Thursday, December 11, 2008

The decline of local newspapers...

John Gapper writes, "Many American journalists, facing job losses and the death of an industry they loved, regard it as a tragedy not just for them but for society. They fear that television, radio and blogs can never replace what newspapers provided for readers." And what exactly would that be?

In a meeting with communications specialists in the United States, Pope John Paul II explained that, "...the Church recognizes the need for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, just as does your Constitution. But she goes further. Rights imply corresponding duties. The proper exercise of the right to information demands that the content of what is communicated be true and - within the limits set by justice and charity - complete (see Inter Mirifica, No. 5). Your very profession invites you to reflect on this obligation to truth and its completeness. Included here is the obligation to avoid any manipulation of truth for any reason. This manipulation in fact takes place when certain issues are deliberately passed over in silence, in order that others may be unduly emphasized. It also occurs when information is altered or withheld so that society will be less able to resist the imposition of a given ideology."

Many newspapers have exhibited a strong penchant for such manipulation. See here for example. There are many factors contributing to the death of local newspapers. But one which is so often overlooked is that readers have grown tired of newspaper editors and journalists who have abandoned their obligation to truth and its completeness.

Will the death of local newspapers represent a "tragedy" for society in general? I honestly don't see how this could be the case. Many gave up on these newspapers a long time ago. As one individual said at this Blog, "...liberal bias hasn't exactly helped these papers either. If a paper isn't even going to try to remain objective, I don't want to read it."

Precisely. This isn't a tragedy. It's a comedy of errors (minus the happy resolution at the end). The newspaper industry is only reaping what it has sown.
Related reading: Shameless in Massachusetts - the Telegram & Gazette's pro-homosexual bias examined here.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure if you were to ask most newspaper editors if their publication was biased in any way, they would deny it. Most of these liberal propagandists view anything and anyone outside of their enclosed liberal circle to be "extremist" and perhaps as belonging to Hillary Clinton's "far-right conspiracy."

Many journalists have become so accustomed to associating only with people who think exactly like (subscribing to a liberal ideology)that they have become too insulated to know how most Americans think and what they believe.

They are so biased (like a cult member) that they will not - they cannot - even entertain the idea that others have different ideas which contradict their own preconceived notion of reality.

Anonymous said...

Ted, right. You know when I stopped subscribing to the T & G? After I submitted a pro-life letter to the editor and it was refused. The reason given? I was told my letter (which included a small quote, three lines, from John Paul II) was more suitable for The Catholic Free Press.

The T & G has no problem publishing letters from homosexual activists (aren't there "gay" publications which would be "more suitable" for such letters?) and secular humanists (which is also defined as a religion, only man-centered - aren't there secular humanist or atheistic publications which would be "more suitable"?) but letters from serious and orthodox Christians are regularly banned.

So be it. Now when I want my news I visit websites which don't censor material they deem "inconvenient" or "too religious."

Sanctus Belle said...

Good riddance.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Sanctus sums up in two words how I feel. Her comment reminds me of the funniest review of a play I've ever read. The review was of the play "I Am a Camera" and consisted of three words: "I no leica."

Anonymous said...

Tom Roeser, an occasional columnist for The Wanderer, writes on his Roeser Blog ( of the problems of the two Chicago newspapers (his hometown), leading to their apparent demise:

1. Concerning the Chicago Tribune:
The news from Old Lucifer…the dirty-mouthed, tie-less, cloven-hoofed little guy with the fringe hair, reddish beard and the motorcycle…that the “Tribune” is filing for bankruptcy…didn’t surprise me since the “Trib” has been CULTURALLY bankrupt (with the notable Kass exception) long before Sam took over. But when he started, at least the paper had a clean, level, crisp appearance; the editorials were taking on a definiteness we hadn’t seen for decades. The editorial page was on the last page of the first section, where it should be. Oh there were faults-the inanity of Garrison Keillor as an Op Ed contributor for example…but his shrugging lefty predictability was more than compensated for…by Denny Byrne. Molly Ivins had died, giving its intelligence quotient a much-needed lift. Yes, there were still the imponderables as to why a good journalist like Clarence Page had to be ordered to remind us…writing from Washington, D. C.-40 years after Selma (in which he was too young to participate)-of the necessity for whitey to appreciate what it is like to be black: `60s stuff.
Why, to write that high school essay stuff, does he have to be based in Washington? So he can appear whenever there’s a black issue as a guest on McLaughlin (which nobody watches today anyhow)?
But then Page can be good on occasion. Not so Dawn Turner Trice who wants us all to “explore race.” Yes-yes-yes-yes…with a black president and black First Lady, black ex-senate president probably set to be the next U. S. senator, who has the distinctive pedigree of having graduated…literally…from the sewer department to politics (now that I think about it, that was a lateral move)…in the hometown of Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, the two Jesse Jacksons, Sandi Jackson, Valerie Jarrett, Todd Stroger, Michael Pfleger (the black wannabe) and Oprah…dear god yes-yes-yes it IS time for us all to explore race! Why haven’t we done it earlier? We don’t hear enough about race, I tell you!
It’s bankrupt because its city hall and political coverage is not nearly as good as the “Sun-Times’”. It’s bankrupt because it utterly cannot face up to having an editorial page cartoonist (the “Sun-Times” has the Pulitzer prize-winning Jack Higgins)...because the “Trib” is so slavishly indeterminate, so relativistic, that it cannot abide someone with a pencil drawing lines that cannot be altered or equivocated. When you draw a cartoon, you are forced to take a stand. Taking a stand except for the most egregiously, fastidiously correct views are not the “Trib’s” style…gee, how courageous of it to sock Stroger’s borrowings on top of tax hikes! How absolutely heedless of possible unpopularity for it to endorse Barack Obama in this his hometown! That REALLY had to emerge after R. Bruce Dold had a visit with his Maker, Sam: or after Sam discussed it with God CEO to CEO.
In the race to the bottom between the gutless “Trib” and soft-pornographic “Sun-Times,” good riddance to them both…and may they emerge at the bottom in a tie.

2. Concerning the Chicago Sun-Times:
Yesterday I made a modest suggestion…principally to the “Sun-Times”…that maybe-just maybe-the reason that tabloid is fading so fast is that it is so resolutely left-wing. Assuredly Michael Cooke, the boss-man of the paper, believes that rigid leftism is the course he must pursue to stabilize his hemorrhaging product…but he might at least consider the fact that neither the “Sun-Times” nor the “Tribune” give conservative readers what they want…and that is the reason for its precipitous decline. Yesterday, I compared the newspaper to the entertainment industry where, strange to say, moguls have determined not to follow the market-so imbued are they with the Left.

Also yesterday I gave some suggestions as to people Michael Cooke might release for greater opportunities elsewhere-while keeping Sneed and Huntley and the excellent reportorial staff. That means getting rid of Steinberg, Brown, Falsani, Jackson, Greeley-all who run on the same narrow ideological track. Thanksgiving Day’s issue was a case in point. We were told that we should be thankful…but it was never suggested thankful to Whom. God and Judeo-Christian verities, are blotted out in the “Sun-Times.” I am not suggesting turning this newspaper into a homiletic or pastoral review but the absence of any meaningful suggestion of purpose in life is part of the “Sun-Times” problem. When the subject of God is ignored, humans devise substitutes for spiritual absolutes they have neglected: this is a large part responsible for the newspaper becoming a one-party partisan tract.

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