James Taylor, who serves as the communications director for the conservative website Media Trackers, explained in a phone interview what he and his colleagues – two other writers in Florida – are trying to achieve.
Taylor, 46, oversees content in Florida.
“We’re a nonprofit, nonpartisan, conservative populist group that calls balls and strikes fairly, regardless of whether a person has an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ next to his name.
“We look to provide some conservative balance to the liberal establishment media. This can entail directly addressing newspaper articles that have a liberal bias, this can also entail us doing our own reporting on issues the establishment media chooses not to cover or simply misses. We’re also looking to hold elected officials accountable when they behave unethically. Finally we are looking to hold elected officials accountable when they claim to be conservative but govern as liberals.
Even though he is critical of the “liberal establishment media,” that’s how he starts his day.
“Personally I scour the media within Florida, which usually entails reading the web pages for the major news sites in the state, and if there is an article that strikes me as being inaccurate or biased with a leftist slant, that’s something that I think we try to correct the record. We also have a couple of other staffers, who have connections politically throughout the state who keep their eyes and ears open for issues that the media may be missing or reporting with a leftist bias.”
Taylor said finding and correcting what he sees as liberal media bias is his main focus. The South Florida correspondent, Tom Lauder, concentrates on investigative reporting. “Tom has his eyes and ears open. He’s well connected to folks. He gets many tips from people connected whit the South Florida political scene.”
“It’s valuable to have that mix of investigative reporting that catches people’s interest that’s eye opening,” he said.
Lauder has been active in the Republican Party.
Taylor, a senior fellow at the Libertarian-leaning Heartland Institute, writes a weekly column on global warming for Forbes.com and hosts “Inside Florida Politics” Saturday afternoons on a Tampa radio station.
Taylor said the partisan leanings aren’t the reason the site has been looking hard at South Florida Democrats.
And, he said, in South Florida, where Lauder is based, “Democrats rule the roost politically. There is more fodder for investigative journalism. And In South Florida, elected officials tend to behave more badly than they do in the rest of the state. From my perspective you have more of a Chicago-style political mentality than you see elsewhere in the state.”