September 17, 2003
Compare and contrast

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is stridently liberal, and the Orlando Sentinel reliably conservative (except for free-speech issues, where they can make the ACLU look right-wing). An example of their views can be seen in their take on the Alabama tax increase proposal. Alabama's Republican governor, Bob Riley, has been pushing for a large tax increase, and a restructuring, so that the rich pay an even bigger share of the state's revenue. Both papers had columns on the resulting donnybrook. The Strib's unsigned editorial can be found here, and the Sentinel's column, written by Peter A Brown, can be found here.

I'm not going to quote extensively from either piece, but the opening paragraph from the Strib piece and the second paragraph in the Sentinel's are so different in their approach that it is hard to recognize that they are talking about the same event.

From the Strib:

Rarely has Alabama led the nation in any positive direction -- but now, in the aftermath of last week's defeat of a conservative governor's desperate plea to raise taxes, the state has a chance to show the rest of America just how low a place can fall.

And from the Sentinel:

Alabamians' implicitly opted for deep spending cuts, overwhelmingly vetoing a $1.2 billion tax increase backed by almost everyone who "mattered" in the state -- except, of course, the people.

The Sentinel piece, although written three days before the Strib piece, anticipates the elitism that was sure to come from all the leftist papers when discussing a conservative state in the south:

For those who feel compelled to belittle Alabama as a refuge of country bumpkins incapable of understanding their own best interests, restrain your sense of superiority.


The Alabama vote was one of those populist revolts that that those who backed the tax normally cherish. After all, their mantra is often a variation of "power to the people."

Again, resist the opportunity to say that Alabama is backward, that it doesn't represent anything but itself. Forgo the snobby rhetoric about how this election shows the flaws of giving the great unwashed a voice.

That mind-set might find takers in Cambridge coffee shops or Berkeley bookstores, but it would be more than arrogant.

It would be wrong.

Ouch. Nailed it in one. It's amazing that the leftist papers in this country are all reading from the same sheet; maybe it's the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy (see my previous post for context).

posted on September 17, 2003 07:51 AM


No surprise that the Strib came down on that side of the issue. After all, they've been telling Minnesotans for almost a year that we're gullible bumpkins for voting in Gov. Pawlenty and Sen. Coleman. After all, us proles couldn't actually have a reason for voting that way, could we?

posted by Steve Gigl on September 17, 2003 08:56 AM

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