So Very Much Word


After all, Ken Davis hadthe audacity to write this in the aftermath of his event:

“Eventually even the ‘information wants to be free’ crowd, a little
greyer and sobered by mortgages and tuition bills, will come around to,
and benefit from, a sane payment methodology. Some gentle advice for
the smaller guys. Stand aside for a while and let the NYT, Washington
Post and Tribune Company fight this battle. Eventually, son, this will
all be yours.”

Thanks for the pat on the head, Ken!

First, informationdoes want to be free. Isn’t that what
what we preach when we talk about transparency and democracy? Like
education, journalism is not a commodity.

Second, do you really think digital journalism is only a young
person’s game? I’m 44, and believe me, I’ve already been sobered by
tuition bills – my own. Please.

Third, a “sane payment methodology?” You mean like the one
newspapers have had all this time that rewarded corporate executives
millions of dollars for laying people off to move profit margins from
obscene to positively evil while reducing actual news coverage though
paying top dollar to lousy senior editors and “star” columnists who
couldn’t write their way out of a drunk’s paper bag?

Fourth, let the Tribune Company figure it out? You mean thebankrupt
Tribune Company? Aren’t they the ones who got us in this mess in the
first place? And if we should stand aside, why have the Town Hall?

Fifth, don’t call me or anyone else “son.” I’d prefer not to be
patronized by people who haven’t earned the right to do so, pops.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Don’t demand somebody slap it on the table unless you’re absolutely sure yours is bigger. And maybe not even then.

The condescension is what drives me fucking nuts. As if you have to be a certain age or have a certain life to qualify for an opinion, or even for possession of the relevant facts of a discussion. As if once you reach a certain age you’re disqualified from doing or saying certain things. I may have my personal opinions about chickenhawks who rag on the military and miniskirts after 30 but realistically? There is no prohibition against pointing out somebody’s stupidity or developing a solution to his problem just because your life doesn’t precisely mirror his, and responding the way Davis did up there is just a way to shut the conversation down. It’s cheap and it’s lame and it’s kind of sad.

Especially since, as I commented at the site, this attitude is directed at the very people who are trying to come up with ways to fix what the high-and-mighty claim they love so dearly. We’ve been having the corporate newspaper money discussion here at First Draft for like four years straight and it’s only been in the past six months that anybody outside the Interwebs has talked about it at all. I wrote a book about the success of a nonprofit newspaper and every day I click over to Romenesko and somebody’s talking about how this is an untested, untried proposition that will never work. And most recently we’ve supported a love of writing and truth-telling in very concrete ways in communities that need those qualities the most, but since our paychecks aren’t as big as Davis seems to want, we’re the “smaller guys” who should just sit down while the grown-ups talk.

This is the attitude that drove me out of newspapers. This right here.


5 thoughts on “So Very Much Word

  1. There, there, little lady, don’t get upset, the wise old menfolk will figure all this out so don’t you worry your pretty little head about it!

  2. Hey, remember when the grownups thought that what people would pay for was David Brooks columns? That was awesome.
    On some level, it’s not that complicated: if I can get something for free that’s better than something I have to pay for, I’ll take it. There are people who are much better than David Brooks who offer their opinions for free. But if you offer something great and unique, like Baseball Prospectus does, I’ll pay for it, because I CAN’T get it for free, and in lesser part because I want to pay for it.

  3. i just saw a rational discussion on this,,, was it real time? something about wall street fucking it p.

  4. Ya know what’s great about the Internet? Every time a major newspaper closes, people can send Ken Davis a copy of his impossibly arrogant statement and ask him if he’s done “fighting the battle, gramps?”
    And when he’s eventually fired, everyone can send him the same statement again and tell him to get the fuck out of the way while those “new media” toddlers do his job for him.
    It’s nice to bask in the losers’ impotent rage sometimes.

  5. Newspapers die bad newspapers. Newspapers die good trees live. Sooner those “newspapers” with the 80 per cent ad, 2 per cent personal ads, and 2 per cent news content are dead the better. The fill in 16 per cent is pure shill and dreck.
    To be absolutely fair we need to run a game.
    I will bet $100 that the NYT is bankrupt by Jan 2,2011. Give me some odds here.
    I will bet $100 that the Boston Globe is bankrupt by Jan 1, 2010. Odds.
    Baltimore Sun $100 bankrupt by September 1, 2009.
    Cover me and give some odds. Might as well have some fun.
    I have hated newspapers since Dec 1969, when I read a tattered news clipping pined to a wall next to the door of the AFVN TV shack on Black Cat Mountain. I read the stirring story of the heroic efforts of the brave Americans in driving off the cowardly enemy frogmen attacking the 3 american ships. Then I could open the door look down about 2000 meters and see the tops of the masts of the ships sitting on the bottom. Think it was the lying Times but it could have been any of the other “yay yay yay, we are winning this war, ray ray ray.” newspapers that showed that flat lying about cold blooded murder could make a career. So if you should work for a newspapers, you can always volunteer for the peace corp to see what you supported while you lied your ass off for the boss. I really would prefer to see you pushing a garbage basket around the downtown at noon with a sign front and back clearly stating that two drinks and you will produce an interview with Pol Pot. Support the newpapers and will stop lying. Ha.

Comments are closed.