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Dense LA reporter feeds distrust of media

If the attitudes expressed by the Monroe News-Star’s/USA TODAY Network’s Greg Hilburn stand in for those generally of the media, then it’s no surprise why the election and presidency of Pres. Donald Trump and the actions of the Republican legislative majorities in Louisiana flummox them.

Only the Gannett folks thought it newsworthy enough to report about the election of state Rep. Tony Bacala as vice chairman of the Republican Legislative Delegation. Undoubtedly Bacala rose to prominence for his proposals to restrain inefficient government spending, such as bills asking for minimal Medicaid patient responsibility and ending the counterproductive Earned Income Tax credit, and other measures like eliminating vacancies in state government to capture the savings.

Conservative policy prescriptions like these resonate with large minorities, if not with majorities, in Louisiana’s center-right electorate. But not to Hilburn, who characterized Bacala’s ascension as “tightening the far right's grip on the lower chamber.” One wonders if there’s some swastika tattooed on Bacala’s somewhat glabrous pate about which only Hilburn knows, or perhaps he has seen Bacala flash some alt-right signs or gear that has escaped everybody else, to explain how he could write something so opinionated in a news story.

So Bacala (and probably just about every member of the GOP delegation) believes in things like smaller government, lower taxes, freedom to exercise religious belief, gun rights, protecting the unborn, etc., and Hilburn tags someone with those issue preferences as “far right?” So what does he call the agenda of Democrat state Sen. Karen Peterson, head of her state party and official of its national version, who wants to raise taxes particularly on anybody earning something like 400 percent of more of the federal poverty limit, to have cradle-to-grave government requiring intimate control over people’s lives and thoughts, to gut First Amendment protections of religion by adherence to a secular religion, to institute a government monopoly on guns, and to make available abortion on demand? Mainstream?

If any of my colleagues at the Advocate or the rest of the Louisiana media share that thought – and chances are they are more likely to do so than think about politics the way Bacala does – at least they have the good sense not to be so obtuse as Hilburn and recognize Bacala’s views don’t represent some extreme deviation on the American ideological spectrum, much less that one present in Louisiana. Similarly informed readers find Hilburn’s description so utterly at odds with reality that it immediately discredits whatever he writes and feeds the perception of a media so utterly biased that the public can’t trust anything they disseminate.

There’s a reason why, as underwater as Trump might be among the public at this time, that it trusts the media even less – the attitude displayed in their copy by reporters such as Hilburn.

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