the headlines or letting words and phrases catch my eye and therefore my interest while glancing over a column, reading what I want and ignoring the rest. It's like wearing old shoes or being with a long time friend. To wade through the same content by the same publisher on line is a pain in the posterior, wasting time going through screen after screen of stuff I don't care about, difficulty getting to what I am interested in, and it's an entirely different result accidentally spilling coffee on a keyboard as a newspaper. There's no room for a plate, and you're not going to put the laptop or tablet under the bird when you're done with the news.

Some argue that print is a dying medium, that we should just let the Tribune take over the OCR and PE and let the Tribune survive or die by selling print regardless of anti-trust concerns. However, monopoly of merchandise harms the public, and cornering the market on dispensation of message reduces society to slavery.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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