I wish I had something more civil and acceptable to say, but honestly, when I talk about why newspapers are currently sucking donkey sack, this is basically the sort of thing I mean:
Bored by the soggy sleep-ins and warmed-over anarchism of Occupy Wall Street? Fed up (Fed Up!) with the presidential Race to the Bottom? Depressed by the warning signs of the next Depression?
I bring relief. Like Nurse Jackie scavenging in the medicine chest for stray painkillers, I have assembled some capsules of hope from places you probably haven’t noticed lately, because the dominant news is so disheartening you can’t bear to proceed beyond the front page.
Hee hee, protesting is silly and boring and none of those people matter and nobody’s opinion is really important compared to My View of Big World Events, which will not affect my paycheck no matter how wrong it is. Also, reality is depressing. Depressing is bad. Depressing is something I should combat in my columns! Get happy, everybody, Europe’s about to fuck over its middle class almost as bad as we do right here!
Also, a reference to a Showtime program makes me relevant. Hipness! Young people!
I especially love how his implicit suggestion to readers is that if the news is bothering them, they should seek out good news or feel free, with the editor’s express permission, to tune out and claim some kind of burnout caused by reading the fucking paper. As if that’s just like patrolling Fallujah or something. As if that is an excuse you even GET, when the earth is caving in. You’re tired of reading bad news?
Imagine living it, you rich horsefuckers.
You know what an alternate way to go would be? To politely suggest to readers that if they find unregulated capitalism stifling, to get off their asses and change it. To nudge readers toward action in regards to a Republican presidential field that is a mix of mildly stupid and full-on evil, such that perhaps they would demand different candidates. To point out that a coming second Depression is entirely a creature animated by political will, and that no matter how much money corporations pour into elections if everybody voted instead of about half of us, those corporate bagmunchers wouldn’t be able to control SHIT.
All that stuff requires passion for one’s community, a drive to improve the lives of readers and the ability to not give a fuck about the ragaholic conservative message groups that will be screaming bloody blue murder about the liberal New York Times. I don’t see Bill Keller, of all people, having the stones to actually make any of that stick. Besides, what the fuck difference does it make to him? He’s not missing a meal no matter how many protesters get maced outside his building.
If you want to know why newspapers are dying, don’t look at the Internet. Don’t look at conservative versus liberal bias. Look at the endlessly reinforced message that nothing MATTERS anymore, that nothing should matter, and that mattering is passé and probably Communist. You keep telling people not to give a shit, eventually they’re going to listen to you.