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November 18, 2005

We need a new national newspaper

-- by John Emerson

In recent weeks, the cases of Judith Miller and Bob Woodward have made the decrepitude of the Washington Post and the New York Times evident to all, and with the hiring of the unspeakable Jonah Goldberg, the LA Times seems to have decided to get on the bandwagon.

To my handful of readers this is no surprise. They know that Arthur O. Sulzberger and Donald Graham are not confused moderates, but committed bad guys. (I know less about the LA Times' ownership, but I doubt that thy're any better).

So someone should be coughing up the dough for a new national newspaper. I'm sure that a lot of the best people on those three papers are ready to jump, and the market is there. The money required is considerable, but the newspaper would soon have its own revenue flow, and this really might be a business opportunity. (Some advance thinking about the role of print media in the age of the internet might be in order).

I keep hearing about liberals with money, but they usually seem to be hibernating somewhere.

Nothing I say is true until someone else says it, so one of my famous readers should pick this up and run with it. There's nothing unrealistic about what I'm saying; we're really at a big turning point both in media history and in American history.

(Revised to remove an unjustified attack on Michael Kinsley, who did NOT hire Goldberg.)


Q.: But wait! Aren't we talking about the liberal media? If both sides hate them, aren't they doing something right?

A.: No! Conservatives hate the Post and the Times for two reasons.

First, because the right has slid so far right that they think that Senator McCain is a liberal. You have the theocrats and the neo-confederates, and the admirers of Calvin Coolidge fighting with the admirers of William McKinley, and Tom Delay thinking that DDT is a vitamin supplement and that no one should ever send their kids to college, and so on. Those guys are nuts.

Second, they don't really hate them all that bad, but they've learned that if they make a lot of noise, they'll get their way. Why else would a respectable newspaper hire the inept and ridiculous Goldberg?

Posted by John Emerson at November 18, 2005 5:30 AM

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Wasn't Kinsley cut loose from the LA Times a couple of months ago? I didn't understand what he was trying to accomplish with his redesign of the LAT editorial/opinion page, but I have to wonder if his attempts weren't sufficiently anti-liberal enough for his employers?

Posted by: Chris at November 18, 2005 6:23 AM

I sympathize.

But I wonder if "paper" is what's needed.

Readership of all papers has gone down and continues to sink.

People are (a) getting their news from other sources (TV, internet), and--mostly--(b) not getting any news at all (in large part because of TV and internet).

Whaddaya think?

Posted by: Paul Schumacher at November 18, 2005 7:19 AM

Newspapers are the main generators of content -- news and reporting. The internet is still about 95% parasitical that way. The continued decline of money spent on news over the last 20 years or so is a big problem, and the internet can't possibly pick up the slack.

I could do a lot than I do if I was more working full time with an expense account, and there are lots of better newspeople than me on the net.

Reconfiguring what a newspaper is would be necessary, but financing reporting is a must.

Posted by: John Emerson at November 18, 2005 7:31 AM

I wouldn't worry too much about Jonah being on the op-ed pages; the letters to the editor are full of snark for him and if he is there as the ony representative of the "right", isn't that a cause to cheer?

Posted by: Molly Douthett at November 18, 2005 8:48 AM

Oops. Meant to include this link.

Posted by: Molly Douthett at November 18, 2005 8:52 AM

John, I aspire to one day be famous enough to run with your ideas, because you're right.

We need to build our own channels. I'd love to see a national progressive newspaper. Hell, I'd love to even see a national *objective* newspaper.

Posted by: Shaula Evans at November 18, 2005 11:32 AM

I have been saying for years, to anyone who would listen, those of us in the greater Washington area need to take back WETA, fire Lehrer, and replace him with a journalist.

Posted by: Alice Marshall at November 18, 2005 12:16 PM

What is it with rich liberals and why are they so much more reluctant to part with their money than all those right-wing people who have built up such an impressive media infrastructure in the last 20 years?
And I agree with everything you say, Alice Marshall!

Posted by: Helga Fremlin at November 18, 2005 2:28 PM

There are two independent and progressive TV stations in existence. Unfortunately they can only be received through DISH Satellite. One is Free Speech TV on channel 9415 and the other is LINK TV on channel 9410. The have the REAL news as well as discussions and speakers such as Hearsh, Zinn, Moyers, Chomsky and the like. They not only have American based news but also a program called MOSAIC which brings news in from the middle east stations and Journal which bring in news stations from Europe. I have just about given up the rest of the TV stations (except for the Animal Planet and the weekly Monk sitcom). I have become addicted to truth and now have an opportunity to have it.

Posted by: banjopuk [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 23, 2005 11:33 AM

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