I do not feel any pity for Newspapers. They have done it to themselves. Gone are the days of the Muckrakers and the "yellow press". Gone are the journalists. The Jack Andersons of yesteryear were replaced long ago by the Judith Millers. Even Bob Novak sold his soul(what little he had) for access to the White House. Newspapers are irrelevant.
So what if the Chicago Tribune has a decline in sales....what news is garnered from its pages? So what if I can subscribe and get the Sunday Trib and two weekdays for one dollar a week. What is the point? The news is already old by the time it is printed. And so what if the New York Times is having a cash-flow problem, aren't we all? Suck it up, the shills for this Administration should all feel the pain!
It is sad to watch an icon of American Tradition and History dissolve before our eyes. Peter Zenger would lament the loss. He might even protest that newspapers are necessary as the "watch dog" of Democracy and Liberty.
Well, that didn't work too well did it?
Newspapers Tried to reinvent themselves. They tried to be sensational and relevant. They tried the shocking expose on the eight year old heroin addict. Only to have that story condemned as a fake. A concoction of someone who was desperate for a "story", any story. There are no more journalists working on newspapers.
For years, as a teacher of reading, I would cut out articles, cartoons, headlines. I would focus on a word, a phrase, a theme. I wanted my students to be able to read the third to fifth grade reading material found in the paper. It was a treasure of vocabulary. Cartoon were perfect for teaching vocabulary and still are, but I don't notice the SAT words anymore like I used to. No more Calvin and Hobbs. Gone with Walt Kelly and Al Capp. But Peanuts is still there!
(Why did I spend so much time cutting out articles? Well, as a Reading Specialist, we didn't use textbooks....we used what the students would be using in real life. They had failed with the "textbook" and we didn't want to duplicate failed instruction, so we copied newspaper articles.)
But the newspapers, themselves, drove themselves out of business. Their features would be 2 or 3 pages of nothing. Just interview with a few heartbreaking stories and that would be it. Yes, it tugged at you and you felt sorry, but the punchline was usually the headline. Then you had two pages of filler with no resolution. Not even a call for action.
Then, there are the editorials. There is only so much of Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer and Jonah Goldberg that one can take. So why bother? And the rebuttal? Very rarely was anything said by these "lions" of the editorial page ever challenged.
If you replied or wrote a comment to one of these "saints" you'd get a reply back that would not so politely tell you to go off and die.I still treasure Wycliff's answer to his column praising Intelligent Design telling me that it was good that I was retired from teaching so I could go off and die. I rejoiced when I heard that he left the Tribune....but I felt sorry that he is now a Professor.
The damage that these newspapers has done is incalculable. They never challenge or refute anything. They never check the facts any more. They have become mouthpieces for the Administration and the Right Wing. The "I am an AMERICAN" jingoism was non-stop without recouse after 9/11 and into the Iraq War....where were the challenges?
The reason I write this today is because yesterday was the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. A preemptive attack to defend a nation. Americans now call it terrorism (a much over-used label). But the fact is, it was a preemptive strike to defend the nation of Japan, as were so many of the strikes in those early days of the War in the Pacific.
December 7 was the reason my father joined and went to war. It was my birthday, his own personal reminder of the time he spent in the service of his country. The War ended, like it should for any nation that engages in a preemptive strike....they lost. So where were the newspaper commentaries? Where was the retrospective? Where was the thank you to all those who became angry and enlisted to defend their country? The paens to the real heroes of the last century? No, once again, the Newspapers covered for this administration and failed to point out the obvious.
Which is why they have done it to themselves. The phony jingoism protecting a false and phony Administration that has done more than any other to subvert and destroy what this country stands for.
However, it is not like there is nothing to replace newspapers. There is the internet. The citizen journalists who don't miss anything and expose the lies by fact-checking everything.
As old as I now am, I love my internet and cannot do without my Daily Dose of news!