Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

When the News Isn’t Fit to Print

I’ve been visiting the family in Ohio and I’ve had some interesting conversations with my 80 year old grandmother who is, quite rightly, appalled by the dwindling content and quality of her local paper. She wanted to know why papers seem to be dying and remarked--in the sort of colorful terms only she could summon--on the terrible shame of it. Maybe I should have just shown her this posted today by my friend Rattlergator. The "most trusted" man in television journalism, Walter Cronkite, gets the most untrustworthy send-off possible from the New York Times? The shame of this deserves even more colorful language than my dear grandmother can muster. But that’s why I told her I can’t stand the tyranny of printed "news" and haven’t bothered to subscribe to a paper in more than 10 years (we get our local rag for free and without asking)--that, and the fact that by the time you get your news in a paper, it isn’t "news" anymore.

I understand the not wanting to sit and read on a computer part of the problem (especially at 80) but, in time and with things like Kindle, I expect the comfort issues will be overcome. But even with the strain on the eyes and the inconvenience of having to be tied to a wall or a clunky notebook, I could never go back to the tyranny of a newspaper where you can’t simultaneously search for more information, fact check for yourself, find commentary and then comment to your friends and enemies about what you’ve read. Maybe it’s a sign of my youthful (er . . . well, comparatively speaking, anyway) impatience with slow moving things, but I don’t like my news stale or thrown at me as if I were a peasant and it a bread crumb from on high (which is why I also do not like TV news with its repetitive and obnoxious droning). I don’t want another NYT or Walter Cronkite to emerge and be considered "the leading authority" . . . though God rest both of their souls. Perhaps this means chaos . . . but if it does, I like it. Besides, I don’t miss the ink stains on my fingers, trying to deal with the impossible dimensions of a broadside while curled up in bed or sitting at the breakfast table, or, still worse . . . the flickering of 24 hour television news station while trying to sleep. All the news is not, indeed, fit to print . . . and if it is worth watching, there’s always YouTube. I’m not "Kindling" yet but I hope and expect that improvements will, eventually, drive me to it. But, for now, when I go to the trouble of printing something out and taking it to read in bed, it had better be good.

Discussions - 9 Comments

That is very sad. News today also keeps up with the trends we are in. In that past, people rely mostly in printed newspaper to catch the daily news today or what are happening in the surrounding. But with the invention of technology, the computer and internet, people are now rely in them to have an update in what is happening in our surrounding. That is good news to the youth today because; they get easily impatient if everything is slow. With internet, they have everything they needed in just a click plus, they are able to have many information they want. That is a good point to the youth. But what about to the people who rely to newspaper? To those who have got used to newspapers? What will happen to them? I just hope that even if we have now the internet, the newspaper publications should not be forgotten. I just hope that it can be resolved without using any payday loans no faxing.

Julie, the link is defective.

I get the weekend paper for the coupons. An article in the Beacon Journal illustrates why I don't have any interest in print journalism. There is a lengthy article about a man who claims he was injured by pro-life demonstrators and is stuck with a huge medical bill. There was no effort made in the article to get the other side of the story, none. Just a totally unjustified linkage to the murderer of Tiller.

The NLT drinking game used to be to down a shot whenever an NLT poster dropped the name of a 'founding father' but now it is whenever they call whatever they oppose 'tyranny'. If Mrs. Ponzi's attention span protests the tyranny of the lengthy news article, no doubt a serious book calls for reference to Pol Pot. Also, something tells me there are serious limits to her calls for the democratization of interpretation. News memes - ok. Supreme court rulings in her ideological favor - not so much.

Is this the article you were referring to, Mr. Williams? I guess it's possibly not the same one, or a bit different, as I know online editions can vary from print editions, but this version certainly doesn't strike me as being lopsided in its coverage.

You described it as an "...article about a man who claims he was injured by pro-life demonstrators and is stuck with a huge medical bill."

This article isn't fully centered on the injured man, but does discuss the incident and his injuries briefly. Do you doubt that he was actually injured by abortion opponents, as described? Perhaps the article should cite a police officer or report, but apparently the attacker wasn't apprehended. It does cite several eyewitnesses, notably abortion opponents, who don't deny that the attacker was on their side of the issue, so I'm not sure how that fits with your take on the article, that "There was no effort made in the article to get the other side of the story, none." :

"Members of the anti-abortion group said they weren't happy that Wright was hurt and tried to assist him after it happened. They say the perpetrator was not a regular member of their group — something that Wright acknowledged. The man left the scene before police arrived, and so far has not been identified.

Tom Pennell of Canal Fulton, who is often at the clinic on Saturdays, said Wright was antagonizing the man who attacked him, getting in his face. 'He was talking in foul, profane language,' he said.

Michael Tice of Akron, who said he witnessed the incident, agreed that Wright was unusually aggressive and he believed the attacker was just defending himself."

Mr. Williams also claimed that the article, rather than getting comments from the abortion opponents (which doesn't seem to be true) also had "a totally unjustified linkage to the murderer of Tiller."

The article I've linked to says:

"The decades-long debate on abortion heated up on the streets of Akron Saturday, with demonstrators for and against setting up camp on separate sides of East Market Street in front of an abortion clinic.

The display is part of a national trend of increasing tension between the two sides since the May 31 slaying of George Tiller, a Kansas physician who performed late-term abortions."

That seems like a very fair description of things to me...


There is much to be said in favor of newspapers, despite all the bias. Electronic media of any kind are no substitute. When newspapers are gone,
the country will be poorer, and my guess is that the liberals will have even less of a check on their power.
As for attention span, the proper attention span is not what someone feels like, but what the material calls for.

Sorry, Kate. Fixed it. Today was a travel day.

The article I was referring to was in Saturday's or Friday's paper. The Sunday article was more balanced and I think was written by a different reporter. Let's hope some editor flagged the original article and tried to fix the problem by assigning a different reporter to give a balanced account.

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