The Baltimore Sun decided to go full exhibitionist with a Feb. 18 “racial reckoning” editorial trashing the once-illustrious newspaper’s past. While scouring the archives for 1925 items that do not jibe with the social practices of 2022 America may seem an exercise in futility, it does offer an opportunity for Sun executives and staffers to indulge in an act that progressives cherish.
Expressing deeply felt remorse over things that you did not do is a vanity project that conveniently lets a person sidestep making amends for those wrongdoings for which he or she is personally responsible. The cheap high that comes with basking in a thoroughly artificial sense of humility is an essential part of the process. But there is a steep price to pay for sawing off the branch you are sitting on just to capture a fleeting moment of 24-hour-news-cycle attention.
Can’t You See How Sorry We Are?
There was nothing honest or restrained about The Sun’s preening. A pinned tweet on its Twitter account highlights Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Trif Alatzas beating his chest and bemoaning that “[t]oo often, The Sun did not use its influence to better define, explain and root out systemic racism or prejudiced policies and laws.”
Alatzas would be wise to ponder how much damage he is doing to the power of that influence by parroting tired progressive verbiage. Not content to condemn antiquated segregation policies from Maryland history, The Sun’s mea culpa ridiculously tossed 1980s conservative critiques of welfare abuse into the “structural racism” stew:
“By the 1980s, Sun editorials focused on issues of poverty, criminal justice and equal opportunity in hiring through a lens of race, but they still had an ivory tower quality to them of being written by someone largely disconnected from the topic. In a December 1981 editorial, writers decried strict welfare rules that hurt the working poor, but made a point of separating them from people ‘on the dole,’ seemingly buying into the mythology of the ‘welfare queen’ popularized by Ronald Reagan during his 1976 presidential campaign.”
This is called undercutting your own standing. It is the kind of fundamental strategic error that the irresponsible never can understand. Conservatives know all too well that a quiet and restrained subversion of dominant media outlets, both local and national, has reaped major rewards for the progressive left for the last 60-odd years and more.
But a high-pitched, in-your-face approach destroys the whole point of taking a prestigious brand and manipulating it for your purposes. You are erasing everything that made the brand worth hijacking in the first place.
When The Baltimore Sun becomes the Charm City equivalent of Mother Jones or Salon, its ability to target the average citizen with effective disguised propaganda is entirely forfeited. You can’t stand atop the highly valuable platform erected by the likes of H.L. Mencken when you are dynamiting that famed satirist and cultural critic’s pedestal in the name of social justice, something the paper specifically does in its racial-reckoning jeremiad.
Rather than decry this hysterical effort, conservatives should be pleasantly relieved. Having deeply subversive local newspapers morph into CNN in print rather than continue to be effective on-the-ground weapons of leftist propaganda represents a victory.
The Salt Lake Tribune in Utah is another once-important local daily newspaper that seems determined to obliterate whatever remains of its former good name.
A Jan. 15 editorial called for the implementation of coronavirus social curbs to a ludicrous extreme. “Were Utah a truly civilized place, the governor’s next move would be to find a way to mandate the kind of mass vaccination campaign we should have launched a year ago, going as far as to deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere,” is how the paper put it.
This is how overheated green-haired, in-the-moment social media accounts operate, not professional custodians of local journalism.
The Tribune’s “political correspondent” Bryan Schott, who frequently styles his alleged straight news accounts in the manner of a frothing partisan, drew withering heat on Feb. 17 when it was revealed that he was harassing Utahns who donated as little as $50 to the Canadian Freedom Convoy vaccine mandate protest via the crowdsourcing platform GiveSendGo, which was hacked.
“The Tribune is working to confirm the identity of several of the donors. Most of the emails were from Gmail or similar platforms. But, some donors used work, professional or .edu accounts. It appears at least one donor is an unsuccessful candidate for municipal office,” Schott had the audacity to “report.”
Yes, this is gravely malicious. But it is also a sad joke. The Salt Lake Tribune’s top political writer is performing his job duties much like an edgy woke blogger who lives to “poke rage buttons.” Every time he does so, his newspaper’s usefulness as a shaper of information shrinks.
~ Read more from Joe Schaeffer.
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