The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Facing South: ESP wonder; newspapers channel Bush

via Eschaton

Facing South has noted that several papers are running the identical editorial as if it were the local opinion of the newspaper's editorial board:

"One of the smartest things President Bush did to reduce recovery costs in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita was to suspend Davis-Bacon Act rules in the hardest hit states. But Congress is frantically trying to overrule the president, which would add billions of dollars to the already staggering recovery costs."

It seems the culprit is one of us. Sort of.

Facing South: ESP wonder; newspapers channel Bush:

UPDATE IV: Quick, check out the comments -- the author of the editorial is here! His name is Sean Paige, editorial page editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette and a man with a rich history in right-wing politics. On his resume: "Staff Assistant for Communications, White House," personal aide to John Sununu (Chief of Staff to Bush I), and "Press Secretary: Keyes for Senate" (ouch). More on his history here.

And here's the best part: just this month, none other than Sean Paige penned an editorial slamming MoveOn.org members for sending "astroturf" letters to newspapers. Here's a choice passage:

I began noticing patterns in the e-mails — the same rote phrases or analogies that betray an orchestrated letter writing campaign, rather than a spontaneous outpouring of thoughts and feelings.
How COULD they?!

UPDATE V: Just a little context -- the anonymous "house" editorials penned by a GOP operative in Colorado sprung up in newspapers nationally just as Democrats had forced a House vote on a bill to overturn Bush's repeal of Davis-Bacon. 37 Republicans had recently signed a letter saying they wanted Davis-Bacon reinstated.

UPDATE VI (the last?): The great Pam Spaulding points to a piece from 2002 that shows this is likely part of a controversial move by Freedom Communications to have their papers run "joint content" -- stuff that appears local but really isn't:

... let's take a look at how The Gazette is pretending that some of its writers, who work in other states, are actually on staff and crafting their prose from the home office at 30 S. Prospect.

In a widely criticized move earlier this year, The Gazette's owner, Freedom Communications, based in Orange County, Calif., launched an exercise in what it calls "joint content." Essentially, the suits upstairs decided that film reviewing, travel and food were pretty much the same wherever you go.
Read the rest. It's one thing to do this for, say, film reviews. But house editorials that supposedly are the opinion of the local paper's editorial board? Kind of puts a damper on the "spontaneous outpouring of thoughts and feelings," don't you think?

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