Another Media Merger in the Works

Source: Bacon’s Rebellion (BR).

Except for a twinge of nostalgia, this story doesn’t move me much. Philosophically, at least, I am quite happy to see the newspaper industry consolidate into collapse.

Part of my indifference is schadenfreude. The industry brought it on itself. It’s pretensions never could surpass it’s silliness. Part of my indifference is hope. Digital media are vastly superior to print media both in terms of volume and quality.

The BR writer expresses a Jeffersonian lament that newspapers “provide a measure of accountability for government officials” such that losing them might harm our democracy. I am, instead, optimistic.

It seems to me there are very few real issues in the world, and most resolve into simple contests between good and evil. We’re better off to sort them out amongst ourselves without the noise and frictions newspapers create.

25 thoughts on “Another Media Merger in the Works

  1. Your cavalier dismissal of one of the bedrocks of a Constitutional democracy – a healthy free press – is not surprising. Not in the least.

    Your sweeping generalization about digital media being “vastly superior” to newspapers is absurd on its face. There are all ranges of quality in all forms of media. But again, such absurdity is not surprising coming from someone who regularly cries “fake news” at real journalism and who spreads the utter garbage found in the nether regions of the digital world.

    Leaving quality and volume aside, the hometown newspaper is part of the glue that holds a community together. When we all go off to our separate digital spaces, society suffers. IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. “I am quite happy to see the newspaper industry consolidate into collapse.”

        Based on NOTHING you are optimistic that the Jeffersonian idea of a free press will survive the “collapse” of the newspaper business. The evidence is to the contrary. As the newspaper business has been struggling, the first thing to go has been actual journalism replaced by merely echoing whatver someone happens to post on the internet.

        People like you and me expressing our opinions in places like this is not a substitute for people being paid to keep tabs on government and the news. IMH.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. RE: “Based on NOTHING you are optimistic that the Jeffersonian idea of a free press will survive the ‘collapse’ of the newspaper business.”

          So now, according to you, I’m in favor of a healthy free press, I’m just optimistic that we can have one without newspapers.

          RE: “People like you and me expressing our opinions in places like this is not a substitute for people being paid to keep tabs on government and the news.”

          I don’t see why not. Perhaps you see yourself as unqualified or unwilling to do the work, but I certainly see myself and many others, including a few who post here, as qualified and willing.

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    1. A free press does not require dead trees.

      The lower cost of digital publishing allows more competition in providing news.

      When I was a boy, my Father subscribed to 3 newspapers. The Baton Rouge Morning advocate was a Democrat paper, the New Orleans Times Picayune was GOP and the Comet was just local news.

      But every day, we had both points of view.

      Today, print news is nearly 100% Democrat talking points.

      So, let it die. Digital news will allow for all sides to make their points.

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      1. RE: “Digital news will allow for all sides to make their points.”

        And more accessibly. An example would be Walter Williams. Although a syndicated newspaper columnist, his work appears more rarely in print than in digital venues, including his own web site.

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      2. The problem with the digital media free-for-all of your dreams is that there is no effective mechanism to ensure journalistic standards, truth and accuracy. That problem is already manifest when we find that a significant proportion of the population believes demonstrable bullshit to be factual. Dangerous bullshit.

        Anyone can post any nonsense and “alternative fact” they want here. There is nothing to stop them. But if they were a reporter for a responsible news organization they would be out on their ass in about ten minutes.

        As for those 100% Democratic talking points, that would be an exaggeration. A very substantial portion of local newspapers are in very conservative corporate and private hands. To the extent that it is true, it merely reflects that the Democratic Party is reality based which should be true of responsible journalists as well. Clearly, it is being anchored in reality that sticks in the craw of Trump “conservatives” and has them licking their chops for an end to the free press.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I believe in the professionalism and integrity of legitimate news organizations. NYT and WAPO comes to mind as do the news organizations at PBS, ABC, NBC, CNN and CBS. Being human they sometimes make mistakes. When they do they acknowledge that they did.

