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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Virginian Pilot: Thank you for endorsing Creign Deeds

There is something reliable about things that are consistent. I have often said the something that is reliably wrong is as useful as something that is reliably right.

Just as the public mania for stocks almost always signals a market top, the Virginian Pilot is a reliable guide. If you do the exact opposite of what they advocate in their opinion found in either their editorial (or “news”) pages the odds are heavily in your favor that you are doing the right thing.

By endorsing Creigh Deeds by telling us that he will raise Virginian’s taxes I believe that the electoral blow-out indicated in the polls will be aided by the Pilot’s endorsement.

As a side note, many people have wondered whether the publishing industry is primarily a business or an ideological endeavor. It is often asserted that a paper’s editorial position is bound to offend about half of the public. Now, there are more or less aggressive ways of expressing an editorial position. There is the reasoned approach, and there is the route that the Pilot uses of customarily insulting its readers. This is a function of whom the publisher hires to run the editorial page. Unfortunately for both the shrinking Pilot and its readers, it seems that they can’t get anyone to take the job who isn’t more driven by ideology than reason – or business sense.

What made me think of this was a late poll by Gallup as summarized by Nile Gardiner in of all place the UK Telegraph:

• Perceptions that there is too much government regulation of business and industry jumped from 38% in September 2008 to 45% in September 2009.
• The percentage of Americans saying they would like to see labor unions have less influence in the country rose from 32% in August 2008 to a record-high 42% in August 2009.
• Public support for keeping the laws governing the sale of firearms the same or making them less strict rose from 49% in October 2008 to 55% in October 2009, also a record high. (The percentage saying the laws should become more strict — the traditionally liberal position — fell from 49% to 44%.)
• The percentage of Americans favoring a decrease in immigration rose from 39% in June/July 2008 to 50% in July 2009.
• The propensity to want the government to “promote traditional values” — as opposed to “not favor any particular set of values” — rose from 48% in 2008 to 53% in 2009. Current support for promoting traditional values is the highest seen in five years.
• The percentage of Americans who consider themselves “pro-life” on abortion rose from 44% in May 2008 to 51% in May 2009, and remained at a slightly elevated 47% in July 2009.
• Americans’ belief that the global warming problem is “exaggerated” in the news rose from 35% in March 2008 to 41% in March 2009.

And from Rasmussen on who do you trust …

Dem Rep
40% 46% Health Care
38% 43% Education
37% 45% Social Sec
35% 50% Taxes
35% 49% Economy
35% 47% Abortion
33% 40% Immigration
31% 54% Nat’l Sec
31% 50% Iraq
29% 33% Gov’t Ethics

The Virginian Pilot is published in a community whose largest component is the military, known for its ideological skew to conservatism. And with the general public moving heavily to the right, with the Virginia Pilot shrinking the daily paper and cutting staff to save money because of declining circulation and ad revenue, we must conclude that locally the newspaper is run on ideological grounds as opposed to business practices. No other industry deliberately tries to drive away its customers.

But having said that, I’m please that the Virginian Pilot will stick to its guns until the printing plant is shuttered. I almost always make up my mind based on an understanding of the facts and an analysis of the issues. But if I am ever in doubt, I need a guidepost, and that guidepost is, for me, the Virginian Pilot. I read their opinion and can be reasonably sure that if I take the opposite tack I have a very, very good chance of being right.

UPDATE: From Small Dead Animals we are pleased to learn that
"The first double-digit circulation decline in history means only 12.9% of the U.S. population buys a daily newspaper."

The details from Reflections of a Newsosaur :

The first double-digit circulation decline in history means only 12.9% of the U.S. population buys a daily newspaper. The analysis is based on data provided by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an industry-funded group.

Newspaper circulation now is lower than the 41.1 million papers sold in 1940, the earliest date for which records are published by the Newspaper Association of America. Back in 1940, newspapers were purchased by 31.1% of the population.

It brings the same sort of satisfaction that bringing down the Berlin Wall did. Faster please.

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