December 11, 2016

Buffalo News Political Coverage Belongs in the Fiction Section

clinton valentineToday’s Buffalo News print edition features five articles on the Hillary Clinton campaign, including a front page, feel-good piece about how Clinton’s (almost) nomination has inspired other women. The News also chose to run a Politifact piece that endorses Clinton’s criticism of Trump’s trade policies, a criticism this writer happens to agree with.

The other three pieces could at best be described as neutral/supportive, although one questions whether the media has been too quick to pronounce Clinton the nominee. Nothing in these or any other recent articles the News has run on Clinton, outside of reader letters, can be described as remotely critical. This despite a large constituency within her own party that views Clinton as wholly-owned by Wall Street and a war hawk.

There are also five articles on Trump, including the Politifact article. Four of the five are negative. One is neutral, a reprint from Bloomberg News which reported Trump “distanced himself from his own fundraising estimate of $1 billion.”

Even this article could be construed as an attempt to cast a negative light on what Trump’s supporters consider a positive – that he’s not bought off by powerful special interests, as many on both the right and the left believe of Mrs. Clinton.

There is nothing in the Buffalo News that remotely suggests Trump might be better on foreign policy than Clinton, who has a lot to answer for regarding her role in the chaos raging throughout the Middle East and now spilling into Europe. Neither would readers of solely this paper know Trump set a record for votes in the California primary on Tuesday.

This is what passes for reporting on the 2016 presidential election in Buffalo’s only newspaper.

Make no mistake, this writer has no problem with a newspaper being biased. All media are biased and always have been. But there is a difference between bias and severing all connection with reality. Anyone relying on the News for their understanding of national politics might as well go to the fiction section of the nearest public library.

Full disclosure, I won’t be voting for Trump or Clinton in the November elections. I plan on voting for Gary Johnson.

Buffalonians reading this just started making owl noises, because in the fictional Buffalo News universe, neither Johnson nor the Libertarian Party exists. A search on the paper’s website yielded no headlines – ever – mentioning the candidate’s name, despite Johnson polling in double figures in three polls before his nomination and 16% in the latest poll in Utah. Even the left-leaning Washington Post describes the Libertarian Party as “so hot right now.”

Now, I’m just spit-balling here, but in a year where the candidates in both major parties have record-high negative ratings, wouldn’t a presidential ticket featuring two former two-term governors (of New Mexico and Massachusetts, respectively), nominated by the only third party with ballot access in all fifty states, be at least newsworthy enough for its existence to be acknowledged?

Not to the Buffalo News.

That’s not bias. That’s misleading the public. And it’s a disservice to the good people of Buffalo, who may not be receptive to the messages of campaigns other than Hillary Clinton’s, but certainly have an expectation that their only newspaper will acknowledge they exist.

Unlike Mr. Trump, I would never support any legal action against the News, no matter how poorly they serve the public. As a libertarian, I truly believe in free speech. I don’t even support libel laws if a newspaper outright lies (which I’m not suggesting is going on here). I believe the market can sort this out, when it’s allowed to work.

So, maybe it’s time the Buffalo News had some competition. What do you think? Let us know in the online poll below. Who knows? Perhaps an alternative is waiting in the wings (wink).

Does Buffalo need another voice on politics besides the Buffalo News?

Yes
No
I don’t know

Survey Maker

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

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