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Journalistic stages of grief:

Today's on-line Columbia Journalism Review features an article titled Rocky Mountain, Bye: Rocky Mountain News staffers share their thoughts on the paper's closing. Yesterday the CJR asked Rocky staffers to send in a paragraph or so of their thoughts. There are a wide variety of reactions.

A small number of Rocky writers, including the excellent sports columnist Dave Krieger (whose CJR comment expresses his frustration with Scripps' corporate priorities) will be moving to the Denver Post. As many of you know, I've never been a full-time employee of the News, just a bi-weekly columnist; my regular job is Research Director of the Independence Institute, one of the oldest state-level think tanks in the U.S. I wish that the Ind. Inst. had a few million dollars sitting around in a vault, so we could hire some of the great journalists who will be losing their jobs.

The CJR's request for a reaction put me in a historical mood:

It's been a very high-tech day, with the Rocky posting near-instant video coverage of its own death. Yet today evokes for me a picture of Italy around 450 A.D., with declining literacy, and the crumbling of what used to be the great institutions of civic engagement. As a media columnist, I've written often about media bias, which is a very serious problem, but which is not the primary cause of the current collapse of the newspaper business. We have a society that reads less and less, and which passively watches more and more video. Over the long term, I expect that quality coverage of national business and national politics will survive, because there will be enough highly-literate readers who will pay the premium prices necessary to support sophisticated reporting. But I am not at all confident that there are enough readers who will pay what is necessary for the existence of good coverage of local news. At a time when governments are growing more and more powerful, we are losing a crucial part of our checks and balances. "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" as they used to say. A healthy society needs someone to guard us from the government "guardians." Newspapers have been far from perfect in performing this vital, protective civic role, but more protection is better than less. With the Rocky's demise, Colorado is going to have much less.
Today's final edition of the Rocky Mountain News, available, of course, for free on the web, includes a 52-page special wrap-around section about the nearly-150-year history of the paper. It would have been a great addition for the Rocky's 150th birthday, 55 days from today. But I guess the birthday edition had to come a little early, combined with the funeral edition.

Piano_JAM (mail):
As a media columnist, I’ve written often about media bias, which is a very serious problem, but which is not the primary cause of the current collapse of the newspaper business. We have a society that reads less and less, and which passively watches more and more video

I have to respectfully disagree. I read extensively, not exclusively online. I gave up the Atlanta Urinal years ago soley due to its' bias. I used to love to wake up and get the paper, especially on Sunday. I just could not take it anymore. It was not just the editorials. It seemed like every article, even about sports, was biased towards the left, or espoused AGW or greening of America. You are correct we may be losing some checks and balances, but they only went one way - against my biases - so, for me, I lose nothing.
2.27.2009 1:26pm
Houston Lawyer:
At a time when governments are growing more and more powerful, we are losing a crucial part of our checks and balances.

It would be nice if the press actually served this function when their favored political party was in power.

I know that a lot of reporters see themselves as watchdogs, but they have become blind and toothless watchdogs.
2.27.2009 1:30pm
PersonFromPorlock:

A healthy society needs someone to guard us from the government "guardians." Newspapers have been far from perfect in performing this vital, protective civic role, but more protection is better than less.

On the other hand, no protection may be better than 'protection' that's in the tank for big government. I don't know about Colorado, but here in Maine the major statewide paper's version of speaking truth to power is "Oh, thank you sir!"
2.27.2009 1:40pm
Michael B (mail):
I've always picked up a Post rather than a News, but while I cannot say I harbor any schadenfreude, I also have little sympathy for the demise of News. A 150 year era and history, of sorts, has ended, I'd only suggest it ended some time ago and in part due to a decided tanking in journalistic standards and that tanking was reflected in the News.

""Serious, careful, honest journalism is essential, not because it is a guiding light but because it is a form of honorable behavior, involving the reporter and the reader."

