Reader Jerry Carroll emails:Glenn: I'm enjoying your glee over the death of newspapers. But what will replace them when they're gone? Think anybody is going to leave the comfort of their chair once a week to trudge to the city council and report on a blog what happened so the rest of us know? I see the time coming when there won't be anyone watching local government, and what we know will only be what it wants us to know.
It's not "glee." And, in fact -- as I've said repeatedly -- I think the reason that newspapers are tubing is that they're replaced the kind of hard-news reporting described above with editorializing and "attitude," often in support of political positions that many people don't agree with. I'd much rather see them flourish while doing a good job, but they've been cutting budgets for actual reporting for decades. Read Andy Krieg's Spiked: How Chain Management Corrupted America's Oldest Newspaper, to see how this trend was already underway twenty years ago. If you turn out a product whose quality is steadily declining, while simultaneously treating a substantial part of your customer base as somewhere between evil and idiotic, don't be surprised if your business gets worse. I've said for years that hard-news reporting is the killer app for Big Media, but they just don't want to do it. They want to tell people what to think, instead of telling them what's happening.
If you want an outstanding example of the attitude that newspapers are paying to dish out, how about this foam flecked insult by a NEWLY HIRED columnist - Donald Luzzatto -at the Virginian Pilot. Believe it or not, this is what the Pilot's management thought they needed to get us to re-new our subscriptions:
If you believe that a certain presidential candidate is the secret agent of a Belgian beer conglomerate, which even now is conspiring to steal Americans' precious bodily fluids and barley, I admire both your fantasy life and your knowledge of early Stanley Kubrick movies.
Now let's say you believe that the first man and woman were cooked up 15 minutes ago in a plasma oven by benevolent aliens from the Omega quadrant, and you want that creation story taught in school. Ah, now you've gone a bit too far. But nobody's likely to care, because you're crazy.
But say, instead, that you believe warnings about global climate change are some kind of elaborate lib'rul conspiracy hatched by Al Gore and the Trilateral Commission in a secret meeting around a bonfire fueled by Bibles. That it's all some distraction, so environmentalists can scuttle our cars and boats and air conditioners, and has nothing to do with a century of statistics or decades of scientific investigation.
You will not be fooled by something like "science" and "theories" and "facts." You will not bow down. Because you stand for freedom and right-thinking, you will do what any real American would: You will give more money to oil companies and make it harder for everyone to breathe. That'll teach 'em. That'll teach 'em all!
I suppose this is what passes for reason and debate designed to convince people in some universe inhabited by people who post at Daily Kos, but that's a free site that I can visit if I want to be insulted. But to pay to be ridiculed of by some j-school graduate who is practicing his meager creative writing skills by spoiling some perfectly good newsprint is ridiculous.
The poor airlines have the wit to try to fly while in bankruptcy by thanking you for flying the friendly skies. At least they don't spit in your coffee after serving it like this idiot is doing. If this is supposed to convince you that man is the cause of global warming, you may just be an editorial writer soon to be cut in the next downsizing.