Friday, July 04, 2008

A good start ...

... for the Fourth of July: Save the Press.

The function of newspapers - in theory at least - is to keep the citizenry informed. If that can be done without newspapers - and I suspect it can - the notion that the demise of newspapers will present a threat to democracy is false. Moreover, newspapers throughout history have tended to be partisan. Did the Hearst and Pulitzer papers really serve the nation well? As for "the wire services and other factories of honest fact-gathering," people like Michael Totten and Bill Roggio and others have gathered facts online as well as anybody you can name. In otherw ords, newspapers have never been the wondrous impartial purveyors of fact they like to tout themselves as.
That said, only a fool would cheer their passing. There is plenty of blame to go around. Knight-Ridder, the former chain that I once worked for, down-sized for sure, but they never got the point that downsizing was meant to cut waste so resources could be properly allocated. Everything the honchos at K-R did was for one reason and one reason only: to keep the stock price as high as they could get it. Newsroom managers now seem to be imprisoned in some Woodward and Bernstein-invented Brigadoon. Let your paper be run by a bunch of unimaginative philistines and you get what you deserve.

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