Sunday, February 22, 2004

More about the Frisco Examiner sale

Look, I'm confused as everybody else about why a conservative Christian has bought a struggling newspaper in San Francisco, a city that Christians might consider a modern day sodom and gomorrah. Tim Porter, a respected journalist in Northern California, has this view:
    Anschutz is politically and religiously conservative, and has financially supported measures and organizations that are anti-gay and crusade against "overly sexualized" magazines, the Chronicle reported. Could it be that Anschultz wants to establish a conservative media voice in San Francisco to cater to that part of the city who is not thrilled, for example, to see gay couples lining up by the thousands to married in City Hall?

    Bob Starzel, a longtime executive for Anschutz and now chairman of the Examiner, hints at this when says, as the Chronicle put it, that the paper "will concentrate on local news, business and sports coverage, with an emphasis on neighborhoods."

      "People in San Francisco live in separate neighborhoods, but to a degree they do not know each other that well," said Starzel, who lives in the outer Richmond district.

    "Neighborood coverage" is a code phrase used by San Francisco's conservatives -- and, yes, there are some, enough, in fact, to rise up occasionally and elect one of their own mayor -- when they decry front-page stories about gay rights or the homeless. Conservatives, of the moderate variety, are generally thought to represent about a third of the San Francisco electorate and most live on the west side of the city, Starzell's neighborhood.

    Perhaps Anschutz intends to take one of journalism's core tenets and give voice to those San Francisco conservatives, who regularly complain they are voiceless in the Chronicle.

    Anschutz was waged a proxy campaign for decades against gays. What better place is there to make that battle more personal through the pages of a newspaper than in San Francisco?
So let's say, for the sake of argument, that Frisco is two-thirds liberal and one-third conservative. The Chronicle would get the two-thirds of the liberal readership and the Examiner would get the rest. Each might be able to survive. Who knows? It all depends on how a newspaper is edited -- if a liberal paper is interesting, everybody will read it. If a conservative paper is interesting, everybody will read that too, though the liberals will deny reading it.