Not a great deal of that to be found presently.
2.27.2009 1:48pm
Jerome Cole (mail) (www):
We haven't lost anything here. Most newspapers are little more than left-wing soapboxes and economic dinosaurs. Good riddance.
2.27.2009 1:50pm
JohnK (mail):
"As a media columnist, I’ve written often about media bias, which is a very serious problem, but which is not the primary cause of the current collapse of the newspaper business."

I respectfully disagree. The media has been for the last forty years nothing but a mouth piece for the left of the Democratic party. Since I can log onto the DNC site and get that, what 'service' is the media actually providing at that point? The print media and old line broadcast media lost whatever credibility it had left in the last 8 years. In 2008 it sold its last bit of equity and became an arm of the Obama campaign and now functions effectively as a state run media. The only hope for the country is for all of these papers to go out of business and new ones to rise in their place. I still believe that the dialy newspaper can work, but it has to provide real news and not be a mouthpiece for either side. In short, it has to give a reason for people to read it. If it were really true that no one reads anymore, there wouldn't be millions of blogs. It is not that they don't read, it is that they don't want to read what newspapers are writing.
2.27.2009 1:53pm
Michael B (mail):
Completely OT and btw, but another MMR vacine case of note has been decided:

U.S. Vaccine Court Rules MMR Vaccine Causes Autism Disorders: Thoughtful House Says Decision Contradicts Findings in Controversial Cedillo Case, excerpt:

"Courts continue to rule there is evidence that autism disorders may be connected to measles-mumps-rubella vaccines. U.S. government policy and most health care providers disagree. Researcher Dr. Andrew Wakefield and others insist the science is not settled and further studies are required to determine if there are genetic or biological markers for children who might be susceptible to autism spectrum disorders after vaccines."

I refrain from comment, but it reflects an intriguing confluence of legal, scientific, medical, reporting and other issues.
2.27.2009 2:03pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
"As a media columnist, I’ve written often about media bias, which is a very serious problem, but which is not the primary cause of the current collapse of the newspaper business."


I agree that media bias probably isn’t the primary reason why the ODT model has collapsed but it’s enough of a reason that many of us aren’t participating in the “grieving” process.

To paraphrase a previous commenter, if newspapers are supposed to be the “watchdog” against the government then the “watchdog” is one that bit the hand that fed it, piddled on the carpet with impunity, and slept soundly when the burglar came. A dog like that gets put to sleep.
2.27.2009 2:15pm
FormerStudent:
If Journalists (I'm struck by the fact that I could say practically the same things about Republicans and the President) want to stop their slide into irrelevance, they need to engage in a little honest self-reflection. The internet and cable news isn't the source of journalism's problems any more than Japan is the source of Detroit's. The internet and the Japanese just mean journalists and Detroit have a lot more trouble getting away with doing a poor job and producing a crappy product.

I suggest journalists try acting in accordance with their loudly proclaimed principles. What you actually do every day says far more about you than what you say. You can't possibly read or listen to any journalist's product nowadays without hearing about journalistic integrity and professionalism and objectivity. All those speeches and columns prove nothing but your hypocrisy when your actions contradict the fine words.

If Journalists want to survive they need to focus on what they do to add value to available information. Maybe that's quality control. Maybe that's archiving and indexing it in a manner that makes it easy for me to find what I want. A daily summary of press releases isn't going to get it done. If I want to know what the Democrats, Republicans, Israelis, Palestinians, PETA, General Electric, or anybody else wants me to think I don't need you.

Why would any reasonably sentient individual be surprised that Hamas claims the Israelis are deliberately murdering women and children? Why would the same person be surprised to hear that the Israelis claim to be going to great lengths to avoid killing the same women and children? Yet I'd estimate that at least half of the "news" during the recent fighting in Gaza focused on the fighting in Gaza, and about 90% of those reports consisted of nothing more than reading press releases (dressed up with some video or photographs of blood and explosions that may or may not have been edited or photoshopped for dramatic effect). Why should I take time to watch or read that, much less pay for it?
2.27.2009 2:21pm
DangerMouse:
We haven't lost anything here. Most newspapers are little more than left-wing soapboxes and economic dinosaurs. Good riddance.

