Speaking of Garfield, he speaks on On The Media with overly quoted newspaper industry analyst John Morton, who acts as if there’s nothing strategically broken with the business he covers… because, one presumes, he still wants a business to cover.
BOB GARFIELD: I want to ask you about the Internet. Newspapers are losing readers to online sources. They’re also losing classified advertising, the most profitable part of their business, to online outfits like Craigslist and so forth. Is there anyone who’s getting that figured out and do you have any idea how that’s going to play out?
JOHN MORTON: Well, let me make a couple of observations. One is that the newspapers’ problems with circulation began long before there was an Internet. It’s been exacerbated by the Internet. It’s retail, it’s gone south. But, so far, the Internet has not become such a powerful force that you can attribute any decline in the newspaper business to it. But clearly, you know, the Internet is only going to get to be a bigger and bigger factor, and newspapers probably made a big mistake in the beginning when they adopted the assumption that everybody expects everything on the Internet to be free.
Oh, that fairy tale again.
Next time you see John Morton quoted — and you will — take him not just with a grain but with a whole box of Morton’s Salt.