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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lite News killed itself

Just as Wall Street made bets on bets with credit default swaps and then watched investors bolt, print journalism mass-produced gossip about gossip, and now sees its audience flee.
The whole thing is here.

Comments (10)

Considering the number of newspaper editors I've known who bullied both reporters and readers because they thought that they should be the centers of attention in the newspaper universe, I'm actually looking forward to the collapse. I was particularly "fond" of one such character who used to introduce himself "You, of course, know who I am, don't you?", and would throw tantrums if the answer was "No". He and another, who would start public vendettas against anybody who didn't give him the proper respect (as was joked in the Dallas journalistic community, "Having Fat Elvis's physique, Buddy Holly's glasses, and Phil Collins's hair won't make you a rock star"), are the type to blame everything else for why daily and weekly papers across the country are going under, when the one surefire way to make their papers better is for them to play Russian Roulette with an automatic.

That article is on the money.
And nice to see The Wire get a little plug. Soon, 50 people will have seen the greatest show ever broadcast.

The comparison is flawed because it implies two separate entities doing similar things, whereas Wall Street and the newspapers are all the result of the same oligarchy. A few people in charge of huge corporations have purchased the United States government, used their power to enrich themselves while running up tremendous risks, and are now using their power to have the United States government bail them out.
Control of the media was a necessary part of the coup and print newspapers fell into that. Independent newspapers like the Portland Tribune where I used to have a column, were controlled into fluffy submission by the manufactured public outcry if certain taboo subjects were touched upon.
Having no way to make newspapers required reading, or charge for their websites, the newspapers had to rely on their product. The public figured we get enough diluted brainwashing drivel for free - why pay for it?

The Internet is a shining beacon of light which is why the oligarchy is staying up late trying to think of ways to control it and ruin it too.

Freedom of information hangs in the balance and the situation gets more precarious everyday - precarious for us because we could turn on these computers one day, and have it be a completely different experience. Precarious for the powers that be because we could use these computers to spread the information that the oligarchs don't want you to have.

That's why these are treacherous times. The economic collapse is either an opportunity for us or them. Which will it be?
Based on the fact that the People of the United States have now been financially enslaved to keep the oligarchs from crumbling, the prognosis does not look good.

David Sirota isn't afraid to say the emperor has no clothes on. The No- news news paperspapers have long ago quit reporting and are just doing the bidding of government or Corp, whichever is hood-unwinking us at the moment.
Bill Mc Donald is on the money with his observation. Good-bye big O and good riddance.
Let us hope Internet stays free and under no obigation of Government nor big business...probably not going happen.

Long time ago reporters were working people, then they became journalist, a profession and became smarter than the rest of us in the process. Since they were smarter they didn't have to work as hard and we were to accept what they wrote. It just was.

Fine example if I may. A few years ago there was a bit of press over a report from the Institute for Medicine regarding the number of deaths annually from medical errors. The Big "OH!" carried an article on the front page, but how many follow up stories did they run on Oregon hospitals? None that I recall which is significant given that the numbers from the Institute for Medicine were something like between 44,000 and 100,000 annually. Those numbers suggest that there are between 500 and 1000 annually, or more in Oregon.

The Journalist don't have time to dig into issues, so we should just accept the point that the issue is not important.

It's true that corporatized newspapers degraded their product in the last 20 years, chasing after lofty stock-option enhancing quarterly reports. No doubt about it. But look around this culture; you really think the masses are interested in reading investigative reports? I'm not buying it.

Would you settle for newspapers covering the news? Instead we had fake news - President Bush using taxpayer money to pay newspaper columnists to spread PR.
Here's how I think it works: The oligarchs have a direction that they want government to follow. They give Congress and the White House their orders partly in exchange for campaign contributions but also in exchange for not being destroyed in the media.
The public is merely there as the worker ants who get stuck with the bill. The media is helpful in selling any message to them, but it's mainly there to dazzle them with whether or not Britney is wearing panties.
This TARP bailout was a gigantic opportunity to see the real power at work here.
Congress voted it down, so the oligarchs took it back and ordered them to vote yes.
Along the way, Henry Paulson stipulated that the money would be dished out by him to whomever he wanted with no oversight by Congress or the courts. In effect we were just here to provide the 700 billion to him. The people who used our government to make the mess, were now using our government to save their asses. It's hard not to say that this makes them in charge of America.
Now the stipulation of complete power by Paulson was changed to some congressional oversight but considering Congress works for the oligarchs that's no big deal. We still don't know who got the money.
Henry could have given his kid a thousand soccer stadiums and we would never be able to do a thing. The nearest anyone can figure out is that the people who got the money were those who Paulson knew from Wall Street and the Goldman Sachs days.
Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has managed to investigate this. You can read his article for free online. It's called "The Big Takeover." If you don't know who Joe Cassano is, you should read this just for that.
I doubt if the remaining newspapers will be printing any excerpts.

David Sirota is one of the finest policy wonks around, but I'm not buying his argument on the demise of newspapers. He seems to think there was an era in American journalism when the news media did a better job than they do today.

When I was in J-school 40 years ago, the media gave LBJ a pass on the Vietnam War for several years before events in 1968 forced it to reconsider and start truly covering the enormity of that war. Shortly afterward, reporters routinely genuflected before Henry Kissinger as if he were the pope of foreign policy. Sure, there was a spate of investigative reporting after Watergate, but mostly because newspaper publishers figured investigative reporting would increase readership. Eventually, the investigations got more trivial and even silly, devolving into "gotcha" journalism. But it was always so. You ever see the movie "The Front Page" (aka "His Girl Friday" in the best version, starring Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant)? That script was written in the twenties.

The failure of papers today isn't so much one of content, but of resources. Newspapers are owned by large conglomerates and often were acquired through highly leveraged transactions. I've seen studies that show newspaper readership is increasing, but the costs of doing business are increasing faster--especially the cost of paying off the loans used to finance the purchase of the paper. And ad revenue is not keeping pace. So papers first reduced their font size because it reduces the amount of paper used, paper being their number one cost. Then they slashed budges everywhere else, including the number of reporters and editors they employ.

By the way, the City Club is having a panel discussion on this very topic on Friday, April 17.

One of my foremost heroes, George Seldes, was a fearless journalist who quickly found out that writing unpleasant things about major advertisers (department stores were the leading advertisers of the day when he began) was a sure route to extinction as a reporter.

Some of his books, many of which contain his outrage about the press's failure to do its job without fear or favor:

# Witness to a Century: Encounters with the Noted, the Notorious, and the…

# You can't print that!: The truth behind the news, 1918-1928

# Lords of the press

# Sawdust Caesar;: The untold history of Mussolini and fascism

# Facts and fascism

# Even the Gods Can't Change History: The Facts Speak for Themselves

# Freedom of the press

# You can't do that

# Never Tire of Protesting

# 1000 Americans: The Real Rulers of the U.S.A.

# The people don't know;: The American press and the cold war

# Witch hunt; the technique and profits of redbaiting

# The Facts Are...: A Guide to Falsehood and Propaganda in the Press....

# Iron, blood and profits;: An exposure of the world-wide munitions racket

# Tell the truth and run

Great piece here, another example of why we won't have the archaic media to kick around much longer: their complicity with torture and refusal to challenge the Bush Torture gangsters:


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