Hypocrisy on the Editorial Page

Isn’t it funny that when Republicans are in charge of something, the media decides that partisanship is suddenly a bad thing?

We see this all the time in big media, but today we get a glimpse of it at home via The Commercial Appeal.

The editorial page pompously headlines: “Staying neutral on election day.” Hmm. Has it taken decades for them to reach this conclusion or is it just in the past year when Republicans now hold so many local offices, including the election commission?

CA, were you asking for neutrality before? I’ll answer my own question. No. And the editors admit it. “People tend to take whatever system is in place for granted, just as many of us did (!) when Democrats held a majority in the Tennessee General Assembly and thus also held the reins in local election commissions.”

Somehow, that didn’t merit investigation. But now, trustee race loser Regina Newman’s comment sounds like a good idea to them. She said “I think all election commissions would be better off with a manager, a professional manager who’s not beholden to any party.”

OK, well who might that be? The problem is that people who aren’t interested in politics and don’t belong to a party don’t know much about politics and have little interest in becoming involved in them. So where is the work pool for this insubstantial group? How can they be professionals?

The newspaper recognizes this dilemma. “Of course, somebody has to appoint them to the job. They don’t just materialize out of nonpartisan air. But they do tend to have more credibility.” Credibility among whom?

Credibility comes from the voters. If voters do not feel a party is doing a credible job, they vote that party out and the other one gets a chance. That’s democracy. Appointing someone takes that right away from the voter.

If you’re not buying that argument, the editors try another at the end of the piece. “Replacing key members of an experienced office staff just because one party or another has gained prominence in Nashville is irrational, inefficient and wasteful of public resources.” Two things. First, this argument didn’t pop up when Democrats were in charge, did it? Secondly, since when did liberals ever care about being prudent with the taxpayers’ dime? Umm, never.

“Republican and Democrat majorities come and go, but credibility should be constant,” they declare. If that’s so, then we’ve had the wrong system in place for the last two hundred plus years. Every two years the House has the possibility of changing hands and when it does, an “irrational, inefficient and wasteful…(use) of public resources” takes place. This is a good thing, according to our Constitution.

It strikes me, too, that you could substitute journalism for government in these opinions. Why just pick on the election commission? I would like to see non partisan covering of the news on TV, newspapers and radio. I would like to see non partisan professionals report events without the bias of liberal Democrats. I would like the newspaper to remain neutral whenever it’s covering a political race. I agree that all newspapers “would be better off with a manager, a professional manager who’s not beholden to any party,” to echo Ms. Newman’s sentiments.

As the editors say, I would like to see “efforts under way here and there to install reporters (my substitution for their ‘election officials’) who not only put forth an honest effort to be professional and objective but are also not active party members.”

Do I think it will happen? No. At least in government the electorate can vote a party out of office, but in the media we have little chance to do that.

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