While Bogart in Towne guffaws at the title, I thought I'd rant a bit about the media biases, specifically when it comes to state/local politics. Last Friday, I was listening to the "Editor's Roundtable" on KPBS - which, as you can imagine, was a group of local news editors from San Diego. At the roundtable, San Diego's budget was discussed, and more specifically, how the Mayor and the City Council were ducking the main issue - that the City's taxes are so low that it can't provide the services the people want or need.
One of the editors complained about the lack of honesty by these politicians and the consensus was that the Mayor should level with the people of San Diego. All valid points to be sure, but they forget one thing - if the Mayor did that, another politician would claim he/she has a better way and undercut the Mayor. And the media would either praise this new politician, or not tell their readers the truth - that the new politician is lying to them.
For the past 30 years, I've seen the dismantling of the "California Dream" based on this very tactic. California has gone from having the best infrastructure in the U.S. to the worst, from the best education system to one of the worst, from rainy day funds to structural deficits. Why? Because politicians tell the public that they can cut taxes and maintain spending, or make only cuts to government waste. No one calls them on it. There are Republicans who spent their entire career in Sacramento voting against every budget the State produced. No one says anything. Budget tricks are hailed, and honesty is punished.
Moreover, outside of sports stadiums, the local media takes pleasure in pointing out the failures of local projects. Little wonder the interest and money for these projects is dwindling.
The one thing that makes me optimistic is the internet as a medium. Unlike TV, the internet is a collaborative process. If you hate what I'm writing, you can comment, and I'll comment back. But its going to take a long time before the internet outpaces TV. I just hope we can last that long.