Agreed. The quicker they die out, the better. I hope the Denver Post fails soon too.
2.27.2009 2:25pm
josil (mail):
While it's true that the newspaper biz is dying because of economic and social changes, I do not regret cancelling my 50+ year subscription to the LA Times as the bias from the op-ed pages leaked into all reporting including the sports and obits. In regard to the latter, it seemed that the demise of every radical left wing activist from the past had to be featured. And the sports section is exhaustively PC all the time. Of course, the LA Times is not alone. It is almost impossible in any major US newspaper to find coverage of issues like abortion, immigration, sexual preferences, pornography, terrorism, or religion to be anything other than one-sided and largely unrepresentative of the views of many, if not most, citizens.
2.27.2009 2:39pm
Preferred Customer:

We have a society that reads less and less, and which passively watches more and more video.


I am curious about this, given the problems that the broadcast media are also experiencing. Is there empirical date to back this up? In my own experience, I am reading far *more* than I used to (especially since I got an iPhone that allows me to go online in places like the gym), at the expense of time watching television (among other things)--it's just that much of the reading I do is online, and not necessarily of traditional media sources.
2.27.2009 2:39pm
JohnK (mail):
"A daily summary of press releases isn't going to get it done. If I want to know what the Democrats, Republicans, Israelis, Palestinians, PETA, General Electric, or anybody else wants me to think I don't need you."

Exactly. The job of a reporter ought to be to sort through that kind of information with and open mind and present the "facts" as best they can be determined. At some point in the last 40 years reportors stopped doing that. Instead they report whichever facts confirm to their point of view of the world without any critical analysis or sense of balance. When they do that, they become just an uneeded middle man between the reader and the sources of the information. Like many middle men, technology is eliminating their need to exist.
2.27.2009 2:40pm
Splunge:
Newspapers have been far from perfect in performing this vital, protective civic role, but more protection is better than less. With the Rocky's demise, Colorado is going to have much less.

What are you talking about? Newspapers have been, for the past 50 years, from the Great Society on forward, one of the major agents promoting a massive increase in the power of government, and the putative necessity for government to poke its tentacles into every nook and cranny of private life.

Sheesh, talk about foxes "guarding" the chicken coop. Is there anyone, other than massively self-deluded journalists, who thinks newspapers have been on the forefront of the defense of individual liberty anytime in the last century? As opposed to being the shock troops for the assault on individual liberty by the promoters of the mighty cradle-to-grave all-encompassing State?

If defending my liberty against the massive power of the majority is what the newspapers claim is the purpose of my subscription dime -- geez, thanks but no thanks guys. I'd say my liberty is a whole lot safer with you reckless arrogant corrupt clueless idiots thoroughly silenced.
2.27.2009 2:41pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

Today's final edition of the Rocky Mountain News, available, of course, for free on the web, includes a 52-page special wrap-around section about the nearly-150-year history of the paper.


How much of the 52 pages do you suppose will be dedicated to criticism of the paper as opposed to “woe is me, what shall I do without the RMN”?

I realize it’s probably too much to expect but if their final edition does include negative and critical coverage of the paper (including maybe a few readers about what they don’t like about it or even a few former readers), I’d be impressed.
2.27.2009 2:41pm
Sarcastro (www):
I would also like to call the quite conservative Bush-endorsing Rocky Mountain News a liberal rag. I find generalizations - especially generalizing things I hate - saves out on the brain power. After all, we're not God, and can't look for the one exception before we damn something.
2.27.2009 2:46pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb:

Yet today evokes for me a picture of Italy around 450 A.D., with declining literacy, and the crumbling of what used to be the great institutions of civic engagement.

That strikes me as a bit overwrought. I'm really not convinced that the loss of a Colorado newspaper could usher in the Middle Ages.

