Friday, May 4, 2018

Newspapers Are Not Sacred Institutions!

By Rich Kozlovich

We need to understand something.  Newspapers are not a sacred institution.  They're a business, and if they do good business they can survive to do whatever good they deem necessary.  But is it their job to do good or is it their job to do good and honest reporting?  Yes! 

The reality is the owners of a business determine what they want their business to do.  In days gone by there were far more newspapers and in many cases they were openly supportive of one party or the other.  Now it's all dishonest and undercover in an attempt to appear unbiased.   However, some newspapers are blatantly left wing and some are blatantly right wing, and it's their right to be either, both or neither.   But we have to understand - in spite of the hyperbole from the editors and other self interested media talking heads - news and opinion reporting is a business and must face market forces to survive.  Newspapers are not sacred institutions!  Churches shut down and so do newspapers. 

On May 3rd. Brett Samuels posted an article entitled, "Denver Post editor resigns after fiery editorial calling out owner" saying:
"'The editorial page editor at The Denver Post resigned on Thursday, a few weeks after he wrote a column criticizing the paper’s owners.The Denver Post reporters and local news outlet Denverite reported that Charles Plunkett resigned from his post, the latest casualty at a paper that has been ravaged by layoffs in recent years. “It’s a tragedy what Alden Global Capital is doing to its newsrooms and what it’s doing to The Denver Post,” Plunkett told Denverite. “It’s an act of apostasy to our profession and I could no longer abide it.” Colleagues praised Plunkett for his work and fearless attitude."'

I don't really know if the Denver Post would be considered biased in favor of leftist policies and politicians or not, but I did look up a few things.

First their position on the legalization of marijuana, which has been partially legalized in Colorado.  They apparently published an article outlining what the impact has been on the state and it wasn't positive.  But in my view - that's a plus for them, however I don't know if they supported that move before it became law or not.

However, in 2012 they endorsed Barack Obama for a second term saying:
"And though there is much in Mitt Romney’s résumé to suggest he is a capable problem-solver, the Republican nominee has not presented himself as a leader who will bring his party closer to the center at a time when that is what this country needs."
"His comments on the 47 percent of Americans who refuse to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives” were a telling insight into his views and a low point of the campaign."
"Obama, on the other hand, has shown throughout his term that he is a steady leader who keeps the interests of a broad array of Americans in mind."
"We urge Coloradans to re-elect him to a second term."
"Regardless of the outcome on Nov. 6, America is once again confronted with a daunting economic picture that requires bold action even before the next president takes the oath of office."
What could be more delusional than that?  Is this the kind of gobblygook Colorado readers contended with for so many years?  If so, the Post needs to go out of business.

In Cleveland we have the Cleveland Plain Dealer (PD) and it's been a rag for years, but a very successful rag, until the Internet.  Before the Internet began exposing what was really going on in the world we had to pretty much take the paper's views as legitimate reportage.  Now we know better, but I continued to buy it for the crossword puzzle and the sports section. 

A friend of mine who once worked at the Plain Dealer asked if I thought they'd be in business in five years, and I said no, I didn't think so.  He said on his street he didn't know anyone, including him, who was subscribing to the paper. 

The price of newspapers had always been minuscule because the real money came from advertising.  That's changed as the price of the daily edition of the PD is $1.50 and $2.25 for Sunday editions.  Is it any wonder no one is subscribing, and that price is not worth the crossword puzzle, and since I've stopped watching sports - I don't care what's in the sports section.  If I'm going to pay a lot for a newspaper I'll pay more for the Wall Street Journal and get real news. 

I also wonder at the demographic of those who are still subscribing.  Do we really believe the younger audience, who can't seem to look up from their phones to know if the rest of the world is even awake, are going to be their subscribers now or in the future?  I doubt that.  My 93 year old mother is still a subscriber and I'm willing to bet that's a big demographic for their subscriber base.  Time is not on their side.

Then advertisers got tired of paying extremely high prices for small results and when readership declined and the Internet became the source for news and opinion, not to mention the source to search for virtually everything everyone buys - advertisers left - and the PD dropped down to publishing four days a week including Sunday. 

Here's the reality for newspapers, publishers, editors and staff - just like the Yellow Pages, newspapers as we know them are doomed, and for a host of reasons, but make no mistake about this - competition will bring us the news we need and want, whether it's in print form or not, and the liberal bias that exists in their little world of head nodding self congratulations will go the way of the dodo, and the rest of us won't much care because newspapers are not sacred institutions!  Welcome to the real world!

That's progress!

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