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Thursday, November 4, 2010
NewsBusters' Blumer Still Blames Liberal Bias for Newspaper Woes
Topic: NewsBusters

Two years ago, we detailed how NewsBusters' Tom Blumer believes the only possible explanation for shrinking newspaper circulation is those papers' supposed liberal bias, ignoring all other, more plausible causes. He's still at it.

Blumer took a stab at advancing the false meme again in an Oct. 31 NewsBusters post:

As usual, they'll blame the Internet, and reject the possibility that persistent, pervasive bias and blind adherence to politically correct reporting priorities have anything to do with the results. But as I've similarly asked before, how does one explain away the fact that the only daily paper in the nation's top 25 that has shown consistent gains during the past several years is the (usually) fair and balanced Wall Street Journal?


Excluding the Wall Street Journal, circulation at the nation's top two dozen papers has dropped over 28% in the past 5-1/2 years -- and we're supposed to believe that it's all due to technology? If bias weren't a signfiicant problem, we would expect that the same players who dominated print media for decades would be dominant forces in Internet-based news -- but to a large extent, they're not.

Blumer ignores the fact that aside from the Wall Street Journal -- whose circulation presumably has more to do with its $15 million effort to move into local news in New York City than the overall quality of its reporting, which is becoming as conservative as the paper's editorial pages -- other conservative newspapers have seen circulation drops (i.e. the New York Post). Most notably, the Washington Times has plunged by nearly half in the past two years.

Technology is a bigger issue than Blumer makes it out to be. Much of the content of newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times is free (though both papers offer electronic subscriptions), which much of the content of the Journal is behind a pay wall, requiring a subscription to access it. The Journal is by far the biggest e-newspaper with nearly 450,000 electronic subscriptions. Since e-subscriptions count toward total circulation, that boosts the Journal's circulation numbers.

So Blumer is still wrong and, like his MRC bretheren, still too blindered by its "liberal bias" tunnel vision to bother with the facts.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 AM EDT

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