A columnist in our daily newspaper bemoaned the loss of his colleagues as the corporation whittled down some employees last week. Using the paper’s motto, give light and the people will find their own way, he decried how the light had dimmed in Memphis with this new round of layoffs.
He went on to say that the digital age has contributed to it. His kids prefer Jon Stewart and NPR. Even he reads the New York Times on his Kindle and keeps track of sports scores on a website. What can you expect in the new age we’re in?
Technology has not doomed the newspaper business. The newspaper business has doomed the newspaper business. There is really no reason why the two can’t live together. They aren’t because print journalists have forgotten what they are about, abetted by their editors.
First, they’ve lost people because they slant everything. As former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg says, they are so deep into the propaganda, they don’t even realize their doing it. Or at least some of them don’t. They pick what they want to cover. There are many events that occur in this city, but if it leans conservative, they ignore it. That’s one way to slant the news. Our events and opinions are not wanted. This happened recently to State Senator Brian Kelsey. He asked to write an op ed on the judicial election vote, got an OK, then found out they didn’t publish it. Do they think we don’t notice?
Another tactic is to attend something and then take quotes out of context. If you attended the Lincoln Day Dinner on the occasion when RNC Chairman Michael Steele was guest speaker, you heard and saw a very different event than what got covered in the newspaper. And if anyone has been involved in some news event that has been covered, many of them don’t even recognize it when it shows up in the paper. And they think we don’t notice?
Then there is the newspaper’s tone. There is always an injection of intellectual snobbery in it. If you’re Tea Party, you’re dumb and raaacist. If you’re against smart meters, you’re against progress. If you question Common Core, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Take today’s front page. They characterize amendment 1 on limiting abortion by recounting how women in other states are rallying to preserve women’s interests. “Yes vote would give legislature more oversight” the headline reads, as if this were a bad thing! Do they think we don’t notice?
Then there is the problem of audience. The CA would like everyone to be enlightened liberals as they are, so they preach to their own. You wonder how many conservative letters get selectively tossed during a week. They’ve also been chasing the black audience with articles praising black achievement. That’s fine enough, but they pander shamelessly. And all this pandering has not raised their circulation at all. It appears there is only one acceptable type of multiculturalism. And they think we don’t notice?
The columnist then turns Cassandra. “Fewer journalists means less information, less context and perspective, less understanding,” he says. Except that there are new journalists on the internet that give plenty of information, plenty of context and perspective. You can do your own understanding. He may not consider them journalists, but if they are covering something fairly and accurately, aren’t they? I’m thinking of Andrew Breitbart, Matt Drudge, Gateway Pundit and the Powerline guys who broke Rathergate? Do they think we don’t notice?
People at the CA didn’t cry when their afternoon competitor, the Press Scimitar, folded. Perhaps had it continued, the news competition in this city would have kept journalists honest. Now they get to feel their own loss.
The light may be dimming for the CA, but it is getting brighter in other places. The newspaper business just refused to notice, but we did.