Kathleen Parker Continues to Find Nuts

First she discovered right-wing lunatics are exactly that. Then she discovered the Christian right was neither.Now she’s tripped over the idea that demonizing working reporters day after day, year after year, causes people to lose their respect for the press:

Unfortunately, the chorus of media bashing from certain quarters has
succeeded in convincing many Americans that they don’t need newspapers.
The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press recently found
that fewer than half of Americans — 43 percent — say that losing
their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community “a lot.”
Only 33 percent say they would miss the local paper if it were no
longer available.

Certain quarters? Seriously, chica, certain quarters?

Likethese, where your columns are happily housed next to such lights of liberty and press freedom as Tony Blankley and Dennis Prager? Where those hardworking reporters you now laud are referred to as the “mainstream moron media” and are subject to gigglefits from clowns likeDouglas McKinnon, who calls the newspapers they work for “indoctrination sheets?” Would these be the “certain quarters” to which you refer?

I mean, I’m sorry, I’m sure it’s nice for all of us that Kathleen’s arrived at the party but should we really be expected to ignore where the fuck she’s been for the past nine years?

A younger generation, meanwhile, has little
understanding or appreciation of the relationship between a free press
and a free society. Pew found that just 27 percent of Americans born
since 1977 read a newspaper the previous day.

Sigh. Yes, by all means, let’s bash the kids, since they’re the ones conflating “a free press” with “newspapers.” They’re not the same thing. And by the by, college kids especially seem really into newspapers, at least newspapers that are into them:

The study found that more than three-quarters, or 76 percent, of
college students surveyed had read their college newspaper in the past
month. Readership was highest at campuses with daily papers, where 92
percent had read a student newspaper in the previous month. By
comparison, just over one-third of students reported reading their
daily community paper at least weekly.

p>So maybe not so much with “kids today just don’t care about the news.” Jesus tits.

Such grim tidings are familiar to the 80 or so editors and
publishers gathered the other day for the annual New England Newspaper
Association meeting, where I was a speaker. But what to do about it?
How does the newspaper industry survive in a climate in which the
public doesn’t know what it doesn’t know? Or what it needs?

This is in no way a new problem. In NO WAY. The newspaper industry survives the way anything survives; by deciding to do what is necessary to survive, by making sound financial decisions and not wasting money on stupid shit. It has fuck-all to do with what the public wants, and blaming the great unwashed’s sudden lack of clamor for real news such as only Parker and her ilk can recognize just shoves the problem off onto those who aren’t responsible.

Which is the point, of course: If it’s about the public’s lack of desire for your greatness, well, then, it can’t possibly be your fault you’re failing. I hate this argument so much, you guys. It’s so fucking lazy I can’t stand it.

And while this is an admirable sentiment for “even the conservative” Parker to express:

Constant criticism of the “elite media” is comical to most
reporters, whose paychecks wouldn’t cover Limbaugh’s annual dry
cleaning bill. The truly elite media are the people most Americans have
never heard of — the daily-grind reporters who turn out for city
council and school board meetings. Or the investigative teams who chase
leads for months to expose abuse or corruption.

She might have wanted to pipe up at any point during the last eight years in defense of Jill Carroll, Bilal Hussein, John Burns, Chris Albritton, or any one of the reporters her conservative pals were demonizing to get their kicks over cornflakes, instead of coming to us now and saying we should all be nicer. As if it’s not incredibly too little, very much too late.


8 thoughts on “Kathleen Parker Continues to Find Nuts

  1. Let’s look at an alternative scenario. Let’s say somebody comes up with an invention that can take a photograph and turn it into a digital image, rather than having it stored on film which would then be developed and printed onto paper. Oh, wait, that happened, didn’t it? And what happened to the makers of film? What’s happening to Kodak and Fuji? They’re adapting or dying, or some stage in between. And I don’t hear anybody fretting about what will happen to all the people who used to make film. (Something that actually hits close to home for me—we have a Kodak plant near us that is withering away.)
    Which brings me to my point in this whole long analogy. One of the really interesting elements about all this was that some people thought the advent of digital cameras would make professional photography a much less viable industry. After all, you could have people doing their own photography because they could take a jillion pictures without wasting any money. And they could edit those pictures with the magic of Photoshop. (That’s one of the many reasons my husband was told to take an early retirement buyout from his old job—the powers that be thought they could train a monkey to take pictures.)
    But something interesting happened—people figured out that having a professional take pictures of your wedding will guarantee much better pictures. So photography is still viable—you just have to market it well, provide a product that is of high enough quality to attract customers, and keep your costs as low as possible. (I use that word “just” advisedly—as the wife of a professional photographer, I know how tough it really is. Just talk to our credit card companies.) (Another interesting development (no pun intended): a whole group of people discovered that they enjoy photography (people who might not have tried it given the previous expense of photography), and now they’re taking classes to become better at it and learn how to use Photoshop. Which is no small relief to me, since my husband also teaches photography. And down the road, some of these people might become very accomplished professional photographers. Which will be good for photography as an art form.)
    So where am I headed with all this? With journalism, I suspect that what will happen is that in some major city, the last print newspaper will die. At which point, people in that city clamor for some sort of replacement for it, and you’ll see necessity become the mother of invention. (It may not even come to that—there are models out there that are working now in cities that still have dead-tree papers.) Either way, journalists will benefit because people DO realize that the information journalists provide is, in fact, valuable. Journalism will survive. The current newspaper execs, however, will go the way of the dinosaur. Or maybe they’ll just decide to go work for AIG…where failure is rewarded handsomely.

  2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
    Given free rein, the journalists do an excellent job of covering the news. The students at the local university (which I don’t even think has a journalism degree) turn out a much better paper than the paper turned out by the for-profit editor.

  3. Well, I have to say that my Gannett-owned local daily sucks big-time, and I stopped my subscription years ago and haven’t missed it. They only run wire-service reports and stupid features like “Recipes on a budget!” which are mostly culled from some Gannett pool. I do still subcribe to the New York Times, but as for local news, it’s blogs, the internet and our local indie weekly.
    Really, I have huge respect for journalists and journalism. I love newspapers. I just wish we had one here.

  4. What Southern Beale said. (Southern Beale, you’re totally on a roll lately.) I love newspapers. I just wish we had one here, which is why I read the Toronto Star (not the local paper) over the Freak Press (local paper). The local fishwrap has “reporters” who are about on the level of church ladies who write the blurbs about the sodality meetings in the monthly newsletter, a lot of wire stories (usually carefully chosen to reflect the prevailing right-wing slant), and a host of carefully-chosen fascist (literally, pretty much) op-ed columnists, at least one of whom must be on his fifth incarnation by now, because he’s been spewing the same Archie-Bunker-without-the-funny racist, misogynist, homophobic, crypto-white-supremacist bullshit for probably 40 years. I don’t need to buy a newspaper to get that shit; I can read Tommy T’s Obsession With the Freeperati for free, and in so doing, I’m not enriching the folks who are slowly but surely trying to neoconize Canada into being the fifty-oddth states…

  5. heh. my paper got a pulitzer for their series on that bad plastic everybody is banning now. paper still sucks on the editoial page.

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