The Conventional Wisdom is that the newspaper industry is failing due to the internet. Wrong.
Because of this mis-perception, post-operative brain donor Rep Henry Waxman (D, CA – of course), now wants the government to manage the media, help “tweak” its failing business model, etc. Because “quality journalism was essential to U.S. democracy.”
First – if the newspapers and newsweeklies delivered “quality journalism” they wouldn’t be in trouble.
Second – how, exactly, does a news organization managed by the Feds accurately report on the Feds? (They can’t for you Democrats reading this blog). Why will we need a First Amendment if the government is running the news? The USSR had no First Amendment for Pravda, right? (That’s OK – the Dems don’t like the First Amendment, anyway… or the Second… or any others, as a matter of FACT… Democrats can’t have ‘subjects’ with all that freedom and liberty now, can they? If they really knew what was going on and had a voice, they’d be “citizens” and want rights and freedom and liberty – and would accept responsibility. These things are anathema to the Left.)
Third – the CW on the loss of readership is COMPLETELY wrong. People aren’t leaving the “news”papers and “news”weeklies because of the internet. The internet news rose primarily BECAUSE of the failure of what has come to be known as the Mainstream Media (MSM) (or Lamestream Media, or State Controlled Media).
As in any industry, if something becomes just too expensive, alternative solutions are found. Intelligent people just found that they lacked the time to read the nonsense now published in the MSM – i.e. it became too expensive of their time – so they went for the alternative: the internet. Consequently traditional “news” outlets are failing.
Another major unaddressed problem in the fall of the MSM is what I call the loss of “impulse reading”.
Just as “impulse buying” makes up a large portion of retail sales – those little items you see at the store when you go to get something else, but decide you just MUST have – when turning the pages of a newspaper one often sees an item with an interesting head and reads it – but never would have gone looking for the item, subject, area, whatever: “Impulse reading.”
The loss of this has resulted in a huge loss of general knowledege of the world about us. When going to the web for news, all of us go straight to our preacher to be preached to our choir. “Impulse reading,” and the additional wider knowledge that went with it, is just gone.
And it’s the fault, again, of the bias of the MSM.
I ran a multi-million-dollar project several years ago at the LA Times to automate several still-manual functions having to do with Classifieds. I am very well aware of the issues surrounding Classifieds, regionalization, web-competition from one of the nation’s major dailies. I grew-up reading the paper. I have learned much about world and local issues – and done an immense amount of “impulse reading.” Indeed, it’s where I can up with the phrase.
But I’m now raising kids. As they grow and mature I’d like for them to have access to news that can be read casually, to stories of major import nationally and internationally, and to develop the “impulse reading” trait.
But I won’t have the LA Times in my house. We’ve tried it a couple of times over the past decade-and-a-half, but one can’t even FIND a “straight news” story above the fold that is not imbued with bias.
So – no LATimes in my house – my kids’ minds are too important to be propoagandized with the biased nonsense they print, masquerading as “news.” (The NY Times is even worse. Here’s an example.)
It’s difficult to have Newsweek, USN&WR, or Newsmax in the house, either… all are biased. This failure of the MSM can leave a dearth of general knowledge and a requirement to find other ways to ensure the kids know about the world into which they are growing.
It’s not as though they will be taught what’s going on in the world in public schools, right?
Everything read must be dissected and discussed to ensure an understanding of bias, to ensure the reader arrives at a conclusion of what really happened – so they can develop their own opinions and knowledge base.
But make no mistake, the loss of major newspapers, and of “impulse reading,” is a loss to the entire society.