Led by a number of conservative bloggers (including, full disclosure, me), some of Tennessee's news media outlets have begun to report on the connections of convicted felon and big-time Democratic fund-raiser Norman Hsu to the Tennessee Democratic Party and the failed Senate campaign of former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., who now heads the Democratic Leadership Council.
After a few days of reports by blogger Terry Frank, myself and other Tennessee conservative bloggers, and discussion on the popular Steve Gill radio show, following publication of a long list of Hsu's money recipients, the story has begun to appear in the mainstream Tennessee media, including the Nashville City Paper, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, and NashvillePost.com, so far, not in The Tennessean, which serves the capital city of Nashville, or the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.
A Nashville blogger thinks he's spotted clear evidence of conservative editorial bias on the part of the Tennessean, Nashville's Gannett-owned daily. The evidence: the paper balances a slate of syndicated national conservative columnists with some local liberal columnists.
Every day, the paper runs a column by such stalwart, nationally syndicated conservative pundits as Charles Krauthammer, Cal Thomas, Mona Charen, Michelle Malkin, or Thomas Sowell. Nearly every one of these right-leaning columns sounds like something right out of Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly. There is a relentless, liberal-bashing bias to all of these columns. ... And how does the Tennessean balance these conservative screeds? What nationally syndicated columnists of equal stature does our sole remaining daily newspaper offer?
All of the attention in the media in recent days over reports of cheers in the Seattle Times newsroom over Karl Rove leaving the White House, and boos in the MSNBC newsroom during a George W. Bush State of the Union speech, don't surprise me. I've seen this kind of naked and unprofessional expression of political bias against Republicans in a newsroom before.
My first job in a newspaper newsroom was in Abilene, Texas. I could not have told you what any one of my co-workers there thought about politics. Ditto for my second daily newspaper job, at the newspaper in Lubbock, Texas, and my third, at the newspaper in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Political bias was a little more on display at my fourth job, at a business weekly in Nashville, but nothing like what happened at the Tennessean on election night in 1994.
Today's Nashville Tennessean newspaper featured a misleading headline: Skipping Sunday School costs jobs at religious publisher. The headline makes it appear that a religious publisher fired employees who skipped Sunday school. The story, though, is much different - declining Sunday school attendance across a certain Christian denomination has led to less business for that denomination's main publisher of Sunday school materials, leading to job cuts.
The headline was accurate but false. I was still feeling tricked by that headline when I happened upon a blog post that lead me to this report from Slate's Jack Shafer about new research indicating that fewer than 2 percent of factually flawed articles are corrected in the nation's daily newspapers.