But I could be wrong. Perhaps Denver will look like this in a few weeks.
2.27.2009 3:06pm
Ben P:

The internet and cable news isn't the source of journalism's problems any more than Japan is the source of Detroit's. The internet and the Japanese just mean journalists and Detroit have a lot more trouble getting away with doing a poor job and producing a crappy product.



I disagree. I think this is like saying that the Model T Ford wasn't the decline of the horse drawn wagon market. The distribution of daily news via paper is an industry that's dying. It's costs are just too high compared to an online distribution model.

Although, you do have a point if we're talkin about individual companies as opposed to an Industry. There was no reason a company making Wagon wheels had to go bankrupt when the Car replaced the wagon, they just had to transform themselves into a company that made something the new market could use, Car Tires.

Likewise, there's no reason old newspaper companies have to die out, but for them to survive they have to figure out how to survive in a market where smaller and smaller numbers of people every year prefer to get their news in digital or video format rather than broadsheet paper delivered to their door every day.

There's not a truly significant reason a newspaper company couldn't retain the typical reporters and editors of a newspaper and yet work out a business model that centers around online distribution.
2.27.2009 3:08pm
Michael B (mail):
Sarcastro,

Congratulations in broaching the "hate" motif. If there'd have been an office pool on who would have been first to allude to that particular charge, you'd have been high on the list.

What the Sarcastros of the world seek via fiscal, budgetary and political/governmental agendas in general, those who oppose these high-minded Sarcastros in our midst can only be "haters."
2.27.2009 3:28pm
Fub:
"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" as they used to say. A healthy society needs someone to guard us from the government "guardians."
And congratulations to the Rocky Mountain News for publishing the exact words of one such government "guardian" during its last week of publication, The Honorable Sen. Dave Schultheis, of Colorado Springs:
"What I'm hoping is that yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that. The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity and it may make a number of people over the coming years ... begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior. ..."
One need not be a liberal or a Democrat to find The Honorable Sen. Schultheis' hope that infants will be born with AIDS revolting at best.
2.27.2009 3:45pm
Sarcastro (www):

The quicker they die out, the better.


Most newspapers are little more than left-wing soapboxes and economic dinosaurs. Good riddance.


Clearly spoken out of love!
2.27.2009 3:56pm
Sarcastro (www):
[in all honesty, Michael B you have a point.

'Hate' is a somewhat charged word, and I shouldn't be throwing it around willy-nilly. It ticks me off when posters rant about socialism, or soviet-style policies at the drop of a hat, I should be more careful myself.]
2.27.2009 3:58pm
Don Miller (mail) (www):
I have wondered about the rise of media bias and left wing slant in major news sources and the teaching of what journalism is in major universities.

Once upon a time, newspapers were written by reporters not journalists. Who, What, When, Where and Why were the stories Reporters wrote. They were the recorders of history and neutral unbiased reporting of facts was a source of pride.

Then something changed. Journalism schools started teaching that they had a duty to help change the world. People who wanted to change the world to their way of thinking started entering the profession. The goal of the news seemed to change from a reporting and gathering of facts to interpreting the facts, explaining what they mean in the big picture.

When Journalists decided that reporting the facts wasn't enough, that they were responsible for interpreting them for us, the long downhill slide began.

People with a left of center view point, don't see the problem and wonder what media bias.

I grew up delivering my local paper. Bought my first car with the proceeds from that paper route. I can't even bring myself to subscribe anymore.
2.27.2009 4:17pm
Mac (mail):
After Obama's visit to AZ., I bought an Arizona Republic. Stupidly, I looked forward to the Opinion page and hoped to learn something about the Stimulus Bill and it's effect on the economy. It has been years since I cancelled my subscription to that rag, but, time dims the memory.

I was treated to a very fair and balanced analysis.

They had opinion pieces and letters from Liberals who approved of the plan and thought Obama was wonderful and they had opinions and letters from so-called Conservatives who approved of the plan and thought Obama was wonderful.

