Major left-wing newspapers (is there any other kind?) are beginning to crumble from coast to cost... and I am only slightly saddened.
The wages of sin is death.
- Last October the Christian Science Monitor ceased publication and went entirely web-based, the only possible alternative.
- The venerable 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News is on life-support and up for sale, which means it will fold because no one in their right mind would buy a newspaper these days.
- The Tribune Co., which owns eight major daily newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun, plus a string of local TV stations is filing for bankruptcy.
- And now the New York Times, the first paper that comes to mind when listing those that endanger the lives of our troops, reveal national defense secrets and provide aid and comfort to our enemies, has borrowed $225 million against its mid-Manhattan headquarters building "to ease a potential cash flow squeeze."
Like dinosaurs, newspapers didn't see the end coming--the rise of the internet as a news destination and their arrogance didn't allow them to realize that two-thirds of the the country hated them for their bias.
Since the 1960s these papers and dozens more like them in every state of the union have tried to run and ruin the country, by creating news, and engaging in "advocacy journalism", favoring any liberal over any conservative.
It has been a long time since any thinking person actually trusted what was contained in much of the Times' reportage.
There never has been "objective journalism". It's not possible as long as reporters are humans. But there was a time when journalism was "fair". I just got in on the tail end of the era when newspapering was still a proud profession in the early 70s. It was still "fair" because there were white-haired and bald guys who had seen WWII personally in the editors' seats.
I began meeting a daily deadline for a living in 1973 (years earlier if you count working for and editing the Fresno State daily student paper with a circulation of 26,000). I was a true believer that a newspaper's purpose, as Finley Peter Dune wrote than 100 years ago, was to "comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable...."
I believe that "The Fourth Estate" had a critical, constitutionally-protected role to play in the balance of power in this nation. A watchdog to watch for wolves.
At that duty, newspapers have miserably failed.
By the time I got to FSU my peers were flocking to journalism schools because of Watergate and Woodward and Bernstein, and every peace love hippy dippy liberal do-gooder who wanted to "change the world" (sound familiar?) actually believed that as "journalists", despite first-rate callowness and chutzpa, only they stood between the Constitution and a fascist state.
Everything became "investigative reporting"... only a child of the 60s would come up with such redundant and idiotic descriptor for their job. Everything became "gotcha", instead of careful, well-written stories... the "first, rough draft of history."
And somewhere along the line newspapering was declared a "profession". Hogwash, reporting is a trade, like plumbing or surveying. I can teach a reasonably intelligent high school student to write and inverted pyramid story in a couple of hours.
There are good writers who are not good reporters, and their are good reporters who cannot write to save their ass. Both, nonetheless can do a good job; ironically this is the way the Washington Post's famous Watergate reporters worked... Bernstein, the tough kid who joined the Post as a copy boy in his teens, did the reporting while Woodward, the Ivy League silver spooner did the writing.
Tens of thousands tried to emulate them.
And shepherded along for the last forty years by this legion of "journo-Americans", we have become a socialist state; they helped put this country in the hole it currently occupies, yet they keep digging.
Instead of "afflicting the comfortable" they worked from an "enemies' list"... ironically borrowed from their arch enemy, Dick Nixon. Their list included Christians, conservatives, the military, guns, chastity, capitalism, centuries-old social norms, monogamy, modesty, sobriety, and highest on the list---protecting unborn babies.
Newspapers, admonished to "afflict the comfortable", instead packed newsrooms with reporters based on race and gender often without regard for talent, temperament or resume.
This was most widely practiced in television "journalism" where looks mean far more than anything else. I can visit any city in the US and see the same "news team" designed by a committee... one black anchor (extras points if the black anchor is female), one female anchor (extra points of the female is Hispanic or Oriental), a wacky and usually plump weatherman or a sexy weatherwoman.
Just to push the point everyone in the newsroom who mentions the name of any Spanish surnamed reporter must pronounce the name of Margarita de la Garza-Guitierrez as if they were working in Mexico City.
But in my generation, none of this is racial and gender bias... it's "affirmative action".
Whatever happened to "the best candidate for the job"?
That doesn't matter to those who swallow hook, line, and sinker the socialist/ communist line of a Utopian workers' paradise where all things are "equal."
The story of Jayson Blair is instructive:
Blair, a hot shot, 27-year-old black NYT reporter, brought along as one of Editor Howell Raines' pet projects was finally found to have written scores of news stories that he simply made up. He actually claimed to have been in other states, meeting sources and conducting interviews when he was writing form home or in a coffee shop.
In a post-firing investigation and unprecedented, lengthy expose on itself, the Times revealed that at one stretch Blair had fabricated least 36 of the 73 articles he'd written.
The paper's astounding response:
''Our paper has a commitment to diversity and by all accounts he appeared to be a promising young minority reporter,'' Raines said. ''I believe in aggressively providing hiring and career opportunities for minorities.''
And even after Raines resigned under pressure, another editor insisted, "For strong reasons both of journalism and justice, [the Times is] committed to deploying a diverse news-gathering staff. We believe the paper must not turn from that commitment."
Truth, responsibility, fairness, ethics? No, the first order of business in modern day journalism is social engineering... first them, and then you.
As these leftists such as Howell rose through the ranks, they became editors and publishers and went from slanting the occasional story when they thought they could get away with it to using their higher position to literally change and alter coverage and assignments, spike stories and protect their political allies by simply not printing the truth.
"Bush lied, people died."
"Bush was a draft dodger."
Washington D.C. elected.. twice... a crack-head; the NYT and its progeny did nothing to condemn such shameful situation or even express national outrage.
I'll admit I get nostalgic about my newspaper days; The smell of ink and newsprint, the hum of the presses, the bad coffee and cigarette smoke, the intensity, the sirens, police and fire scanner chatter, the arguments and the stress of deadlines, and above all... "getting it right."
Seems like just a dream.