May 5, 2008

Media Politics

On Saturday April 5th, the Union Sun & Journal had the following entry in its weekly "Cheers & Jeers" editorial section: "Speaking of traveling out to Indian reservations to purchase a too-highly taxed item, (county)legislators are looking into limiting the amount of tax the county collects per gallon of gasoline. Currently, the county collects a tax of 4 cents on every dollar spent on a gallon of gasoline. The proposed gas tax cap, introduced by Legislator Sean O’Connor, calls for the county to stop taking its share of the tax at $3 per gallon, thus limiting the amount collected to no more than 12 cents per gallon. Sure, it’s basically pennies were talking about — unless things go bad and gas does rise to $4 a gallon — but it all adds up. It should be a no-brainer for legislators, but it’s got one big factor working against it — it was proposed by Democrats. If we were you we wouldn’t expect even a small measure of relief at the pump any time soon."

Pretty innocuous stuff, simply stating that capping the gas tax would be a good thing.

Here is the problem: The next entry also appears in the Union Sun & Journal "Cheers & Jeers" editorial column, this time on May 3rd: "Again, don’t be fooled by what some politicians are proposing in a gas tax ‘holiday.’ The only holiday us motorists would see is if the supplier dropped the cost, not the state or county governments share of the tax. That would be all well and good, but the suppliers would need to fall in line with the drop in price for us to see any difference. What’s expected is that the local and state politicians would drop their end of the tax, but then the suppliers would bump it right back up."

Three weeks ago, the editorial board, in response to a resolution proposed by O'Connor, stated that the county Legislature capping the sales tax on gasoline "should be a no-brainer for legislators."

Their second position directly contradicts their first position. It's possible that they didn't take into consideration the supplier issue when they initially stated their position on this issue. But of course, they have not changed their position on the gas tax "cap". If they suddenly realize that the suppliers would not pass along the savings under gas cap proposal, they should have changed their position on the first proposal. They obviously assume that the public is too stupid to recognize this blatant inconsistency in their position.

However, I'm afraid that this something beyond ignorance,and I'm afraid that I'm over-complicating the position of the paper. In fact, it's worse than ignorance - it's partisanship. For a newspaper that repeatedly accuses the County Leg of being too partisan, the editorial board is using that forum to promote their own personal political beliefs, possibly at the expense of taxpayers.

How do I arrive at that conclusion? Simple: A resolution proposed by a Dem that would save a few pennies is wholeheartedly endorsed by the board. A resolution proposed by a Republican that would eliminate the sales tax altogether is opposed.

The media is a powerful tool with great responsibility. To use it in this manner is reckless at best, and the people of our community deserve better. Let's hope the editorial board starts taking its own advice; put the politics aside and start acting in the best interest of the people.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

A week or two ago, the Niagara Gazette ran a story about the Greenway monies and the underhanded dealings of the NY Power Authority which could impact this area for the next 50 years. Does anybody know what the Union Sun ran that day on their FRONT page? Another story about Tom Christy.

It makes me sad that the Union Sun and Journal has become such a piece of crap.

Big Daddy said...

Hobbes, that is a terrific amount of insight and congrats to you for calling out the local rag.

This is what you get when you have inexperienced people in these newsrooms....inconsistency.Inconsistency in their reporting, inconsistency in their editorials and inconsistency overall in the quality of their paper.

The gas tax holiday is a dumb idea unless it's done at every level of government and is accompanied by some oversight that makes sure the savings are passed through to the customer. Places that have gas caps have seen little or no savings.

But the Journal is anti-Majority Caucus and have proven it again and again. Maybe they should realized their bias is why their circulation is in the gutter.

rufus said...

Local fish wraps better wake up to the fact that their 22-year-old cub reporters expressing opinions on issues they know nothing about ain't getting it done anymore.

I can read alternative press like the Reporter, visit websites like this and go other places for news and commentary beyond what some miminum wage recent college grad who don't know jack writes about in a paper with no circulation.

Big Daddy said...

Did you ever buy a Journal and realize you can peruse everything of relevance in under five minutes.

They should go to a weekly paper that covers school board meeting, high school sports and community events....that's all they are good for.

For the price of that rag, Tim Marren should have to wash my car...which is probably how he'll make his living in another six months.

I can call get a slice of pizza from Leffler, sit at the bar and eat that pizza while Christy pours me a beer while I'm waiting for Marren to finish washing my car.