I paid money for that?????
2.27.2009 4:24pm
Mac (mail):
Another, as yet unreported cause of the demise of newspapers, Craig's List.

For years, they charged outrageous amounts for classified ads. With Craigs List, far, far fewer needed them anymore. But, brilliant minds that they are at our newspapers, did you see any of them cutting their rates for their ads?
2.27.2009 4:29pm
Michael B (mail):
Touché, Sarcastro, well and fittingly done.
2.27.2009 4:30pm
Randy R. (mail):
"The only hope for the country is for all of these papers to go out of business and new ones to rise in their place. I still believe that the dialy newspaper can work, but it has to provide real news and not be a mouthpiece for either side. In short, it has to give a reason for people to read it."

They already have. It's called The Washington Times, and it would not survive but for massive infusions of cash from the Moonies. It's a mouthpiece for the conservative side, but no one reads it. At least, no one with a brain.
2.27.2009 4:32pm
Kevin Lynch (mail):

They were the recorders of history and neutral unbiased reporting of facts was a source of pride.


Many commenters have made similar statements. I find them hard to take seriously. There's never some mythical "golden age" of journalism, when reporting was "neutral" and "unbiased". "Remember the Maine"? "Yellow journalism"? "All the news that's fit to print"? These are slogans and epithets going back at least 130 years or more; biased journalism wasn't invented yesterday, and journalists used to wear their biases on their sleeves, like badges of honor. Heck, in Britain at least, they still do. The various media outlets have always has some form of bias. If anything is different now, perhaps it is the overblown claims of "objectivity" and "unbiased delivery" by the media.
2.27.2009 4:33pm
Sarcastro (www):
I would also like to decry bias in media. All those liberal papers need to go!

Conservative-dominated talk radio, however, is awesome, and should get baled out if it has any problems.
2.27.2009 4:36pm
JohnK (mail):
"The quicker they die out, the better.




Most newspapers are little more than left-wing soapboxes and economic dinosaurs. Good riddance.



Clearly spoken out of love!"

Clearly the same kind of love that sarcastro has for Foxnews. When sarcastro dislikes people and news organizations that fail to confirm all of his biases and dogma, it is well thoughtout criticism. When anyone else does the same thing, they are just rightwing hate mongers wishing for the death respectable truth tellers. There is only one person with a monopoly on the truth and it is sarcastro.
2.27.2009 4:38pm
JohnK (mail):
"Conservative-dominated talk radio, however, is awesome, and should get baled out if it has any problems."

Yes and when your Dear Leader closes such down under the guise of the fairness doctrine I am sure you will be on here morning the loss of talk radio. Your commitment to fair discourse and open thought is so obvious.
2.27.2009 4:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Most newspapers are little more than left-wing soapboxes."

I agree. EVerytime some researcher finds more fossils, the papers write up articles about its being more 'proof' of evolution.

I want my religion on the front page, fair and square!
2.27.2009 4:43pm
Visitor Again:
David Kopel, your post was right on.
2.27.2009 4:44pm
JohnK (mail):
"I agree. EVerytime some researcher finds more fossils, the papers write up articles about its being more 'proof' of evolution.

I want my religion on the front page, fair and square!"

Yes because all rightwing opinion begins and ends with creationism and all people who are not hard left are obsessed with one issue and one issue alone; creationism. Gee, stereotype much?
2.27.2009 4:46pm
Ben P:

Once upon a time, newspapers were written by reporters not journalists. Who, What, When, Where and Why were the stories Reporters wrote. They were the recorders of history and neutral unbiased reporting of facts was a source of pride.



When exactly was "once upon a time?"

I've done a pretty sizable amount of research that involved reading newspapers as far back as the 1820's and I've never seen it.
2.27.2009 4:47pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"We have a society that reads less and less, and which passively watches more and more video."

This sounds like Detroit blaming their problems on a society that drives less and less. Does anyone know how to determine if people are reading more or less?
2.27.2009 4:54pm
Jerome Cole (mail) (www):

Most newspapers are little more than left-wing soapboxes."

