The San Antonio Express News has published 3 opinion editorials and one letter to the editor in the past month, and they are all negative about payday loans.  This leads me to two thoughts.  The first is how slow must the news in San Antonio be to do this many opinions editorials on payday loans?  You’d think the readers of the paper would be getting bored by now of the same old talk about payday loans.  That triggered another thought: why is the opinion editorial board so up in arms over payday lending?

Is it because they have done all the research and really think it is so awful that it deserves three op-eds?  Is it because they haven’t done all the research and still think it’s so awful it deserve three op-eds?  Or is there some kind of ideological bias at work?

I know a lot of people on the political right believe the mainstream media is biased to the left in a very big way.   I can see why they may come to that conclusion.

But I don’t think that’s the case here.

I think that the good folks at the op-ed board at this newspaper are probably pretty frazzled with their jobs and simply don’t have the time or energy to do the heavy lifting when it comes to deep-diving into a subject.  It can’t be easy being on an op-ed board.  You have to have an opinion on everything.  For all I know, half the board took December off and some poor fellow got stuck writing all the op-eds that month and decided to make it easy on himself.

But seriously…

I’ve already written that the media, especially newspapers, like the “evil payday loan” angle because it gets people emotionally involved in a sensational story.  I think they do some quick research on payday lending, find a nice friendly sounding nonprofit (The “Center for Responsible Lending”, whoever they are, except that they hate payday loans.  In fact, I think they hate lending of every kind), and stop when they get to “390% APR”.   There!  Job’s done.  Anything with a 390% APR can’t be good.  Therefore it must be bad.  That’s the story.   Period.

I really don’t think they go any further.  And why would they?  They’re busy.  They probably have never even heard of payday lending until they first look into it, since something like only 3-4% of the population even uses the loans.

So I think somebody should shake the op-ed board awake and let them know there’s a way more interesting story going on than meets the eye.

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