Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The disconnect

Fewer people read newspapers today than when John F. Kennedy was President. Why does newspaper circulation continue to decline? Well, free market economics has an answer to that: Newspapers no longer provide a product that citizens want.

What citizens want is the truth. They want to know what's true and what's not true. They want to know who is lying and who is telling the truth. Newspapers are failing utterly at this job. Indeed, they view it as not their job at all. I once got into an argument with a newspaper editor about that -- "you know that Joe Politician is lying out his ass, why do you print his lies?" The newspaper editor responded, "it's not my job to tell whether he's lying or not, it's my job to accurately report what he said."

Yep, you got it. Newspaper editors view their job as transcriptionists to power -- not truth. You see, if they didn't report Joe Politician's lies, someone else would, and we can't have that, can we? And if they reported that in fact Joe Politician was lying, that e.g. Darth Cheney talking up al Qaeda/Saddam connections was utterly nonsense according to all reputable experts, that would be "analysis" and not "news" and thus not their business. But the problem is, truth is what the citizenry seek. And if they don't get it from their newspapers, they will get it from elsewhere -- maybe an elsewhere that doesn't have the resources of newspapers, or that has an agenda other than the truth.

Meanwhile, all the newspapers are talking about how Admiral Fallon "resigned". Yeah sure, he resigned. He resigned in much the same way that someone standing on the edge of a cliff with a gun held to his back "voluntarily jumped". This is a hatchet job to clear the way for an attack on Iran, an attack that Admiral Fallon opposed mightily. So why don't the newspapers mention this? Well, that'd be "analysis". Not "news". They view their job as accurately transcribing the words of people of power, all of whom are saying that Admiral Fallon voluntarily resigned, rather than viewing their job as being "truth". But truth is what people seek. Is it any wonder that, with newspapers failing to provide what people want, people do what people always do in a free market economy -- go look elsewhere for what they want?

-- Badtux the Free Market Penguin


  1. I hate it when we agree about this sort of shit.
    Take two flippers of whiskey and call me in the morning.

  2. Hello, Mr Penguin.
    The sad fact of the matter is that even the MSM's analysis isn't trustworthy.

    I spent last September in a little town close to the Colorado border. I could get the local news from Wichita, Oklahoma City, or Amarillo. After about a week, I figured out it was all the same.
    A sad awakening for this old news junkie... :(

  3. Well, of course they do a lousy job at analysis, PT. They don't view it as their job. Nobody does a good job at something they don't view as their rightful job.



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