The Rake, a local alternative newspaper here in the Twin Cities, published an interesting cri de coeur from "one Strib veteran" about the direction of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The anonymous attribution wears thin in the first line of the quote:
As one Strib veteran tells the Mole, "The right-wing blog voices that were bashing the paper a couple of years ago, Hugh Hewitt and the rest, have gotten pretty much everything they wanted. The GOP wanted the Minnesota Poll gone, and now it's gone. They wanted to get rid of people like [editorial board members] Jim Boyd and Susan Albright and their editorial policy, and they've succeeded at that. Now there won't be editorials about the war and global warming; they'll write about local issues like zoning conflicts in Coon Rapids instead. They wanted the paper to hire a conservative columnist, and they got that. From here on out, it looks like the Strib becomes the conservative, suburbs-oriented paper, and the Pioneer Press will become the paper of the city underdogs and the blue voters. They may wind up getting pushed more to the left."
There's only one "Strib veteran" who likes to blame all his woes on Hugh Hewitt and the local conservative buh-loggers. I won't name names since he apparently lacks the testicular fortitude to speak for himself, but he used to have a local radio show in which he railed against people like Hugh and others for consistently outarguing him. He started suggesting that some of the buh-loggers were closet homosexuals, including me, which not only showed his homophobia but also his complete lack of journalistic ethics. That didn't shut us up, but it gave us a few good laughs at his expense.
I also find it hilarious that this "Strib veteran" finds the inclusion of one conservative columnist at the Strib (Katherine Kersten) so powerful that it can completely change the nature of the entire newspaper. This "Strib veteran" apparently understands his complete intellectual failure over the years of his tenure at the newspaper, and that he cannot hope to compete with any alternate viewpoint. This veteran seems to quail at the thought that he may get challenged in his own paper and will have no response except sputtering, which is the only thing he's ever done well.
For the record, the buh-loggers didn't want the Strib to stop editorializing on national and international issues. We just wanted them to be intellectually honest about it. With Jim Boyd refusing to engage Power Line after they embarrassed him on the Strib's own pages, that honesty was obviously not forthcoming. The Strib's new owners apparently understood that, like this "Strib veteran", they couldn't argue their way out of a paper bag on those issues, and instructed them to refrain from embarrassing themselves any further.
The "Strib veteran" doesn't want intellectual honesty, or a balanced perspective on the news. Unfortunately, that explains why the Strib has fewer "veterans" on its staff and fewer veteran subscribers. (via Hugh Hewitt)
UPDATE: My good NARN friend Chad the Elder explains what the Strib's readership wanted, and still don't get:
Personally, what I wanted was a local newspaper that delivered the relevant news in an objective manner, presented a broad range of views in the opinion pages, and showcased interesting material from talented writers. I also did not want my intelligence or values gratuitously insulted on a regular basis.
While some of the recent departures from the editorial board are likely to diminish the insult quotient and perhaps bring better balance to the opinion section, I haven't seen anything that would lead me to believe the Strib is going to address the other areas of concern. And even though her title as "Reader's Representative" seemed dubious at times, the fact that Kate Parry is moving into a new role and the Strib has no plans to replace her doesn't inspire confidence that the paper is committed to putting out a quality product.
That the "Strib veteran" appears opposed to all of Chad's reasonable expectations -- and yet remains at the Strib -- I think we can agree that Chad's predictions are probably quite accurate. Well, except for the part about me wearing a dress...