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Risking Life to Defend the Redlands Daily Facts

A former newspaper reporter risks his life to discuss and defend the Redlands Daily Facts on Redlands Tea Party Radio. Show airs Saturday, Dec. 22, 2pm-2:30pm, 590 AM The Answer.

Earlier this week, I risked my life while discussing the liberal media with Phillip Namen, my co-host on Redlands Tea Party Patriots radio.

After signing a medical waiver -- I'm kidding -- I went into the radio cage at AM 590 The Answer. We taped Wednesday of this week at its studio in San Bernardino. The show airs this Saturday, 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

For the record, I share all of Phil's hostility about the liberal media and how biased it has been against the tea party movement.

But, as a former newspaper reporter for nearly 20 years, I wanted to explain why the media is liberal and what we conservatives could do about it.

Between roars, Phil stressed how we conservatives should ignore the Redlands Daily Facts and concentrate on media outlets that have been more fair, such as the Patch. Phil stressed how the Facts slants news coverage against us and won't print all of our letters to the editor.

While dodging Phil's claws, I explained how we must engage the Redlands Daily Facts and present our case the best way we can. I said I've had luck getting my letters published. I said, as far as tea party movements go, we get some decent coverage out of the Redlands Daily Facts.

I stressed how we must keep up the fight and keep writing letters and engage Facts editors and staff so we can get our points of view into the public. Yes, we can keep blogging in the Patch, but media reality is the Facts is the driver of public opinion in Redlands, so we have no choice but to engage.

The Facts' circulation has plummeted in recent years. Its subscribers now number almost 6,000, almost half of what it was just a few years ago. The paper can't afford to lose any more readers whether they're liberal or conservative.

The show is well worth the time. I don't want to give out too many spoiler alerts.But here's one point I didn't have time to make on the show: The media loves to whine how its losing readers and viewers because people get their news different ways now.

That's true to a point, but it's not the entire case why the media is losing followers. The media is losing viewership and readers because they are so abjectly leftist. I have crossed paths with hundreds of reporters in my career, and the average reporter, editor, copy editor and TV type is a hard-core leftist. Conservatives are giving up on the so-called media because they know they won't get a fair shake.

That's especially true for the Redlands Daily Facts. That paper, with a historically strong liberal bias, became cheerleaders for the short-lived Occupy Wall Street movement in 2010 and 2011 despite its Redlands chapter having just a few members. The daily and fawning stories that group got have permanently left a bad taste in the mouths of conservatives as wells many Redlanders in general.

At the same time, we had to fight to get news coverage despite events that were, well, actually newsworthy. We had congressmen speak at our meetings. We knocked on more than 8,300 doors in the city. We had straw polls. We had city council forums, yet the Facts skipped our events as a matter of routine.

So I understand Phil's fury and frustration. Stay tuned and tune in Saturday to find out how he really feels.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

sv dfwe December 21, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Assuming direct causality, the city has become more "liberal" in recent years. Daily Facts lost readership in recent years. Does that imply there is an association or correlation (r value = ?) that lost readership is associated with more liberal stories being published? The readers The Facts lost may be the conservatives. Therefore, it would make business sense for The Facts to go back to unbiased REAL fact-based journalism (neither "conservative" and DEFINITELY NOT catering to liberal emotion-based "facts."
Kristina Hernandez December 21, 2012 at 09:32 PM
John, While I thank you for defending the Facts' reputation, I feel the need to reply personally, as a reporter and someone who has enjoyed working with you since coming on board with the paper. I understand your frustrations that we have not been able to cover a lot of the Tea Party's functions held around the city. But, you have to understand that we, like a lot of papers, are short-staffed and are trying to deal with the economy and other obstacles that come our way as best we can. In 2012 alone, I have covered many Tea Party-related functions and issues, including coverage of your election night results party at the Mill Creek Cattle Co. in Mentone. Not only did I talk to you personally, but I was also on the receiving end of a verbal confrontation by a member of your organization for taking a photo of the back of her head while watching Romney's concession speech. Exhausted, I still continued on and tried to ease her concerns by showing the photo I took of her head - and other's - to a fellow member of your organization. While uncomfortable, I still continued my job, and after, went back to the office to write on the happenings of your event. To be fair, we also covered a Democratic held function as well to provide balanced coverage. I should also note that I have been the only reporter in attendance at many of your meetings during the past year, and made it a point to introduce myself to many members. I am saddened this was not recognized.
John F. Berry December 22, 2012 at 01:52 AM
CORRECTION: The name of Phillip Naman, the cohost of Redlands Tea Party Patriots Radio, was misspelled in this blog earlier this week. The Patch wants to make it clear that the misspelling was the fault of the writer. In addition, the writer will be beaten to a pulp for his blogging sin. Surviving that, he will have his next restaurant bill stamped, "No Dessert."
John F. Berry December 22, 2012 at 02:05 AM
@Kristina: You have been more objective than pretty much any other reporter we have dealt with at the Facts or anywhere else. You should be commended for your hard work at trying to be fair. At least you have been trying. Objectivity is never 100 percent, but at least you did your best. The Facts, however, needs to repair its relations with conservative readers because the paper's historic liberal bias has turned off, and turned away, way too many readers. Your point about being short-staffed does have some merit, but it does not survive the smell test for this reason: The Facts did not cover our many newsworthy events in the weeks and months leading up to the election. This was an obvious editorial decision. Yet, in that same timeframe, the Facts wrote an advance story about a Sunday event for Redlands - Occupy Wall Street -- then went and covered that same live Sunday event (sending a reporter to a Sunday story means your paper went out of its way to cover the event; something it wouldn't do for us) and then, despite only a dozen people showing up, you reported it anyway despite nothing happening and no one showing up. This is a clear case of editorial bias for leftist causes and against conservative ones. This is just one of many, many examples. And after your paper ignored us for the weeks before the election, your paper -- along with four other area journalists -- did manage to appear at our Election Night party; I doubt they would have showed if Romney had won.
John Dunbar January 16, 2013 at 10:47 PM
So this is the Tea Party's strategy in trying to trump up publicity: Whining about the "liberal media" and how it isn't pandering to every Tea Party agenda? You say the Facts likes to whine about losing readers, but isn't the Redlands Tea Party doing the exact same thing whining about the Facts not attending EVERY one of its events? Do you see The Facts, or any other publication for that matter, doing that for any other organized political group? For some reason, you feel the Facts is obligated to pander and cater to your every whim. No matter how many times you and Mr. Naman cry "liberal media," it will not change those words to 4-letter words. Nothing wrong with a liberal media, just like there's nothing wrong with a Fox News or KFI. Do you really feel the Facts is obligated to print EVERY one of the letters you submit? If so, using the 20 years of journalism experience you so proudly tout as a qualifier for your wisdom on the "liberal media," explain why the Facts MUST print every Tea Party letter, and if this is considered standard practice in the newspaper business. I'm really interested in hearing your justification as to why the Facts should do this in order to be a "fair and objective" newspaper, as you argue. Lastly, you state, "The media is losing viewership and readers because they are so abjectly leftist." You state this as fact. Please cite your source on this "fact."

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