The latest example is his Batesline blast at the Tulsa World. When the paper announced 28 layoffs yesterday, Bates couldn't resist another editorial jab. The World (he spells it "Whirled," apparently unable to actually say the name) is in a "stall," Bates argued, because it's biased and out of touch.
According to Bates, the paper's tone-deaf management and editorial philosophy is the problem. The paper, Bates writes, needs "to acknowledge that their one-sided editorial section and the bias they've encouraged on the news pages have driven away readers." (There's more, but you get the point.)
Trouble is, Bates is wrong. It's not politics or bias that hurting the World, it's the economy.
Regardless of politics, newspapers everywhere are losing readers and advertising dollars, a fact that has a lot more to do with technology and the current economic downturn than politics or (perceived) bias.
As evidence, let's look at the Daily Oklahoman, a newspaper presumably more in tune with Bates and his fellow conservatives. If Bates were correct, the Oklahoman would be booming, adding readers and revenues.
Too bad, then, that the Oklahoman announced 150 layoffs just a few months back, a fact that contradicts the Bates argument. Too bad that KOTV Channel 6 and KTUL Channel 8 also recently downsized, more facts that undermine Bates.
Indeed, news organizations and media outlets locally and nationally have been hurt by the decline in ad dollars—and it has nothing to do with politics or bias. From Boston to Bozeman, the economy matters, which is exactly what the World said when it announced its layoffs.
Speaking of Bozeman, here's a statement from the Chronicle's publisher on their publishing environment:
I'm sure most folks are aware what a lousy year newspapers had in 2008. Declining ad revenues were fueled by a plummeting economy—reduced spending necessarily affects businesses ability to advertise. Weekly news of industry layoffs at metro papers and small ones alike clouded the pages. And the Chronicle was no exception….
Could that scenario apply to Tulsa? Sure. But Bates isn't really interested in hearing such arguments. Instead of facts and actual analysis, Bates trots out the same tiring rant against the World, mining the blogs for rumors and anti-conservative conspiracies.
In search of skulduggery (he's sure it's there somewhere), he ignores the most significant fact of all—the economy—and ends up on the wrong side of the facts.