I agree. EVerytime some researcher finds more fossils, the papers write up articles about its being more 'proof' of evolution.

I want my religion on the front page, fair and square!


Strawman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2.27.2009 6:34pm
CDR D (mail):
Most newpapers ARE left-wing soapboxes. But so what?

In my view, the objectional difference between the papers and right-wing radio is that the papers insult one's intelligence by pretending they do not write to an agenda, while right-wing radio is at least up front about it.

Still, I like 'em both, and I'm sorry to see any paper go down.
2.27.2009 8:42pm
Desiderius:
Don Miller,

"Journalism schools started teaching that they had a duty to help change the world. People who wanted to change the world to their way of thinking started entering the profession."

With the decline of the mainline churches (and the practice of evangelism therein) all those old progressive social-gospel evangelists had to go somewhere!
2.27.2009 10:43pm
Desiderius:
Elliot123,

"Does anyone know how to determine if people are reading more or less?"

I wouldn't visit the local Barnes &Noble if I were seeking confirmation of the less side. I'd say disaggregation is what is happening.
2.27.2009 10:45pm
trotsky (mail):
CDR D,

Do you seriously think the average news report from The AP, even its recent "news analyses," are even comparably to the left as, say, Limbaugh or Hannity is to the right.

I hear this comparison. I hear the likening of "All Things Considered" on NPR to a lefty version of Michael Reagan. I can only think those making the comparison have lost all perspective on politics.

I can think offhand of a few left-wing opinion organs both old and new -- The Nation, Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman, The New Republic, Washington Monthly, TalkingPointsMemo.com. Do you honestly think they're no different from the news?
2.27.2009 11:45pm
Blue:
Trotsky, why do you think it is reasonable--at all--to compare AP stories to the Bogeymen of Rush and Hannity??? The AP, in fact, is a great example of the unconcious bias introduced by a wholly Democrat/left-wing staff.

As far as ATC, I listen evenry day. Their left-wing bias, however, is clear...and I'd be shocked if a single one of their major presenters (to say nothing of their writing and production staff) is anything but straight-ticket Democrat in their votes.
2.28.2009 9:10am
Desiderius:
trotsky,

I'd say the one common thread (not that others do not exist) is:

A) the common opinion NPR et. al. ("liberal media") and TPM, Maddow ("left media") hold, overt or covert, vis-a-vis Limbaugh, Hannity, etc. ("right media") and their listeners and

B) the extent to which both the "liberal media" and the "left media" have difficulty drawing the distinction (similar to the one you're asking CDR D to draw) between hard-core partisans and people of good faith who happen to share some principles and/or worldviews with them, when those principles/worldviews are not their own.
2.28.2009 9:27am
JohnK (mail):
"I can think offhand of a few left-wing opinion organs both old and new -- The Nation, Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman, The New Republic, Washington Monthly, TalkingPointsMemo.com. Do you honestly think they're no different from the news?"

Yes. Take a look at the front page of the Washington Post today. Just a day after he transformed the domestic political landscape with a breathtakingly bold budget plan ….” And the opening sentence of a page 3 article on Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force: “Commentators left and right have reacted with awe to the ambition and transformative potential of President Obama’s economic blueprint.”


My God, the North Korean News Service is less over the top than that. That is a news story not analysis or opinion. Yes, the news is nothing but a mouth piece for the DNC and now by proxy the government. That ought to bother anyone left or right who worries about government power.
2.28.2009 9:51am
JohnK (mail):
"I can think offhand of a few left-wing opinion organs both old and new -- The Nation, Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman, The New Republic, Washington Monthly, TalkingPointsMemo.com. Do you honestly think they're no different from the news?"

Yes. Take a look at the front page of the Washington Post today. Just a day after he transformed the domestic political landscape with a breathtakingly bold budget plan ….” And the opening sentence of a page 3 article on Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force: “Commentators left and right have reacted with awe to the ambition and transformative potential of President Obama’s economic blueprint.”


