Monday, November 28, 2005

Speaking of Pandemics

I'm a former print reporter and newspaper editor. I could see the death of newspapers coming in 1995, when I quit for good. This yahoo (using the old sense of the word) doesn't have a clue about the cause of the death of the print newspaper.

For me, the last gasping breath came when the school district workers told me about Newt Gingrich trying to kill children by doing away with the hot lunches. I investigated and wrote a story saying that school district workers were acting as shills for the Democrats and lying to the public about changes in the funding for school lunches. My editor pulled me into the office and accused me of trying to be Rush Limbaugh, which I took as a compliment. Multiply this story hundreds of times over and I could see that the print media had abandoned both its readers and its community.

You can see that in this disjointed little screed from Philadelphia.

The writer complains "newspapers raced to post content on the Net for free, which is like burning furniture to warm your house." What he doesn't understand is that technology now allows anyone to be the publisher, editor, reporter, advertising director, circulation manager, secretary, paper boy, photographer, and pasteup crew all by yourself. The content can be posted for free because the software, hardware, and Internet are available at such a low charge that it might as well be free. (For less than 12 bucks a month you can open an account on Yahoo! for a website; you can get a computer for under $500; if you're really cheap, you can get ragtag freeware for everything else. Who needs Knight-Ridder or Gannett?) The writer veers into this truth when he writes "newspapers are hobbled by the labor-intensive technology of Ben Franklin" without realizing that Franklin did most of it himself. We are now returning to Franklin's vision of the press.

Another example of cluelessness: "Anyway, most people now say they get their "news" from the Internet and TV... That's why everyone is so smart and so well-informed about the world around them." Yep, people are just stupid. We need major media outlets to tell those dolts what to think and how to think it. At journalism school they called this the "gatekeeper" theory of information, where the media serves as a monitor to pass on relevant information to the people who need it to be their best in a free society. Nice idea; the last time I checked, the gatekeepers were still doing what I witnessed in 1995 - acting as shills for one side of the political spectrum while claiming objectivity. At least the right wing of the spectrum is bluntly honest about their point of view.

So we're reduced to ellitism. "If there were no stodgy newspapers to set the agenda with boring stuff like government, world news, politics and finance, TV news would be free to give viewers what they want - more weather, cute animal videos, traffic accidents, house fires and "special reports" on the dangers (or promise) of cosmetic surgery." If it wasn't for the papers, you morons would be reduced to vapid entertainment without any clue about the really important information you need. Again, press=smart and informed, public=dull and stupid.

No wonder they're losing readers. Imagine telling your customers that they're so stupid that they need you more than ever. On a personal level, you can get punched in the head for this kind of approach. Economically, the customer moves on to a place where he or she gets respect.

I love this: "Blogs are an excellent source of "news," much of it overheard and passed along by the blogger's girl friend. If she's sick, the blogger can make something up. No editors or accountability gum up the works." The writer has it completely upside down. On the Internet, the writer and the reader are in close contact. If I write something here (or anywhere) that is foolish, ill-informed, or just plain wrong, a dozen people who know better can chime in and correct me. Want to see how well it works? Visit wipipedia and see how the seamless flow of information from all over the planet filters out the nonsense and leaves nuggets of fact.

On the newspaper where I worked, a reader had to get through a phalynx of support staff before they got to me - and even then, a correction or better information had to wait a while before it was printed. On the Internet, that interaction is instant.

If I had to speak with this writer, I'd sympathize with his utter lack of understanding. He's like a blacksmith watching the Model T Fords fill the roads. Instead of seeing how the flow of information and ideas are changing - I think in a manner more suited to truthtelling - he lashes out with anger and fear.

He asks: "Without newspapers, who will provide the content?"

When I was young reporter, I always carried with me a quote from Horace Greeley telling his nephew that his newspaper should be "the perfect mirror for the community it serves." The content comes from us; the newspaper should merely reflect that.

