Theory V. Reality Pt. 2
Earlier this week, I pointed out that Geov Parrish’s list of “underreported stories” for 2005 was way off base.
In the comments thread to that post someone asked me what I thought about Parrish’s statement that if the Weekly’s new corporate owner (New Times) fires Parrish, it will spell the end of Seattle’s only “consistently progressive local political voice” at the four main papers in town.
Here’s the exchange:
At Eat The State, Geov claimed he’s “the only consistently progressive columnist in Seattle.”
You aren’t consistently progressive, Josh? Do you have views on the estate tax you’d like to share with everybody? :)
Posted by Belltowner - December 28, 2005 03:51 PM
“Consistently Progressive” ? Yuck. I’m lucky if I’m consistent.
Posted by Josh Feit - December 28, 2005 04:12 PM
I should add that, to me, “consistently progressive” means predictably orthodox, which is the last thing I want to be as a columnist. But I also wanted to address the larger misconception that I think is going on with Parrish’s spin on the New Times takeover.
The real point I think Parrish is trying to make is that New Times is an evil, out-of-town, corporate chain that is going to come in and quash the Weekly’s local voice. This is misleading. The Weekly is already owned by a NY-based media chain. In fact, one of the Weekly’s main corporate parents—Goldman Sachs— is George W. Bush’s 6th all-time top financial contributor. So, if Parrish’s point is that the corporate super state banishes lefty columnists, he’s flat out wrong. If he loses his job, it’s not because New Times is an evil corporation. As a financial model, New Times is not much different from the Weekly’s current out-of-town, chain parent VVM. Spinning this takeover/merger as some dramatic changeover/sell out is a misconception.
Second, contrary to the scripted story about this corporate takeover (cookie cutter, out-of-towners etc), I think New Times will actually make the Weekly a better paper. Take it for what it’s worth coming from me, but the Weekly seems like a pretty irrelevant paper these days. Some change—any change—is likely to give them a much-needed jolt. I actually look forward to a little actual competition from the New Times clones.
Finally, I want to dispel the idea that indie-owned media (the Stranger, for example, is super-majority locally-owned) de facto equals “progressiveâ€ť columnists. I would never subscribe to that kind of label. I’m pro WTO. I think the war in Iraq has some merit. And I support mayor Nickels’s development agenda. (Although, it’s gonna flop unless he deals with the choke that single-family zoning has on this town and unless he does something about our lack of mass transit.)
Anyway, I just wanted to counter the scripted knee-jerk sense that the upcoming change at the Weekly is robbing our city. I think, most people will find that the Weekly will be better after the takeover. Especially, if they stop being “consistently progressive.â€ť