My God, the North Korean News Service is less over the top than that. That is a news story not analysis or opinion. Yes, the news is nothing but a mouth piece for the DNC and now by proxy the government. That ought to bother anyone left or right who worries about government power.
2.28.2009 9:51am
Hugh Jass (mail):
To the commenters who insist that the media are biased in favor of Democrats and "the left wing," how do you reconcile your views with (1) the MSM's repeated lies and insults about Gore in the run-up to the 2000 election (which probably resulted in Bush winning), and (2) the MSM's uncritical stance leading to the war in Iraq?
2.28.2009 1:14pm
Elais:
If newspapers are supposedly more 'left wing' and they are dying out, does that mean we will get nothing but right wing newspapers and their bias from now on?
2.28.2009 1:48pm
trotsky (mail):
Blue,

No, I don't think it is reasonable, and yet I see a great number of media-bashers on the right doing it -- as if the AP ("Associated Propaganda," a conservative correspondent called it the other day) were the liberal equivalent of their preferred truth-tellers (viz., El Rushbo). See upthread.

Could you offer an example of the "clear bias." I'm genuinely curious. Public radio is, no doubt, a den of liberals; I worked at a regional station once and can confirm that firsthand. I do find NPR's news, however, to be pretty straight and professional.

JohnK, those quotes from the Post indeed sound dippy, but how would you neutrally phrase the same point? Charles Krauthammer, no Obama lover, described his speech as "the boldest social democratic manifesto ever issued by a U.S. president." And my own breath was in fact taken when I saw that that $3.6 trillion budget proposal.
2.28.2009 1:51pm
GatoRat:
The accusation that people are less literate now is provably false and is a weak attempt to deflect attention from one of the biggest problems with modern reporting: it just isn't very good. The reporting itself generally stinks, but a bigger problem is simply poor writing by most so-called journalists.
2.28.2009 3:42pm
Desiderius:
Hugh Jass,

"(1) the MSM's repeated lies and insults about Gore in the run-up to the 2000 election (which probably resulted in Bush winning), and (2) the MSM's uncritical stance leading to the war in Iraq?"

(1) Gore was, and is, in fact, a Huge Ass, which resulted in Gore tieing. I say this as a two-time Clinton and one-time Obama voter.

(2) 70% approval among the public/near unanimous backing in Congress/general consensus on a number of casus belli that were conveniently forgotten after the fact when hay was to be made politically/circulation-wise.
3.1.2009 12:10am
Elliot123 (mail):
"I do find NPR's news, however, to be pretty straight and professional."

In NPR's Thursday interview of Senator Gregg, the questions were so biased in their premises that Gregg even called the intervewer out, responding once, "Well, that may be NPR's position..."
3.1.2009 12:15am
trotsky (mail):
Politicians often dislike reporters' questions, you know, but I'll check it out.
3.1.2009 2:32am
trotsky (mail):
Having listened to the interview, that question did come across as quite loaded -- Gregg got in a smooth retort.

That said, the show gave five minutes to a harsh and fluent critic of the administration to explain his position. That's what you do you when you're airing all sides of a debate.
3.1.2009 2:46am
David Crisp (www):
Exactly. The NPR reporter did ask Gregg at least one really loaded question, but it also was a perfectly legitimate question. He gave a sharp answer, and that answer was aired fully. That's typical for NPR. The questions may (or may not) come from liberal bias, but the people who are asked the questions are treated fairly and given ample opportunity to respond.
3.1.2009 9:44pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I'd have to agree with your recollections of the NPR interview. Gregg did score good points, and slapped the interviewer down pretty well. But the pattern continues. It's not at all unusual to hear questions on NPR which accept the liberal premise. You certainly don't hear the same from NPR regarding conservative positions.

After posting here, I heard another exchange where the interviewer said, "The Bush administration said XYZ. Is there any reason to believe them?" Then he gave a glowing description of the Obama position and asked, "Isn't this what the American people voted for?"
3.2.2009 5:30pm

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If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.