Saturday, December 03, 2005

Who's Last Throes?

The big problem, Mr. Kurtz, is that the middle class is being hammered by actions of the government and business. It was the middle class that gave the massive numbers needed to subscribe to newspapers to keep you guys afloat. But you served the real middle class very poorly.

I mean those of us not making over 200k a year. I know people above that are considered middle class and they can buy the expensive things your advertisers want to sell and, be honest, they are more like the full time journalists are all news departments. You have more of a connection with people who do have the option at least once in a while of buying those very expensive shoes, real estate, etc.

But you (I mean journalists, editors, and publishers not you personally) forgot who was supplying most of the subscriptions. You dissed the real middle class. You ho hummed when our jobs were being sent overseas. When we were losing ground financially you pooh poohed. This was just economic Darwinism.

And then came 9/11. What an opportunity to break ground and get to the bottom of what the real problem was. Instead all the news went into propaganda mode--and I understand you guys had direct threats from the White House. Robert Scheer reported that his editor received 8 of them within a year of the disaster. There were big issues about cartoons. Now you have to tune into O'Reilly or Limbaugh to hear a spiel about the evil political cartoonists, but back then, a toon that made the White House mad was big time news.

But full time journalists make big money. The editors and publishers even bigger money and you were all entrusted with the protection of what is true.

And what did we get back? Propaganda, talking points, and a rehash of details about what happened that day -- as if, like the right wing wants, it could be kept going. Keep the people in fear and doubt.

It wasn't until May 2002 that Newsweek's Ishikoff (and probably a partner) broke a story so big that it shattered the "spell" over the news media. What is funny is that it was a rehash of a report he had done in October 2001 as far as I could tell (news is 'disappeared' online at many places including Newsweek and of course the copy I got in October had been recycled for many months). What was different was that the rest of the news media including newspapers covered Ishikoff's break out of the pack mentality.

I know that Washington Post owns Newsweek now, but still Newsweek is a news magazine, not a newspaper. Did Ishikoff get his info from a newspaper? Maybe our fascination with what he was saying blinded us, but I don't think any paper was covering what he reported until he reported it.

Then the whole mainstream news media felt free to expose whatever they could for a couple of months until the Bush administration started the drum beats to war. And for some reason the mainstream news media reported for duty again. What was that about. We had seen through their lying and posturing. What made you news people think that the WW2 posture would be the best one to take in the run up to such a war.

You were the people with the goods, and though you did report on the Bush administration's lies -- both the Post and (so I hear) the New York Times ran reports on the disproof of the Bush administrations assertions and "wink wink" implications that Saddam had WMDs and ties to terrorists. The Post admitted it had stuffed things down deep in the printed copy. I found things from the post online, and at that time mostly from links from forums (actually more formidable than blogs, but they get little attention from the media) so I wasn't cognizant of whether they were stuffed or not. I do know that latest big breaking news on Cheney's misdeeds was indeed the online equivalent of stuffed. It was down in the small print links and even at that the important part wasn't in the bold text. Some irrevelant name was there, and the title it should have had was in normal print. Now I can't find the report from searching for Cheney at all here. A Google News search shows that the New York Times and the Boston Globe still have a report up on that issue so what gives? I know it might have been a news service report that your paper printed, but they usually disappear in 2 weeks, and it hasn't been 2 weeks since the report appeared.

Mainstream journalists still have this image of themselves as heroes that they assumed around the time of the Clinton impeachment, when they broke so much "big time news". Interestingly, an AP report did go out somewhere in the middle that showed much of the impeachment 'breaks' had actually come from news releases and 'leaks' from the RNC.

Yet, the mainstream news people were being hailed as some kind of heroes.

Meanwhile they forgot to report a fact that all Washington knew. That Newt Gingrich, the leader of the impeachment group, had been living for years with a woman who was not his wife and who had been Mr. Gingrich's aide when they met and presumably when they took up the relationship outside his marriage to another woman. We had to wait until the divorce before we learned those details. Guiliani was also in a open relationship to an aide outside his marriage while he was coming down heavily on Clinton, but again America had to wait until a divorce to learn about that.

And speaking of Guiliani, the presention of the man who helped al Qaeda kill at least hundreds of more people in New York on 9/11 as a hero by mainstream news, is one of the most vile acts in yellow journalism.

Second in line is the presentation of John McCain as an alternative to the Bush cabal for 2008 but I digress. (Scroll down to McCain's spot on the list at the link.)

Newspapers are the most vulnerable to effects of the harm that has been done to the middle class. They are expensive. Compare under $50 a year for newsweek to $216 for a daily paper (which I do take). It takes time to read news rather than just listening to the TV or radio version while making dinner, cleaning the house or even at work. That is why the holidays are a good time for the Bush administration to pass their version of their policies and new programs. Last year the 'new program' was the terrorist screenings at airports. This year it is the border 'security' while the Bush administration works to get passed a plan to open potentially every middle class job in America to "our friends" from across the border.

And on what side are the newspapers coming down on? From what I've read in editorials and columns, firmly on the side for flooding our middle class jobs and communities with more immigrants.

Talk about last throes. Welcome to economic Darwinism.

Or stand by your 'friends' in the real middle class and they may be able to stand by you. It's a bit late in the game, but there still might be time.

Last Throes

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