Why are newspapers reducing the voice of the people to American Idol status, with SIMON Legree types comfortably yet precariously poised at the top kowtowing to whichever side provides the most revenue while encouraging on-lookers via sophomoric surveys to hoist thumbs up or down? BTW, don’t forget to pre-pay for your obituary.
Our currently raw wound of a divided country facilitates the selling of space to the most promising bidders who may be grasping their “30 pieces of silver” and top dollar lucrative offer in their fists. A facebook friend asked when local papers stopped reporting local news and when journalists stopped being allowed to be journalists for fear of lawsuits or personal repercussions and when balanced public opinion got hushed.
I wrote what I considered to be my final letter to any editor concerning those very questions last month, published in only two newspapers. Covering the waterfront of why print media interests number so few now, I concluded that rather than a moderate and fair stance, journalism has become opportunistic as it gasps its few last breaths while slouching toward unimpressed potential advertisers.
Prostitution has kicked in with a vengeance. Many papers allow letters to the editor and sometimes encourage them…but instant feed-back via the inter-net has degenerated this entire process into the damaging shout-fest atmosphere of a hate-filled talk radio show. Thinkers are not responding…extremist agendas are.
Feeling saddened that newspapers seemed to be experiencing death throes, I once wished to rush to their defense. Currently, I’ll be delighted to attend their funeral services. Hopefully, they’ll be able to pay for their own obituaries, one of the final hand-ful of reasons many of us ever bothered with inky newsprint in the first place and which now are unreliable cuz money talks and corpses can not.
Of particular concern is the self-professed “dumbing down” to condescend to a supposedly salivating public considered too un-intelligent to appreciate nationally syndicated columnists, AP & UPI news services providing up to the minute current affairs information, and fair forums representing all political persuasions and philosophies sans bias. These latter offerings would cost money, possibly decrease profits, and demand a work ethic other than laziness.
Duping the public by catering to the lowest common denominator, as judged by winking publishers and editors, and slanting/spinning any news or special interest columns to appeal to a vocal, domineering few disappoints as duplicitous and deceptive behavior.
If this unfortunate state of affairs weren’t so irresponsible, self-serving, money-grubbing and frightening, it might be the hilarious fodder for a Marx Brothers movie. However, this industry totters on the brink of failure and will do anything to stay afloat, robbing US of our right to subscribe to the news we need to know, not simply want to know. That does not bode well for our country, and newspapers ought to be folded up, after, all, and finally “put to bed”. Without their supper.
If you’re the type to pray, then ask for this. Good Lord, please assure “net neutrality” advocated by former SNL comedian, Air America host, and currently deadly serious U. S. Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken. He’s not joking when he emphasizes to listening constituents that our system of fair and crucial reporting of information, which we all need to survive, is in serious jeopardy. Print journalists have not risen to that occasion as they take greedy advantage of the public at a most crucial time in our history. Nighty night, Fourth Estate. Don’t let the bed-bugs bite. Our future security exists on computer monitors where fair, globally oriented exchanges occur and each of us have a voice, not just the brass knuckles of corporate America, special interests, and institutions which enjoy tax-free status. Hopefully, the party’s over. We extend our sympathies though to those cute little newspaper carriers who pedaled around our neighborhoods and will always remain a quaint part of our Norman Rockwell past. (30)