Owners of Palm Beach Post wave white flag, want conservative site

The news is out, and it’s stunning. Even in the publishing industry, just desserts can have their day in the sun.

Evidence has emerged that The Palm Beach Post is slipping further in circulation and influence. It’s scrambling to be competitive, even as its credibility wanes among its readership.

According to a recent report, The Post’s owner, Cox Media Group, is launching a “news website for conservative audiences.” It’s “rooted in the South” and seeks to be the “voice for heartland conservatives.”

Drink that in for a moment.

OK, OK, tone down the chortling.

What we have here is delicious irony. The same paymasters for Post Editorial Page Editor Randy Schultz and his crew are creating a new online news organization that will serve up a brand of news and insight that will be the very opposite of the liberal claptrap put out over the years by the Schultz crowd, and sometimes in the news sections.

Just as relevant is Cox’s non-stated admission that it has missed the boat, that a massive market for conservative news exists. In Palm Beach County, this is a market of perhaps 40 percent or more of the population the Post has ignored or thumbed its nose at for 25 years.

As online writer Jose Lambiet notes, “It is a stunning reversal for Cox [which has] turned off thousands of conservative readers.”  Lambiet, a former Post columnist, goes on to point out that this rejection of conservative readers “translated into steep declines in circulation and influence, and therefore revenues.”

This news must be a bitter pill for Schultz to swallow. It can be persuasively argued that Schultz is a being from a former age, an anachronism of the 1960s counterculture. He grew up in, but never grew out of, an era when journalism schools preached the evils of the “military-industrial complex” and laid out the mantra that business owners were the greedy enemy and predator of the poor little consumer. Schultz got hooked and has marched to that drummer all his years at The Post.

Cox’s move to target a conservative audience validates what BizPac Review is all about, and it confirms that BPR and other conservative sites are making headway against The Post’s liberal political agenda.

John R. Smith

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company.

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