Once I had an old-fashioned publisher tell me he knew his paper was good because a reader could open it and know exactly what his town was like. Not anymore. The newspaper in one city is basically the same paper in every city; I know, because I still read them. When the newspapers chose instead to reflect their advocacy, their ideology, their selective reporting of the news, then the readers left. A lot of us who were good reporters left, too.

47 posted on 11/28/2005 8:28:41 PM PST by redpoll (redpoll)


At November 28, 2005 8:00 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The newspapers are an insult to intelligent people everywhere.

Why do they think the pettiness and bigotry is not something people can think up themselves?

Why do we need fat, overpaid people to do it for us?

I see a lot of these "journalists" making these threatening noises about how much worse off the world will be if they weren't around to do our thinking for us -- but I don't see any following through on their "threats" by suspending publications so that the public will be begging them to come back at ten times their present salaries.

Try us -- and don't call us, we'll call you!

At November 28, 2005 8:10 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

"Liberals" are what demagogues are calling themselves these days.

At November 28, 2005 8:13 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I've always said, "The only thing wrong with Hawaii is the local newspapers trying to convince us everything is wrong but them."

At November 28, 2005 8:26 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

By far the worst, is the editor of the Star-Bulletin -- who only prints personal attacks against the President -- as though nobody can tell the difference. I suspect she also writes the prejudical headlines -- as well as distorting every article she edits.

There's a reason 100,000 people canceled their subscription.

At November 28, 2005 9:05 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Why political correctness stinks

Posted: November 29, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2005

You can't accuse me of bias. Some of my best friends are liberals, and many of them can dress themselves and tie their own shoes.

So don't go calling me racist, sexist, ageist, lookist, ableist, or heightist – especially if you're some pipsqueak runt – because I'll punch your lights out, you retarded hick.

If this homespun rhetoric has already caused a serious fluctuation in your blood pressure, it may be that your sense of humor flat-lined long ago. Or you may just be the umpteen millionth victim of the new junk religion, Political Correctness (PC).

PC is on the march, gobbling up every decent value and belief in its mindless path. It has no god, but it invents sacred cows by the thousands. It has no scriptures, but it controls and censors almost every newspaper. It has no serious, cohesive logic, but it compensates with a hilarious swarm of high-sounding emotions. It has no holy land but Holywood, and no holy temples except college classrooms.

PC chokes off normal human expression by strangling natural speech, dividing humanity into imaginary classes, pitting races against each other, and polarizing politics.

PC replaces dorm-room debates with demonstrations, face-to-face discussions with lawsuits, and traditional give-and-take with hostilities and corporate policy manuals. (In the peaceful '50s, for instance, a man who made a move on a woman in the company elevator would be rewarded with a swift kick in the shins. Today, she is apt to play the helpless victim and sue ... which may help explain why the United States has 70 percent of the world's lawyers and why Americans have to cough up almost $400 billion a year in legal fees, liability insurance, and related costs.)

In PC Land, differences among people (and especially among groups) are not to be discussed. The biggest problem with that is that any national economy based on activities more complex than hunting and gathering absolutely requires a division of labor, which is based on individually determined specialization ... which is typically based on concrete differences in talent, preference and training. In the blind rush toward PC equality, thousands of laws are written to keep any intelligent differentiation to a minimum.

In the good old USA, we celebrated diversity. That phrase is now just code for the idea that we should be happy to have millions of wrecked, fatherless families producing legions of very un-gay homosexuals spreading AIDS.

In PC Land, everybody is pitted against everybody else, and if you're accused of something, you're probably guilty. This shreds normal, healthy relationships to ribbons. PC paralysis is setting in. A gentleman from Surrey, England, illustrates:

My wife recently took a job as a classroom assistant. I am shocked at what she tells me now goes on ... A crying child can't be cuddled (my wife has brought up three children beautifully); a sick kid's runny nose can't be wiped (you have to just give them the tissue). Even more distressing, a reception class little girl went to the toilet accompanied by my wife. The poor mite, through no fault of her own (she probably had a tummy bug) covered herself and her undergarments. She was distressed, embarrassed and just stood transfixed. But all that is now allowed is the handing of tissues over the cubicle door and telling them to clean themselves.

