Saturday, July 4, 2015

Three Huge Decisions and the Big Three's Response.

I wrote the following for a Facebook page I admin. on Butte County Media.

Three huge events occurred in the world of politics over the last week. Two national issues involving the Supreme Court with marriage equality and Obamacare, and one state issue regarding mandatory vaccinations.

So how did the the Big Three (Chico ER, Chico News and Review, the Paradise Post) deal with this? You can learn as much about a paper by what it omitted, rather than by what they chose to comment on.

#1. Marriage equality: The Chico News and Review (CNR) lauded the Supreme Court's decision to extend same sex marriage to all 50 states. They called it "about time". The Chico ER's editorial board was silent on the issue. They did publish a couple letters to the editor, both pro and con. The editorial board of the Paradise Post had a first paragraph where they said they were happy that gay people can get married, then they went on to publish extensively from the dissenters, bringing up concerns about an activist court and polygamy. Jim Chastain, columnist for the Paradise Post went much further and outright condemned the decision. He called the Supreme Court an "American Politburo".

Overall, CNR (pro); Chico ER (avoidant); Paradise Post (mostly negative).

#2: The opinion pages of all three newspapers avoided Obmacare being upheld. The Chico News and Review did have a small news blurb on the story. So far, no letters-to-the-editor, nor columns mentioned it. Nor were there any editorials on the fact that Obamcare was upheld. Quite the omission on such an important decision.

Overall on the Supreme Court decision? The Big Three avoided the topic.

#3. In a surprise move, Governor Brown signed SB277 on Tuesday, which requires school aged children to receive vaccinations from 10 diseases in order to attend public and private schools. The Chico News and Review devoted a feature story in May to the issue, and have been editorially friendly to vaccinations, but they were quiet on its passage--probably because it happened close to press time for them. The Chico ER has been very pro-vaccination since the Disneyland measles epidemic. They ran an editorial applauding the Governor's decision to sign the bill. On this issue, they have strayed from the positions of Sen. Nielson, Assemblyman Gallagher and Assemblyman Dahle, who all voted against SB277. The Paradise Post has been silent on the issue so far. And there have been no columns or letters to the editor on the Gov. Brown signing the legislation. Yet.

Overall on SB277: CNR (silent); Chico ER (pro); Paradise Post (silent).

So what to make of this? The Chico ER's position on vaccinations is refreshing. The ER occasionally departs from the conservative lockstep regarding important issues. Their silence on Marriage Equality is a bit disappointing. As is their silence on Obamacare.

It is interesting that the CNR had nothing to say editorially on Obamacare. The ACA isn't popular among liberals because many support Single Payer. When the Public Option was lost from the bill, most liberals lost their enthusiasm for the law. They still support it because something is better than nothing, but it is hard for Lefties to get excited about it.

When it comes to Obamacare, the silence of the Chico ER and the Paradise Post is deafening. Conservatives don't want to admit that this law is now codified and will be very difficult to repeal. They are beyond anger and outrage and have settled into a quiet acceptance (and depression?) regarding the law, thus completing their stages of grief on the issue.

Overall, this was a very interesting week reading the Big Three. Some of these topics might be taken up in subsequent weeks.

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