All About It!
"Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought
to have." - Richard Salent, Former President CBS News
Story Short: Whatever happened to "news" papers?
I'm officially an old guy. You see, I harken from a time when mail was, believe
it or not, delivered twice a day.
This may seem an extravagance but it was all part of a scheme worked out by the
sadists at General Mills to torture little boys who'd mailed off their box tops
and now waited in torment by the mailbox for their atomic-whiz-bang-whatchamacallit
to arrive. The mailmen always saved their most sardonic smiles for the little
wretches waiting plaintively on the doorsteps. Not just once a day...twice.
Or so it seemed to me at the time.
It was also an era when families subscribed to both a morning newspaper and an
afternoon newspaper. It sounds like overkill but it was just the way news and
information was disseminated back then. You may smirk but no doubt you'll someday
look back with fond nostalgia on the days before wireless transmitters were welded
to your cerebral cortex and Google had the rights to only your first-born offspring.
But I digress.
I grew up immersed in the fact and fantasy that was the daily newspaper and I
can't imagine a day going by without a Jumble to solve or a crossword to complete
or an editorial cartoon to puzzle over.
But no more. The love affair is over. I am now officially paperless. It's not,
as you might think, a decision based on the fact that so much of our news is
garnered over the internet or over the ludicrous environmental impact all that
paper has on the planet. No, it's simply because my local paper, how shall I
put this.... sucks!
I live in Dallas, Texas and our informational needs are served by a local entity
that calls itself the Dallas Morning News. It is owned and operated by the most
conservative of conservative concerns and those of us interested in truth have
always amused ourselves by picking out the real story amongst the obvious slant.
It was our little game.
Lately, though, the right-wing propaganda that infused every important story,
especially those concerning the presidential race, began reaching levels that
were simply bizarre, to put it nicely. But it was today's copy of the paper,
the Sunday edition, when the bullshit finally reached critical mass. I won't
bore you with the details but the lipstick flew hot and heavy.
So I wrote my paper
a letter and enumerated my discontent, asking them what's so wrong with simply
printing the facts and then leaving the opinions to us instead of the other way
round. I then told them I'll never buy their paper again. And I won't.
I share this bit of rancor with you in hopes that you might find yourselves on
the horns of this very same dilemma but have failed to take that last important
step. I urge you to at least write your local paper and remind them that they
are no longer an island of news on which you are conveniently stranded. There
are few venues where your small voice can make a difference, but this is one.