Monday, February 5, 2007

Utah Policy Mitt Daily: Options are Available

I am conflicted about Utah Policy Daily’s Mitt Romney Watch. On the one hand, I realized long ago that UPD has a clear monopoly on the market of political information websites, and the fact that no other site exists to match it is a measure of its quality. I also understand I that if I am so concerned about bias in the coverage, I am perfectly free to either find political information on my own or make my own portal to complete with UPD. While other cities (Denver, for example) has created similar portals for news clippings and information based on variety of viewpoints, I would find beginning such an operation beyond my meager resources.

On the other hand, I find UPD’s coverage of Mitt Romney incredibly annoying. It is biased; there is no other way to say it. They cover the Romney campaign to the exclusion of every other presidential candidate, regardless of party. The fact that UPD’s influence has leeched into other local media sources, such as this weekend’s Tribune article on the Romney campaign, to believe that they have to cover the Romney campaign to the exclusion of other candidates is disturbing. While polls have indicated an early (our primary is a year out people!) lead for Romney among Utah voters, I believe most Utah politicos (the primary readership of UPD) would like information on other political candidates. I also believe the Romney supporters would somewhat care about what other candidates are doing, so they can mount responses.

That leaves us with a few options.

  • Stop reading UPD, perhaps boycotting until it makes serious changes to remove bias.
  • Start our own political information portal.
  • Start searching for our own political information on the web.
  • UPD should cover the actions of more potential presidential candidates.

UPD should stop covering news about potential presidential candidates unless it specifically relates to operations IN Utah or about the Utah presidential primary, with the exception of locally-produced articles in Utah news sources. This means ending the Mitt Romney Watch, and ending blogwatch coverage of non-Utah Romney blogging.

I would personally hope for the final option. It does put the onus on UPD producers to make serious changes, but I believe it also lessens the workload on them, as opposed to the fourth one, which would drastically increase it. The second and third options put the onus on me and like-minded readers (as few there may be) to replace it or its purpose. The first seems like a last resort, I hope it does not come to that level of disgust.

Today’s note on UPD was disturbing, and it crystallized my longstanding apprehension about the direction of UPD’s coverage. However, readers must realize that they have options, obviously not limited to the ones listed above, but limited as long we submit quietly to its bias.


Jesse said...

I'm sure Arizonans are sick to death of McCain mania too.

The simple fact is that Romney's a Mormon and the majority of Utahns are Mormons. Including his Utah ties via the 2002 Olympics, that makes him interesting news in this state to a pretty wide swath of the populace. I think the UPD coverage is a bit overboard (most of the articles seem to be one and the same), but it's not like it's not topical.

I'm just glad to see such a good aggregator of state and local political news. Some states just don't have that.

Part of the Plan said...

UPD is a commercial, for-profit organization and LaVarr is a Republican political consultant. Who's to say he is not on retainer already? It's his job, and he is very good at it. Personally, I am grateful that he bundles all the Romney stuff under the "Romney Watch" heading...makes it easier for me to ignore it.

Juniper said...

I hear you man! I posted on this very topic urging LaVarr to start a "Chris Dodd" watch...after all, his ties to Utah are pretty much as strong as Mitt's. Check out my post at and green jenni's comment about wanting to start a competitor that's just a little less biased. Who knows?