My wife ignores them. If a kid has fallen, or has a terrible home life and is just crying in the playground through sheer misery, they get a cuddle. Stuff them all and their stupidity – not the teachers mind you, who hate it as well, but the politicians, bureaucrats and hidden agenda merchants that force this stuff through.

Clearly, PC is not intended to block harm, but to establish a PC priesthood as the guardians and saviors of a new and God-free society – which will be paralyzed by fear and smothered in lockstep conformity.

It's bad PC manners to discuss the persistent differences among races and ethnic groups. We're all supposed to be the same now. That's the goal.

Bottom Line: Come Judgment Day, God will have no basis for saying that one person is any better than another. We're all just equally unfortunate victims of a repressive (patriarchal capitalist Christian) society.
James Rutz is chairman of Megashift Ministries and founder-chairman of Open Church Ministries. His recent book, "MEGASHIFT: Igniting Spiritual Power," announces major upgrades in human life and a coming transformation of society.

At November 28, 2005 9:47 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

That's why the conservative/right/Republican blogs and discussions are so much more advanced. The mainstream media is undercutting and undermining the liberal/left/Democrats by co-opting and demanding to be their leaders -- while making the Republicans stronger by not doing them similar favors.

If one takes away the mainstream media, the real Democrats have forgotten how to speak for themselves -- because the mainstream media has taken over that function for them. But it cripples them in a world in which everyone can speak for themselves.

The press has marginalized the Democrats by not resorting to their more thoughtful and cooler heads but incites the most inflammatory and defamatory statements by the most disreputable types -- including celebrities looking for some cheap publicity. In that way, they've gutted the true leadership of the Democrats and replaced them with themselves as chief spokespersons.

So they use people like Cindy Sheehan, and once they are of no use to them -- they abandon them with their delusions of grandeur to walk the streets alone. There's always the next sucker looking for a free pass to say what the press wants them to say.

It's too bad Lieberman and Miller can't take back their party from the media they've grown too dependent on to do their hard but necessary work for them. They're all but incapable of articulating any coherence anymore -- and if they do, the press won't quote them.

At November 29, 2005 9:15 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

All the newspapers seem to be running editorials telling us how they are the glue that holds the communities together -- rather than as they truly are, the instigators and inciters of most of the divisiveness and conflict in our communities.

By pitting the Democrats against the Republicans, the rich against the poor, etc., they divert all attention away from themselves while claiming innocence as just reporting what's happening. They're setting us up. They get their kicks in seeing everybody attack and beat each other up as their singular purpose and joy in life. Don't play their game.

It's some (sick) people's idea of a power trip.

At November 29, 2005 9:26 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Manipulation is the tactic of the weak and cowardly to control the strong and powerful. In the institutions (prisons, schools, universities, unions, etc.), we all are familiar with those who never commit crimes themselves but cause others to do the dirty deeds by "misinfomring" them.

That's what the newspapers (mass media) have become.

At November 29, 2005 9:49 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Everybody knows what's going on -- but the newspaper editors keep insisting that they are the smartest people in the world -- and we need them to do the thinking for everybody else.

Imagine the world without thiese self-proclaimed kings and queens.

At November 29, 2005 9:59 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

There's a reason the Advertiser wouldn't hire the edtors of the Str-Bulletin when they broke up.

Now we all know why.

At November 29, 2005 10:10 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I hope we can all look forward to the coming election season with confidence that mysterious "anonymous" hit pieces won't emerge at the last minute in the newspapers -- that nobody can trace down until too late.

Let me take a wild guess who writes them.

At December 08, 2005 2:02 PM, Blogger Robert Rhodes said...

Newspapers and the MSM aren't reporting news you need to know.

They report on news that they believe you need to know.

Perhaps next they'll begin reporting on what you can say, where you can eat, who you should talk too, and how you should dress.

After all, we NEED all the help we can get. Thank goodness we have some elitist liberals to take charge.


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