Reading the Dom Post’s editorial pages over my morning coffee today, I had one of those moments when you suddenly remember how insufferably, shamelessly right-wing our print media can be.
Top left is an editorial attacking the teacher unions and confirming the newspaper’s support for the National Party’s education policies.
The feature op-ed is the regular opinion column from Richard Long, chief of staff to former National Party leader Don Brash (no disclaimer).
Across the page from him is another regular opinion column from former National Party cabinet minister Simon Upton (again no disclaimer).
Below Upton is a syndicated article from climate sceptic BjÃ¸rn Lomborg, writing about how the Copenhagen summit is a waste of time and we should just rely on technology to save us.
Next to that is a piece lifted from The Times aimed at building public sympathy for an Israeli military strike on Iran.
Even the feature letter is an insane rant attacking Barack Obama and Al Gore.
The Herald cops a lot of flack for its right-wing partisanship, and rightly so, but I’d argue the Dom Post is even worse. The only time we regularly see a left-wing voice in that paper is old left dinosaur Chris Trotter’s (now fortnightly) column. What I’d give for a Tapu Misa or a Brian Rudman.
Perhaps the biggest giveaway is the fact the paper feels the need to label Trotter’s column “From the Left”. It would be simply unthinkable for the Dom Post to label Richard Long, or Simon Upton, or their own editorial as “From the Right”. For the Dom Post, ‘from the right’ is the default editorial position.
That’s why I’m not too worried about the death of newspapers. There’s a reason they’re so biased to the right, and it’s because the barrier to entry is owning a newsroom, a marketing department and a printing press. It can only be a good thing when these barriers finally collapse and we’re no longer reliant on the class interests of newspaper owners to filter our democratic debate.