As many of you know, my new weekly national Creators Syndicate column will be starting this week (the first one should be out on the web on Thursday - past column samples can be found here). In light of that, I wanted to highlight this new study released today by Media Matters which finds that - surprise, surprise - newspapers run far more conservative syndicated writers than progressive syndicated writers. The report shows that the bias is on par with Fox News' definition of "fair and balanced" - that is, it is entirely unfair and unbalanced.
Not analyzed in the report, but also a hugely important issue, is geographic bias. As I've written before, the number of syndicated columnists from Washington, D.C. and New York seems to grossly outnumber the amount of syndicated columnists from the rest of the country - likely giving the scope of syndicated coverage an even narrower, more unbalanced view. This is part of the reason why, living in Colorado, I intend to make my new column much more "outside the Beltway" in its scope and coverage.
In a way, I'm glad the Media Matters report came out this week. I hope it means there will be a correction and that more progressive syndicated writers are published - whether my new column or someone other progressive writer's. (And let me be clear: It isn't obvious exactly what is at the root of this conservative slant. It is hard to say whether this slant is the product of relatively few progressive writers being syndicated, or a product of newspaper editors choosing more conservative writers from the syndicated columnists that are offered).
But it is also daunting to look at as I just start out. It reiterates that I'm going to need all the help I can get from readers contacting their local editorial page editors asking them to run my new column (you can find your local papers by zip code here). All of you have already been so terrifically supportive in this project - so let me just say, again, thank you.
Every mountain is a big one to climb - and today's Media Matters report shows that the world of syndicated columns is a big mountain for progressives. I'm looking forward to the challenge.