October 14, 2009

Politics in the press: West Michigan newspapers wrapped up in politics

Muskegon Chronicle editor Cindy Fairfield says a conservative voice will join Opinions page in her latest Sunday column.

The decision means another former Chronicle writer returns to the fold. Steve Gunn, who the editor says "currently advocates for conservative issues, is a fantastic writer, a knowledgeable journalist and a person who embraces a point of view similar to many conservatives in our area."

Gunn's weekly column starts Thursday.

(By the way, she also shared that a "good news" column .... a collection of items and tidbits that show Muskegon area people doing good things" is coming soon.)

Meanwhile, over in Grand Rapids, Press editor Paul Keep tells readers "We report the news, not political agendas" by sharing conversations with two readers with opposing viewpoints of what the daily newspaper does. One was a sometime subscriber, upset with not seeing his liberal viewpoint often enough in the newspaper. Another saw the paper as too liberal, set off this time by an article about Michael Moore's latest film.

Now some would take the opposing characterizations as indications that the paper is balanced. Keep uses it to remind readers that
"A newspaper isn't doing its job if it makes decisions about what to print based on whether its editors agree with the person being written about. We are not pushing agendas. Our job is to tell readers what is going on in the world, as best we can. That may well stir some people up from time to time."

Of course, not all agree that all voices are represented in mass media. Isn't that one reason for Reporting Michigan's debut to ensure a conservative voice. The former Ann Arbor News reporter Tom Gantert is doing a good job of frequently updating his site and Facebook.

One last thought from Paul Keep:
"When did people start wanting to read only what they agree with in their daily newspaper? Like him or hate him, isn't it legitimate news when a famous filmmaker like Moore turns out a new movie? As a conservative, don't you want to know what this influential liberal is up to?"
Yeah, know your enemies.

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