Conservatives too tone deaf to see their own media bias

To the editor:

Ever since the election, it is a habit of mine to turn to the editorial page of this newspaper on a daily basis to see who is whining the loudest. Is it the editorial board or some right-wing crybaby predicting the future because he or she was wrong about the past?

On New Year’s Day it was L. Brent Bozell, the clownish president of the conservative Media Research Center (“2008: The year of leg thrills”). With people of his ilk, it is always the liberal media who are to blame for everything. His attempt at humor — that is, if humor and conservatives can even exist together — was benign.

Newspapers are a medium. Radio is a medium. Television is a medium. The Internet is a medium. These mediums make up what we fondly refer to as “the media.” To assume that liberals rule all media is a joke. Conservatives have Fox News and its spawn on TV, and there are plenty of conservative editorial boards, including this one, at newspapers across the country.

But the largest block of conservative thought appears on the medium of radio, where one can tune into right-wing hate conversation on many a station in any part of this country. So how does a genius like Mr. Bozell and his blind and tone-deaf minions arrive at such a conclusion? Mr. Bozell complains about interviewers conducting one-sided interviews favorable to their guests, but he failed to speak of Sean Hannity’s interview of GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. All that was missing from that interview was Mr. Hannity massaging Gov. Palin’s feet while he questioned her.

Oops. Mr. Hannity is a conservative. Sorry.

The answer is quite clear. This past election was not only a rebuke of Republican ideals, but a stomach-churning kick in the teeth to right-wing talk associated with likes of Mr. Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and local host Alan Stock. Their influence has diminished, but they have to have something to talk about.

The only question that remains is, “Is anyone listening?”

Scott Kagan

LAS VEGAS

Come together

To the editor:

Tuesday’s article, “Taxable sales dip in October” was a wake-up call for anyone who doubted that we need swift action to improve Nevada’s struggling economy. Congress is prepared to act by passing an economic recovery package as soon as possible.

Much must be done to stop the bleeding, and we can start by creating jobs and protecting homeowners.

This bill must invest in transportation and renewable energy. For every $1 billion we spend on infrastructure and public works projects, we create 47,500 good-paying jobs. The Regional Transportation Commission can start 60 projects totaling $1 billion within six months of getting funding. And we can create even more jobs and help make the Silver State the world leader in renewable energy by taking advantage of Nevada’s vast renewable resources.

Our state has been hit harder than any other by the foreclosure crisis. The economic recovery package we will work on next week must help Americans keep their homes. We all lose when a home goes into foreclosure: a loss of tax revenue means cuts to vital public services like police and firefighting, and neighbors’ homes values decrease.

We need to work together toward responsible solutions that help Nevada’s working families. But I regret some are preemptively opposing this important legislation rather than taking the opportunity to help write it. The time for these kinds of games has passed. We must come together to invest in America today if we are to move it forward.

Sen. Harry Reid

WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE WRITER, A NEVADA DEMOCRAT, IS MAJORITY LEADER OF THE U.S. SENATE.

Comparable sacrifice?

To the editor:

Nevadans know state archivist Guy Rocha, and they know he loves this state as much as anybody. Your Friday editorial criticizing him (“Work undone?”) was, I think, a bit extreme. You criticized him for believing state government is somehow above making “comparable sacrifice.”

How much are Nevada’s private-sector businesses and workers expecting their income to fall this next year? Since the Great Depression, no recession in the United States has had real gross domestic product decline by more than 5 percent, and no recession in Nevada has had real GDP decline by more than 2 percent. Let us assume that this recession will be as deep as 10 percent in Nevada, which I think is overly pessimistic. So how is a cut of 34 percent comparable sacrifice?

State employees are willing to share the pain, and we have already cut state operating budgets by roughly 10 percent. Why, when the economy catches a fever, is it a good idea for the state to also have its limbs amputated, especially when the state also holds the private sector’s threadbare safety net?

Elliott Parker

RENO

Supporting unions

To the editor:

In response to Jim Fitzpatrick’s Dec. 5 letter to the editor, I must respectfully remind him of one important truth regarding unionized autoworker compensation: Union workers pay taxes on those $70-an-hour jobs.

As a proud member of Sprinklerfitters Local 669 here in Las Vegas, I also make what we call a “living wage” that is close to that $70-an-hour mark that seemed to offend Mr. Fitzpatrick. Roughly $8 an hour pays for health care for my family of six, $5 an hour goes into my defined-benefit pension fund, and another $5 an hour goes into a 401(a) account. Both funds are managed well and are proudly invested in U.S. companies.

After some other hourly deductions, I receive my hourly wage, which I pay taxes on. The goods and services that my family requires include all things American.

I do not know what kind of car Mr. Fitzpatrick drives, but I drive an American automobile. This is a matter of patriotism and principal. I choose to spend my money in America, on America for America. I would rather push a Pinto than drive a Lexus. I work too hard to allow my family’s future to be outsourced to foreign companies.

That all being said, I would ask Mr. Fitzpatrick if he enjoys his 8-hour workday, his 40-hour work week and his weekends. If you enjoy these things, be sure to thank me and all my union brothers and sisters nationwide, because without the sacrifices we have made for you, I know none of us would enjoy the standard of living that we all have in this great nation.

Todd W. Byington

LAS VEGAS

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