Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Why journalism is dead

It takes a 4th grader to ask Condi a probing question about torture. None of the other "reporters" who have interviewed her since her original "it's not torture if the President says it's okay" statement asked her whether she agreed with torture or not, because that would have been "adversarial" -- why, they might have even been disinvited from her dinner parties in the future! It took a fourth grader.

I've earlier stated that the reason mainstream newspapers are dying is because of a self-inflicted wound -- they're simply not selling a product that the majority of people want. There are fewer newspapers sold today than when JFK was elected President of the United States in 1960, and that's not a coincidence, that is a steady drip-drip-drip of people deciding newspapers simply do not provide them with what they're looking for (which, for the most part, is truth -- not "he said she said" transcription of "he said the sky is blue, she said the sky is purple", which fails once issues become too complex to be immediately obvious). This is yet another example of Journalistic Fail. I think in the future we should just eliminate the whole White House press corpse and replace them with 4th graders. I suspect the end result will have more value. Which says a lot about the value of today's press corpse (sorry, Helen, but you're not typical today).

-- Badtux the News Penguin


  1. My Frosty Friend -

    You are right as far as you go. Let me go a step further. A lot of years ago I grew up in Santa Cruz, 'over the hill' from where you are, famous for its Boardwalk. But I noticed something in the 70s that's illustrative of the decay of journalism.

    If anything bad happened at the Boardwalk, a knifing or other street crime, it might make the San Jose Mercury, but not the Santa Cruz Sentinal. The local influence of the owners of the Boardwalk was enough to prevent any bad news.

    I believe that's a national policy as well, practiced by editors who are VERY sensative to the whims of the major source of revenue -paid advertising! (NOT subscribers)Banks - Drug Companies - Insurance Companies - can spend their money on TV advertising if the print media is unfriendly.

    Am I suggesting that most readers became aware of the 'censorship' that is SOP in the news business? No - but they were aware thet the coverage was & is anemic flat and useful to line the bottom of the penguin cage.

    Once the editor(s) were in bed with & beholden to the economic powers, the writers learned quick what would & would not pass. You can't get a Pulitzer for a great story that the editor won't print.

  2. Oh yes, I've run into that one before, my sunshine friend. At one Southern resort town where the city fathers believed themselves to be "progressive", the entire town was shut down one Sunday by a coalition of churches putting on a massive anti-abortion rally. This, however, did not correspond with the wishes of the city fathers (who wished to project the image of the city as caring and tolerant to the outside world in order to attract more movie and television companies to shoot movies and television shows there), so not a single local "news" outlet covered this protest despite the fact that it pretty much shut down the town for most of the day (the protest was all along the main street of the town for miles and miles, this was a town that, aside from the scenic historical district where television and movies were filmed, was one giant strip mall along the state highway).

    It's sometimes what they *don't* cover that is as telling as what they *do* cover...

    - Badtux the News Penguin

  3. "I think in the future we should just eliminate the whole White House press corpse and replace them with 4th graders."That's a good idea, I like it :)

  4. "it's not torture if the President says it's okay"

    She must have watched Frost v. Nixon the night before...

  5. Here's an interesting and true story about the print business and censorship. If you get home delivery, odds are it's from an 'independent contractor' who's a 'reseller' of the paper. This means he's not an employee and there's a variety of reasons (including gaming the circualtion) that's is good for the publisher. Even if you pay the paper, rather then the carrier, the publisher claims he's only acting as a bookkeeper of the funds that belong to the news carrier.

    Why does this matter? Back in the 60's a case went all the way to the US Supreme Court; a carrier raised the rates for home delivery beyond what the advertised rates were that the publisher set.

    The US Supreme Court determined that if the delivery person is an independent contractor, he can set his own rate for delivery. Period.
    See Albrecht vs Herald 1968.

    Bottom Line. The case went unreported in the media and despite the loss at the US Supreme Court level, newspapers did and have continued business as usual in violation of the law for decades.


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