In 2010 some conservative candidates chose to skip editorial board interviews. Rick Perry was the most noteable candidate to do so in Texas. His reasoning? Newspapers are out of touch with most Texans. Case in point, seven of our state’s largest newspapers endorsed Barack Obama in 2008.
Political insiders and the media decried Perry’s decision but it didn’t move the needle. Perry realized that he could take his message directly to voters and skip the headache of dealing with a newspaper industry that incessantly endorses liberal causes and candidates.
Despite a clear slippage in relevance for established newspapers, they are the recipients of large amounts of taxpayer dollars.
According to the Comptroller, three dailies in Texas, the Austin American Statesman, Houston Chronicle and Dallas Morning News pulled in nearly $3 million last year. These aren’t comprehensive figures due to vendor coding on the Comptroller’s website.
For-profit news outfits aren’t the only ones taking advantage of taxpayer resources. The Texas Tribune is on the government take as well. The Comptroller has the Texas the Tribune receiving over $34,800 from the state. The largest amounts given were from the House of Representatives in the form of “subscriptions” taxpayers pay for.
Despite its claims to be unbiased the group receives money from progressive super donor George Soros.
Other left leaning news outlets are also receiving a steady stream of government funds. The Quorum Report run by Harvey Kronberg received over $58,000 in the previous year. Kronberg and his staff routinely write from a left leaning perspective and have been, until recently, unchallenged in shaping a media narrative in Austin.
Texans are discontinuing their relationship with traditional print media. Their tax dollars ought to follow suit. Additionally, lawmakers should view traditional media outlets with a particularly skeptical eye. They are being abandoned by voters because of views held, not a silver bullet internet media fix.