Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Baltimore Examiner

I am not an avid reader of the Baltimore Examiner daily tabloid newspaper. The paper does not go far into depth, the politics of the editorial staff are atrocious and its another cog in the syndicated Examiner machine. I first became aware of the Examiner's politics when they published advertisements for the San Francisco version showing a picture of a young white girl in school and a young Arab girl with an AK-47 with the words "PTA to PLO / No Local Newspaper Has Ever Delivered News Of This Scope." The original ad and an analysis are published here.

This ad caused quite a reaction, with local Arab groups pointing out that this undated, unsigned photo was likely taken in refugee camps decades ago. An anonymous photo with no context and strong comment amounted to a racist stereotype of Palestinians, in the eyes of San Franciscans. Since the photo was not new, it was hardly "news" as the ad claimed. The Examiner pulled the ad from the Bay area market, but republished it in DC when the Washington Examiner was started. If the ad was racist in San Francisco, it should have been racist in DC. But the Examiner was only interested in its PR campaign rather than questions about journalistic integrity of a newspaper. This was the reputation that the Examiner carried with it to Baltimore.

However, my grandmother points out that the paper scooped up some reporters from The Sun since its parent, the Tribune Company, has been increasingly using its syndicated columnists and reporters over local voices. The length of the paper also make it good bus and toilet reading material.

So I picked up a copy on my way to work on May 9th, and was not surprised to find an editorial calling for health care reforms based on suggestions from the American Enterprise Institute, without any mention of the neo-conservative ideology of the organization. The column, written by the editor of the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call Morton Kondracke is available here.

I wrote a response published, which was way too long for the 150 word max. I will publish it in full at the bottom of this post.

Most of my edited response was published by the Examiner here.

Though the following two key sentences were deleted.
"[Kondracke's] analysis is at best poor journalism, at worst rightist propaganda and it reflects poorly on the journalistic credibility of the Examiner."

I think those were crucial sentences. While its always good to have a second paper in a market like Baltimore, I am not confident that the presence of one of the Examiner's many tentacles will make up for the declining quality of the Baltimore Sun. A better sign (however humble) is the introduction of the Indypendent Reader, a project of the Baltimore Indypendent Center and Camp Baltimore. The first quarterly issue focuses on the creation of the ghetto, gentrification, and community power. One highlight is an interview with McElderry Park community association president (and green party candidate for city council) Glen Ross.

1 comment :

Lori said...

It's about time someone else writes about this paper. I wrote about it the day it arrived. I also signed up for the sun to be delivered to my home the very same day.