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Media Matters asks if the Dispatch is in the tank for Kasich

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Politics Media Matters asks if the Dispatch is in the tank for Kasich

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  • #97903

    dirtgirl
    Participant

    New story today from Media Matters examining the Dispatch company’s ownership of most media outlets in Columbus and publisher’s political ties to GOP, specifically Kasich.

    Major GOP Donor Gaining Monopoly Control Over Crucial Media Market

    Blog ››› JOE STRUPP

    Quote:
    The conservative Columbus Dispatch has long been a force in local and state politics in Ohio. But in recent years, the newspaper’s parent company has become a virtual media monopoly in Ohio’s largest city and state capital, controlling not only the daily newspaper, but two radio stations, a television outlet and a long list of other weekly, monthly, and regional news sources.

    “It’s a one-newspaper town,” said Dominick Cappa, editor of Columbus Business First, one of the few local publications not owned by the Dispatch. “They have the TV station, a radio station. Are they powerful? Hell yeah they’re powerful because they have those outlets.”

    [Read more at http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/07/08/major-gop-donor-gaining-monopoly-control-over-c/194753%5D

    I thought it could have been stronger, specifically looking at how the editorial page has been used to push the publisher’s anti-union and pro-Kasich agenda, but still nice to see.

    #546121
    Chris Sunami
    Chris Sunami
    Participant

    I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by how critical the Dispatch has been of Kasich. Admittedly I’m grading on a curve, but I thought they were relatively aggressive on stories such as the JobsOhio funds grab. Maybe my expectations are just way low…

    #546122

    Schoolboy
    Participant

    The Dispatch has been blasted quite a bit over the past few elections over its political affiliations. In the last couple of years I’ve seen it try to balance itself out more and more.

    That being said, most “news” sources are political biased. So I’m not entirely sure what the real issue is. The whole free press system is pretty much broken, and has been for some time.

    #546123

    dirtgirl
    Participant

    You could distinguish between the reporting and the editorial page. Reporters have done a good job of covering the controversies around JobsOhio, including Joe Vardon uncovering secret grant funds transferred from the Development Department to the nonprofit, which ultimately led to the fight over records with the state auditor.

    But the editorial page has failed to say anything about the secrecy of how the agency is spending what amounts to $125 million in taxpayer money every year without oversight. Every other paper in the state has said that should be considered public money and its use subject to investigation by the State Auditor.

    What I found the height of hilariousness was how the paper was fully behind the SB5 anti-union efforts in 2011 when Kasich was on board, but this year when GOP legislators introduced right to work bills, they opined that now was not the right time to push the measures because they would — I’m not lying — distract from Kasich’s other successes. It just seems the editorial page’s bottom line is getting Kasich reelected, consistent ideology be damned.

    #546124
    Chris Sunami
    Chris Sunami
    Participant

    dirtgirl said:
    But the editorial page has failed to say anything about the secrecy of how the agency is spending what amounts to $125 million in taxpayer money every year without oversight. Every other paper in the state has said that should be considered public money and its use subject to investigation by the State Auditor.

    It’s fair to call this piece overly deferential to Kasich, but you can’t claim they didn’t say anything:

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2013/06/02/1-jobsohio-dangles-100-million-worth-of-temptation.html

    #546125

    Twixlen
    Participant

    They were/are definitely in the tank over the abortion issues – it was hardly mentioned before the budget was signed, and if mentioned, done so in a way that seemed to deliberately minimize the impact of those pieces of legislation.

    #546126
    Coremodels
    Coremodels
    Participant

    Schoolboy said:

    That being said, most “news” sources are political biased. So I’m not entirely sure what the real issue is. The whole free press system is pretty much broken, and has been for some time.

    The problem here is that while most news sources have political bias, there is an offsetting collection of them in most cities. Here, the Dispatch owns all of them.

    #546127
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    Coremodels said:
    The problem here is that while most news sources have political bias, there is an offsetting collection of them in most cities. Here, the Dispatch owns all of them.

    Columbus Free Press still a thing?

    Along those lines, is it just that people buy what the dispatch is selling?

    #546128
    Coremodels
    Coremodels
    Participant

    rus said:
    Columbus Free Press still a thing?

    Along those lines, is it just that people buy what the dispatch is selling?

    I think its beyond that, when you purchase and then immediately shut down your competition.

    #546129
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    Coremodels said:
    I think its beyond that, when you purchase and then immediately shut down your competition.

    You mean the other paper, right?

    I see what you’re saying, but at the same time if you don’t want people to buy it don’t sell it.

    ETA: Put another way, what’s stopping someone from offering a competing product?

    #546130
    Coremodels
    Coremodels
    Participant

    rus said:
    You mean the other paper, right?

    I see what you’re saying, but at the same time if you don’t want people to buy it don’t sell it.

    ETA: Put another way, what’s stopping someone from offering a competing product?

    Probably the same thing that would prevent anyone from trying to enter a market against an existing monopoly, assured failure.

    Dispatch owns, what, the main paper, This Week (purchased and killed competitors Suburban News Publications), Alive (and killed direct competitor Other Paper), Columbus Monthly, Columbus Bride, Columbus CEO, radio (AM & FM), TV…

    #546131

    NEOBuckeye
    Participant

    rus said:
    ETA: Put another way, what’s stopping someone from offering a competing product?

    Most people that would be interested in news media don’t have access to the capital it would require to start up and maintain a new newspaper from scratch today. Those that actually do have the capital are likely put off by steadily declining readership and shrinking profit margins, and would rather invest in something far more lucrative.

    #546132

    GCrites80s
    Participant

    You also gotta look at the demographics of people who still get the paper. They are on average older and more suburban/semi-rural who tend to like Kasich anyway. They’d get cranky and dump the paper if it was a left-a-thon. Yet the Left probably wouldn’t start getting the paper if it moved to the left.

    #546133
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    NEOBuckeye said:
    Most people that would be interested in news media don’t have access to the capital it would require to start up and maintain a new newspaper from scratch today. Those that actually do have the capital are likely put off by steadily declining readership and shrinking profit margins, and would rather invest in something far more lucrative.

    Quite possible that it wouldn’t be profitable.

    At the same time, I don’t see that the dispatch can limit others from reporting on current events or limit who can publish what, especially online.

    Still, most people get their news from tv and there is some diversity there, yes?

    #546134

    myliftkk
    Participant

    It’s quite possible to build an adversarial news reporting media company in the digital domain without incurring the extensive capital needed to create a printed sheet of material. There’s obviously a demand for one, as the Other Paper wouldn’t have been worth buying otherwise, but it’s takes a certain type of individual(s) to successfully run one.

    I don’t see the Dispatch’s eliminating of competition any different than what most of the newspaper industry has tried over the last decade to put off the writing on the wall. They are a dying business vertical where the limited usefulness of a physicial paper product for conveying information has moved well past it’s peak. Their past margins were based entirely on monopolies of things such as classifieds. In some respects, trying to recapture a short term monopoly in print only highlights that they have no plan for what comes after, when they are saddled with ever rising costs and an existing business structure based on a fat margins of decades long past.

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