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.