No one covers this topic as well as Espresso Pundit, but the January 25th Political Insider column from The Arizona Republic reminded me of some of the many points that Greg Patterson makes on his blog. Biased reporting, snarky tone, and fundamental misrepresentations, all combining to produce a product that reflects poorly on the paper and continues to cost them readers.
You can read the entire column here and since I’m pasting parts of it here I’m hoping you will read it on theirs as well so they don’t get mad at me.
The first section wants to mock State Representative Ethan Orr. Orr was popular in the paper’s pages when he was voting for the Medicaid Expansion, but now that it is an election year he gets to be treated just like any other Republican legislator. The section is short:
“Tucson, we have a problem… The Arizona Legislature has yet to agree on how to stop texting and driving, fix the state’s broken child-protection agency or improve K-12 education. But it’s apparently all over the whole space-travel thing. Rep. Ethan Orr, R-Tucson, has introduced a bill that would assure a company is not legally liable for any injuries, emotional distress or death a space-flight participant may incur if the participant signed a liability release. Next up, proposed regulations for teleporting. Beam me up, Scotty.”
The paper wants to mock the bill by proposing that its introduction is at the expense of more worthy causes and that it addresses some fantasy cause like teleportation. Of course both points are completely false. There are bills on all of those other issues. The writer wants to mock the Legislature by claiming that the Legislature is divided on all of the other issues but united on Orr’s bill. Also false. Orr only has a bill at this point in time and it only has seven sponsors out of ninety legislators. It took me 20 seconds to find that information here. By comparison, the texting and driving bill has twelve sponsors, and the various education bills and CPS bills also have plenty of sponsors for each of the myriad bills proposed to deal with those issues. So Orr’s bill has less support to begin with than the others mentioned. Nor is the issue science fiction. For-profit space travel companies do exist, their test flights are ongoing, and tickets are already being sold. Can Arizona get some of that business and attract some of those jobs? I have no idea, but I’m all for trying. “Teleporting”? That’s just the author being snarky and trying to sound clever. Too bad the rest of the writing indicates quite the opposite. Teleporting doesn’t exist. Space travel does. The attempt to equate the two fails. Beam me up, Scotty indeed!
The next section wants to make fun of newly appointed State Senator David Farnsworth as follows:
“We the chickens of Arizona … When David Farnsworth was appointed to replace departing Mesa state Sen. Rich Crandall, he spoke eloquently of his desire to use his time in the Legislature to preserve and defend the Constitution. But his first orders of business weren’t to propose laws protecting gun rights, printing presses or religion. Farnsworth wants to bring the full force of state government down to enforce the people’s right to keep and bear … chickens. Now, Insider is a pretty big fan of the Constitution, but we’ve been unable to find anything in it about chickens. We also checked an online version of the Federalist Papers and did a search for the word “chicken.” The result was a big goose egg. Apparently poultry tyranny wasn’t on ol’ Publius’ radar in 1787.”
More mocking tones, more sarcasm, and a lot more of getting it all wrong. Had Farnsworth’s first order of business been to introduce legislation to protect gun rights, printing presses or religion, he would have been mocked by the Arizona Republic. But Farnsworth knows things that the Arizona Republic doesn’t seem to know. Farnsworth knows that Arizona is a Constitutional Carry state and ranks #1 in the country for gun rights. The Republic does not know that. Printing presses are not threatened and frankly haven’t been in quite some time. The Republic does not know that. And Farnsworth is a co-sponsor on a bill to protect religion (a quick check of his member’s page revealed that in around 45 seconds). The Republic does not know that. The Republic also claims to be a pretty big fan of the Constitution, but doesn’t know that the Constitution protects our rights to property and enjoyment thereof, so bills dealing with the use of one’s own property is entirely consistent with Farnsworth’s declared desire to work on issues that expand freedom in accordance with our founding documents. Farnsworth’s aptly titled “Homegrown Freedom Act” also just passed out of committee unanimously by a 7-0 vote that included support from all three committee Democrats. In other words, it is a good bill, has bi-partisan support, and actually addresses an actual need — returning a small bit of private property rights back to private property owners. But you won’t read that in the Arizona Republic.
I’ll ignore the rest of the Insider column. It has two more sections each being sarcastic about conservatives and Republicans as you might imagine. But their newspaper is failing and the people in charge clearly have no intention of trying to actually save it. I know some really nice people who work there and I will save my compassion for them personally. The newspaper itself deserves what it is getting, as evidenced by this most recent example of really biased, sloppy product. They either didn’t do two minutes of homework or didn’t care what the truth was. Neither is defensible.
And yes, I probably just spent 950 words writing what Espresso Pundit could have done in 400. But he’s been doing it for years and I just started.