During the 2004 presidential election, I wrote for a small, weekly paper in a conservative town. How conservative was the town? It was 2004 and the population still thought Reagan was in office. A lot has been made that journalism attracts educated northern liberals who enjoy bashing the establishment and ridiculing traditional American values. Most of the criticisms about today's media are dead-on: that this nation's major news outlets employ staunch Democrats who, between writing saccharine screeds about Obama and a one-world government, take a few moments to sip cosmopolitans, practice the Kabbalah and Twitter their liberal pals.
So there's naturally a distrust for all reporters and a vehement hatred for journalism, especially by conservative media critics. The only books these people don't burn are ones by Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity.
I've heard all the muttered insults and watched their curled sneers whenever I entered council chambers.
True, most of them would make the sodomizing rednecks from the movie Deliverance look like Oxford dons, but it still bothers me that my profession is being maligned by a segment of the population who thinks monster truck rallies are cool.
And the hackneyed mantra "blame the liberal media" still rattles across the room, flung by people who view my profession as being out of touch with average Americans. Yeah, like the blue-blooded millionaires and limousine liberals who run this country can relate to anyone living in a trailer park.
It's not an issue of politics, it's an issue of wealth and renown. It's a new American caste system that says if you're not beautiful, glamorous or rich, you deserve to eat Ramen noodles and dwell in squalor, you filthy mullet-sporting peasants.
Back to 2004. Filmmaker Michael Moore made an appearance at a local college to promote his "Slacker Uprising Tour", an effort to get jaded college slobs to care about government, specifically, to vote for Democrat John Kerry. My coverage of the event was met with harsh criticism from many readers who thought the story was a "setup" and "biased". Most of the octogenarians who criticized me obviously had never read anything else I wrote before, because if they had, they would know that my entire career is marked by objectivism. I've never intentionally done a hatchet piece to demean or defame anybody. That's not how I roll. But apparently the Republican Women's Guild of the Victorian Manor Nursing Home felt differently and chose to unfairly lambaste me for the Moore story.
In response, I wrote the following story specifically tailored for conservatives. If Fox News and MSNBC can throw objective journalism out the window and provide news stories designed for a specific political position or worldview, then I could too. I didn't want anyone to feel alienated with our coverage. News that neatly fits their perceptions of reality and conveniently scapegoats instead of informs will one day be the norm.
What can I say? Bullshit is profitable.
However, news is news. There should be no positive or negative coverage, only coverage. Sure, you could put a spin or angle on it, but it's much better to just relate the facts because you're doing a service to the entire public, not just a faction within it.
Is Michael Moore a pompous, fat assclown? Yeah, he is. As much as the readers want me to write stuff like that, I couldn't.