Anonymous said...

Guys- It sounds like the chickens have come home to roost and you don't like it.

Fawn Leibowitz said...

"Hillary spokesperson Howard Wolfson, on a conference call with reporters moments ago, confirmed that she'd be going forward with her plan to introduce the gas tax holiday legislation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposes the proposal, so there's very little chance it will ever come to a vote, at least in the House. If it did, however, it could put members of Congress -- the same ones who are also super-delegates being courted by Hillary -- in a bit of a spot.

Anyway, she's going forward with it."

No slamming of Billary from the US&J on her plans to introduce legislation on it. Shocking.

Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton has failed to take a position on Tom Christy, so there is really no reason for the Union Sun to write about Sen. Clinton.

Poli Scick said...

LMAO at the last comment!

Anonymous said...

Rest assured, George Maziarz is jumping on the bandwagon also. Just follow the link. http://www.senatormaziarz.com/62/JoinTheFight.aspx

Larry S said...

Nice try to deflect the issue, but this is not about what George Maziarz is doing. It's about the blatant partisanship being shown by the editorial staff at the Union Sun. It's no wonder that readership has sunken to such lows. That's why they need to hire underpaid staff. A staff that hates that anyone is making more money than they are and write their editorials accordingly.

By the way, read Marren's editorial in yesterdays paper about having to repeatedly defend the paper's position in its reporting, and I only have one thing to say about it: Shut up, you whiny little bitch.

Frank DeGeorge said...

Senator Clinton and State Senator Maziarz are both right on this issue. Please, do something to give us some measure of relief. Governments shouldn't be lining their pockets off of soaring gas prices.

The US&J would care more if they were pumping gas into all those trucks to deliver their papers each day. But given the current circulation, they can fit all the papers for delivery in the back of a Yugo, which gets good mileage.

DS said...

Let's all pay a game of quick to judgment! There's a difference between capping the tax, and a 'tax holiday'. A HUGE difference. I'm not sure why that is so hard to understand.

Anonymous said...

DS, youre absolutely right, and if ANYTHING, the paper should be embracing the suspension over the cap. The suspension will have pennies with each fill-up. The suspension will save alot more.

dark knight said...

DS, the paper made no mention of the difference and clearly should have stated what it supported and what it opposed to show consistency, i.e.

"Last week, we supported a gas tax cap as a way to bring some relief to overburdended motorists. Since that time, proposals at both the state and federal level have been introduced to create a gas tax holiday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. While we supported the cap, the holiday is not something we can get behind. Here's why: INSERT LOGIC HERE.

Do you know why the US&J didn't do that? Because their opinions have no basis in logic and consistency. They have no editorial page ideology but rather likes and dislikes for particular personalities that color their view.

Anonymous said...

The gas tax should be doubled or tripled.

DS said...

DK... I'm not going to argue that they should/shouldn't have made a better case for their argument. But to claim that they are a shoddy paper due to this surface inconsistancy, is making a mountian out of a molehill. I'm sure there are much better and more precise examples about their editorial flubs. In this case they are only guilty by omission. In addition, I dare you to name a time period when the paper WAS good. As I've only read it since the 80's, well, it's never been "good", it's always just been a local paper, which is what it will always only be.

Anon.. The 'suspension' is a joke, and nothing but a vote grab. A cap on the other hand, is a much better solution to the issue. Of course, it still stinks as a solution. There are a lot more things that we could do, things that do not require us to drive wind-powered cars, but nobody wants to take the risk.

Anonymous said...

Gas prices are high due to supply and demand, if you doubled the tax it would lower demand, thus lowering price.

DS said...

Unfortunately the way gas prices work is not basic supply and demand. As gas is just a small part of the oil equation, the demand for gas (at least as far as reducing demand in the states goes) is a rather small part. A larger part is when the supplies are restricted (OPEC), in danger (various African nations), or whole new markets open up (China). That's causing the crunch much more than the ratio of SUVs vs Smart Cars on the road.

Anonymous said...

Francine DelMonte, 46, of Niagara Falls, was charged with loitering at 8:18 a.m. Thursday. DelMonte was walking on 19th Street Thursday morning and offered a motorist oral sex in exchange for money, according to the driver, who alerted police. DelMonte also was taken in on a warrant for a previous loitering charge.