Why Our Approach is Different

Reagan Reed: Editor, Texas Citizen Journal

This week the Texas Citizen Journal published its 100th article. Since launching back in February, the positive feedback and support has been incredible. I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you who has read, liked, or shared my articles. It’s always amazing to think that there are actually people out there who read what I have to write and like it enough to pass it on, and it makes me happy that you find value in what I am doing.

In honor of reaching 100 articles, I wanted to reflect back on why I started the Texas Citizen Journal, how it differs from most other media sources, and why you should read it and hopefully join the effort to promote honest and factual reporting from a right-of-center perspective.

So why start another news website? In this age of media proliferation, there are already so many different outlets: why is there a need for yet another? I started Texas Citizen Journal because I believe there is a void in the news media today.

On the one hand, you have the mainstream or legacy media giants. There is no question that this country’s mainstream media has an obvious and often overt left-wing bias. In the battle for the court of public opinion, whoever gets to frame the debate and set the terms of engagement usually wins. This can obviously make it very difficult for conservatives. However, every conservative knows this, so I will won’t spend any more ink on this point.

Offering itself as an alternative to the left leaning mainstream media, an entire right-wing media ecosystem has emerged in the last few decades. Starting with FOX News and talk radio in the 90s, right-wing mass media has exploded in the internet age as social media has allowed pretty much anyone to circumvent the traditional gatekeepers and broadcast their content to the people (for better or for worse).

However, I have become increasingly dissatisfied and even disgusted by much of what passes for “conservative” media these days. A lot of right-wing media is very tabloid-esque, click-baity , and agenda driven. Social media has only made these tendencies worse, incentivizing right-wing media outlets to sensationalize their stories and stoke maximum outrage in order to get more clicks. They increasingly pander to their audiences, only telling them what they want to hear rather than reporting all the facts in a truthful and fair manner.

Much of right-wing media is also extremely partisan, a trend that has only worsened in the age of Trump. Love him or hate him, there is no question he is a polarizing figure who has contributed to the polarized atmosphere of our politics. I think it’s unfortunate that Trump and those in the MAGA movement are never (or very rarely) criticized in right-wing media, while those outside the MAGA tribe are demonized. (Of course this exists in reverse, to an extent, in leftist mainstream media). Intellectual honesty is hard to come by. Few will just call balls and strikes, giving credit where credit is due and thoughtful criticism where criticism is due.

It is human nature to seek out information that confirms what you already believe. Most people tend to filter everything through this confirmation bias, accepting as fact that which fits their preconceived narrative, and ignoring or suppressing everything that doesn’t. Social media’s algorithms make this worse by feeding you more posts similar to ones you have interacted with or liked.

As a result of all this, most Americans live in a bubble. It is the job of a good journalist, or for that matter any intellectually honest person, to break that bubble and get to the facts.

Now I make no secret in my writing where I am coming from ideologically. We all have biases, no matter how hard we strive to be objective. Philosophically, I am a conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, and William F. Buckley. In fact, Buckley and National Review are the role models for conservative journalism I am seeking to emulate.

But what are we conserving? Classical liberalism, which was the fundamental ideology of the American founding. Free markets, free trade, civil liberties, limited government, rule of law, and a healthy respect for the instrumental role that religion and tradition play in society.

However, as an adherent of traditional American conservatism, I am most certainly not a right-wing populist. The right-wing populism that has taken over much of the “conservative” movement is actually very un-conservative in almost every way. They have no problem with big government- as long as they’re the ones who get to control it. So much of the right has abandoned principle and just embraced a mindless pugilism. “Owning the libs” and stoking outrage and fear gets you more clicks than making thoughtful and well-reasoned arguments based on conservative principles, so very few are making those arguments.

That is the void the Texas Citizen Journal is seeking to fill. I reject both the left leaning bias of the mainstream media and the “own the libs”, sensationalism, and downright intellectual dishonesty that has consumed so much of right-wing media. The goal is to do battle with the ideas of the left, but at the same time, not be afraid to call out those on the right when they fall short. Texas Citizen Journal will also never entertain for one moment unhinged conspiracy theories or speculative conspiratorial thinking.

The mission of the Texas Citizen Journal is to provide truthful, fact-based reporting, and thoughtful, well-reasoned, intellectually honest commentary that is informed by conservative principles.

If you are a conservative, you should read Texas Citizen Journal because I will never pander or just tell you what you want to hear. I respect you too much not to be intellectually honest with you. I will strive to always give the facts, even if they don’t always fit our preconceived biases.

If you are a liberal, you should also read Texas Citizen Journal. You should seek out news outside the mainstream media bubble that likely feeds into your own confirmation bias. Even if you disagree with everything you read here, Texas Citizen Journal strives to articulate the best and most well-reasoned arguments from the conservative position. We may not always see eye to eye, but I hope you can at least appreciate that we are arguing in good faith unlike the intellectually lazy “own the libs” stuff you will find in most right-wing media.

Finally, I would just like to say that I believe journalism is ultimately a service to the community. There is always room for improving that service, and I welcome any and all feedback, advice, thoughts, and constructive criticism. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers. But I promise to always have an ear to listen and respect what you have to say. My contact information is at the bottom of most articles, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!

So if you appreciate intellectual honesty, conservative ideas, facts, and the search for truth, I invite you to come alongside me on this journey. I believe that by improving the public discourse, we can make our county, state, and nation a better place. Thanks for reading the Texas Citizen Journal!

Truth is a demure lady, much too ladylike to knock you on your head and drag you to her cave. She is there, but people must want her, and seek her out. -William F. Buckley

Questions? Comments? Thoughts? We want to hear from you! Contact the editor by email at reaganreednews@gmail.com or by phone at 936-777-0743.

Published by Reagan Reed

Reagan is a journalist and educator from East Texas. He has been involved in numerous campaigns, worked at the Texas Legislature, and covered Texas politics for years as a journalist.

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