The message printed on the bumper sticker was clear, and it immediately caught my eye as I walked by it recently in the parking lot of an area grocery store.
“Defund the media,” it declared, and I admitted to offering a sly smile. As someone who had made a career from working in the media, even at the community level, I found the message on the sticker completely misguided.
There is no denying there is a bias against the media these days. Note that it is a completely different thing than “media bias” which is a phrase often thrown about on opiniated talk shows on cable “news” stations.
Yes, newspapers offer opinions on a variety of subjects. It’s called the opinion page for a reason.
Some will agree with the thoughts offered, and some will disagree. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, although we have unfortunately become a nation of “you agree with me all the time or you are wrong.” Even a discussion of ideas seems no longer welcome by most.
The publication you are currently reading certainly offers a great service to its readers. You have news of what government officials are doing. There are crime-related stories. You have the obituaries.
There is also plenty of local sports coverage, which is something I have always enjoyed reading and writing. In many issues there are letters to the editor where readers offer their thoughts on a variety of topics.
The message displayed on that bumper sticker was certainly wrong about this publication being funded by tax dollars. That is not the case. Newspapers make their profits from advertisers and subscriptions. There is no weekly or monthly check from the U.S. Treasury.
People are free to support the local publication or not. There is no requirement to subscribe or place an advertisement, or to even buy a single copy. You don’t even have to acknowledge its existence.
It’s what free enterprise is all about.
In theory, the person displaying the bumper sticker could have been referring to public broadcasting. However, I kind of doubt it.
In reality, it was a blanket accusation that all media are biased against Donald Trump or conservatives or anyone else the person supported politically. (Based on other bumper stickers, it appeared the owner was a conservative.)
The opinion page is such a small portion of a newspaper, especially one such as this. There have been plenty of opinion pieces I have disagreed with. From my point of view, that is fine.
Through the years, I’ve typically disagreed with George Will, but I almost always read him. The reason? He was one of the best opinion writers in the business. While I might not have agreed with what he was saying, I always liked to see how he structured his argument. Plus, there is nothing wrong with reading something you disagree with. To only read what echoes our own thoughts gets pretty boring pretty quickly.
As I walked away from the “defund the media” bumper sticker, another one entered my mind that I placed my eyes on a couple of weeks earlier. It proclaimed, “I express my individual thoughts through mass-produced bumper stickers.”
Chris Bridges is a former sports editor of The Walton Tribune and The Covington News. He welcomes feedback at [email protected]
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)