As my more surroundings-aware readers may remember, my wife (TMBWitW) works for a newspaper here in the Valley of the Sun. She is not responsible for any of the content, but she is responsible for telling the corporate leadership about the numbers generated by the newspaper – she is, after all, an accountant. She also doesn’t share information with me, so don’t go asking about numbers, because I simply do not know.
Those same readers who remembered the first part might also remember this: at one point in time, I was delivering the paper, in bundles, to businesses who would then re-sell the papers. You know, like convenience stores, supermarkets, and even paper machines (which, to tell the truth, pay the best, but you run the greater risk of having some psycho follow you from machine to machine and break into it, stealing either the papers, or the coin, or both. either way, it’s broken and you have to get a replacement machine.).
At one point during my time delivering the papers, there was a meeting (a lunch meeting) for the contractors (who all worked between midnight and 0700) in order to have a question and answer session. Of course, the first question some smart aleck asked was why they would schedule a lunch meeting for a bunch of people who were essentially vampires. That question was ignored, and the ignoring of the question pretty much answered what would have been my follow-up question of “Why don’t you listen to what is being said, instead of just giving the company line for anything?”
The people putting on the lunch meeting, after getting over the disappointment of only having nine people show up from a group of over sixty (see “vampire”), welcomed us all and asked a question of their own, in order to get input.
The question was “How do you think we can increase sales?” and the answers were many and varied. Tossing aside the use of naked models to have strategically placed section of the paper covering them, (no imagination in these sales types. marketing would have gone for it in a flash. so to speak.) they instead focused on the answers we gave them with some serious thought. For example, it was pointed out that constantly telling people they can get more information on the paper’s (free) website would tend to drive people toward the web and away from the paper.
After looking at it from a distance now, I think the answer is more subtle. You see, the print media is leaning more and more to the left. More often than not, the current crop of journalists and editors are coming from the bastions of liberal learning, and starting to have a profound effect on the content of the nation’s media outlets. This is very evident in the larger broadcast media outlets, but let’s concentrate on print media for a moment.
Think back to what Air America tried to do. Seeing the success of conservative talk radio (filled with ‘proud to be an American’ thoughts words and deeds) Air America wanted to copy the business plan and create a liberal talk radio offering that could be syndicated and shared everywhere, uniting the left-thinking in the same way the right-thinking were uniting. The problem is that the liberal talk radio filled up with what the liberal think about – how terrible the United States is, how awful that we are so successful while other countries are stuck in their Third World status, and criticizing the country with all it’s failings. Let’s face it, people don’t want to hear doom and gloom all day, even if they are liberals. The conservative talk radio was supporting the country, giving constructive advice and lifting one another in praising the good things that the country is doing. In the end, Air America failed because it couldn’t keep it’s listener base (along with the money that listener base uses for purchasing and advertising) from being scared off by it’s attacks on the very country that allowed it to exist.
Translate that to the print media. With the liberals writing, editing, and publishing America-bashing articles (even subtly), people don’t want to hear it. Or, in this case, read it. With papers urging their readers to get more information on the web, their readers actually had the audacity to go out and get independent confirmation of the information presented – but not from the paper’s website. They went straight to the sources, and read the straight facts before the facts went through the prism that is present in every newsroom today. Sales start to slide, and then to fall. The paper starts wondering what went wrong, all the time struggling to stay afloat. Reorganizations are tried, services are centralized, and all the while those pesky customers keep taking the paper’s advice of finding more information on the web and, as a result, stop paying for slanted stories.
The papers, meanwhile, are confounded by the fact that they are still telling themselves they are fair and balanced. Refusing to admit you have a problem will prevent you from ever solving that problem. The editorial boards are slowly being taken over by journalists who have slowly advanced to their new positions after graduating from a college system that thinks Noam Chomsky is a patriotic centrist. The new editors are products of a school system that has eliminated as “biased” anything that smacks of conservative or patriotic values – prayer in school, the Pledge of Allegiance, respect for elders – and replaced them with more “inclusive” values – allowance for any religion but Christianity, the display of any flag not associated with the dominionistic policy of the United States, everyone is equal and worth the same – and their world view reflects it. But, the paper is still “fair and balanced” in it’s coverage.
Until the Mainstream Media wakes up to the fact that their business model of reporting with such a slant is what is killing them so softly and quietly, the values of the media outlets will continue to fall. It may take the complete and utter failure of a media giant like Gannett to wake the rest of the industry to facts.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Let’s hope that they have finally quit hitting the snooze button and are in the process of waking up to reality.
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