            There is one sure way to spot our most honest and most reliable news organizations. Pay attention to Donald Trump. When he cries “fake news” you know you are dealing with one of the good one.

            Of course, with the demise of the fairness doctrine the door was opened to charlatans and they have become very influential, but not in a good way. The most obvious of these charlatans is Fox News. This recent op-ed is very telling . . .

            https://thedispatch.com/p/why-we-are-leaving-fox-news

            Of course, we “leftists” have been well aware of such failings for many years. But, better late than never.

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          2. “That the members of the MSM back each other up does not make their lies true.”

            As I often do, I give you WAY too much credit. I thought we were having an adult conversation about the press. Obviously, we are not.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. The entire Republican Party has been, with a generous dose from its media brethren, coordinating its lies for many years now. Italian satellites to Antifa attacking the Capitol. Vaccine conspiracies to CRT.

            Media not so much unless you are talking about the right wing echo chamber which consists mostly of 600 lb. guys in bed with a laptop.

            Liked by 2 people

          4. “If you think the MSM isn’t coordinating its lies then I’ve been giving you too much credit.”

            So, our most respected journalists are both liars and conspirators. And, I suppose the Pulitizer prizes go to the biggest liars, right?

            Really, there is no sensible way to respond to such childish nonsense so I will stop now.

            Liked by 1 person

        1. RE: “there is no effective mechanism to ensure journalistic standards, truth and accuracy”

          The most effective mechanism ever invented are the rules of logic and the principles of rhetoric. Since anyone can learn them, there is no need of a professional class to be the guardians of truth.

          In fact, insisting that journalists perform a role we can perform for ourselves is like begging to be a slave.

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          1. One of the tools for keeping tabs on government and big businesses is investigative reporting.

            Logic and rhetoric are important, but gathering he information is really the key. Investigative reporting requires contacts, resources and budget as well as experience, shoe leather and teamwork.

            The “Spotlight” series in Boston that laid bare the corruption and perversion in the Catholic Church is a good example of how difficult and expensive that can be.

            A good citizen on his laptop at home is not going to get the job done. And I am afraid that the investment funds, like Alden Capital, are not interested in the time, effort and monies that would be involved.

            Now I don’t disagree that paper will be a relic from the past before the decade is out. But major organizations have already shifted to digital as the prime moneymaker, and more continue to do so as evidenced by the paywalls.

            Citizen journalists sounds good, perhaps. But most of us have neither the time (jobs, family, etc.), the skills or the contacts. Never mind the costs of months of knocking on doors, lining up sources and interviews, getting leads and dropping everything to follow up on them.

            In other words, establishing sources in Washington, Richmond or City Hall takes time and a bit of power.

            The system we have among news organizations is not perfect, but it is the best we have. Nostalgia about the golden ages of journalism, whenever that was, is at best whitewashed. Yellow journalism was rampant early last century and the century before. Muckraking, slander and power plays were the norm. But out of that, we had a watchdog system that worked better and more often than any other might have.

            Now, those who would profit most from the demise of the media are also doing their best to hasten it. Whenever I see pols attacking the press, “fake news” drum beats for example, I am almost positive that they are trying to hide something. So a politician that spends more time denigrating the media than answering questions fits that role nicely.

            Be careful what you wish for.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. “The most effective mechanism ever invented are the rules of logic and the principles of rhetoric”

            Sounds peachy keen but it is simply nonsensical. Neither will tell you if a “fact” presented in the media is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Even more silly is your “begging to be a slave” comment.

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          3. RE: “Logic and rhetoric are important, but gathering he information is really the key.”

            Why can’t digital journalists do that?

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          4. RE: “Neither will tell you if a “fact” presented in the media is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

            Neither will a number of existing journalist organizations I might name.

            Like

      3. …”print news is nearly 100% Democrat talking points.”

        You say that, but you won’t even consider those alleged “talking points” to be legitimate because of your complete, total and OFTEN stated hatred of any and all things, democratic, INCLUDING the right for all citizens to be able to vote freely and fairly without bullshit literacy tests.

        Liked by 1 person

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