Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Express-News still unbalanced

I’ve complained about this before, but it continues to grate on my nerves. The San Antonio Express-News opinion section is heavily weighted in favor of conservative, Republican commentators. And most of the rest of the space is filled up with fluff pieces by apolitical lightweights.
Actual opinion pieces by true liberals and/or Democrats are few and far between.
I was reminded of this again today by this piece taking the latest Maureen Dowd column to task. Dowd, is one of several New York Times columnists featured regularly on the pages of the Express-News. And many people might mistakenly believe that she counts as a “liberal” when measuring the balance of commentary on the opinion pages. Au contraire. A careful reading of her columns, as the linked article attests, shows that she spends most of her time harping on Democrats and is certainly no advocate of liberal political causes.
George Will, on the other hand, IS an advocate for conservative and Republican causes and this week we get a double dose of his commentary. Here is the rundown on commentary pieces in the E-N so far this week. (I have placed an R next to the names of those I feel advocate Republican positions, an I for those who tend to be Independent or apolitical and a D for those who sometimes advocate Democratic positions.)

George Will - R
Kathy Clay Little - I

George Will - R
Rich Lowry - R
Maureen Dowd - I (”Edwards Unmasked”)
(Online) Mona Charen - R

Ruben Navarrette - R
Jonathan Gurwitz - R
Ellen Goodman - D
(Online) Froma Harrop - R

So out of 10 columns in three days we have exactly three that are not penned by conservative pundits and/or McCain supporters. So what do we have supposedly representing the left side of the spectrum?
Kathy Clay Little, who has never expressed an opinion one way or the other about Barack Obama, lauds a local black community leader.
Maureen Dowd uses her column to pile on John Edwards in the aftermath of his sex scandal admission.
And Ellen Goodman’s column is about picking berries in Maine and reminiscing about recently departed relatives.
So much for that.
And tomorrow is typically a conservative lovefest with columns by local rightwinger and warhawk Ken Allard and syndicated wingnut Cal Thomas.
The fun never ends.

For Thursday we got:
The Clinton-bashing, Democratic convention-trashing Maureen Dowd column that was skewered in the link above - I
David Brooks - R
Ken Allard - R
Cal Thomas (online) - R

And Friday we get:
Mansour El-Kikhia - D
Thomas Friedman - Sometimes a D, but pro Iraq War.
Kathleen Parker - R
David Broder (Online) - I

And Saturday must be D-Day for the E-N because we actually get two Democratic columnists on one day. Woohoo!
Garrison Keillor - D
Leonard Pitts - D
Gloria Padilla - I
Cal Thomas (online) - R

Of course, Pitts' column this week is about the Edwards' sex scandal and comparing it to Clinton, thus it is nearly indistinguishable from all the rightwing columnists this week.
And, yes, local columnist Gloria Padilla most definitely gets at 'I' for inconsequential next to her name. Padilla really sticks her neck out with her colunm this week advocating more parental involvement in their childrens' education. Yep, that's sure to drum up some controversy. Next week I think she is writing a column advising kids to eat their vegetables and brush their teeth every night.

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