Saving journalism isn’t about saving jobs

Every time we hear about another cutback in newspapers — and there are plenty of them these days — we automatically hear the notion that journalism jobs must be saved to save journalism. I’m afraid it’s time to challenge that assumption.

Saving journalism isn’t about saving jobs or even newspapers. In fact, the goal shouldn’t be just to save journalism but to grow it, expand it, explode it, taking advantage of all the amazing new means to gather and share news we have today.

Start with the real goals, which are informing society, keeping power in check, improving people’s lives, making connections (right?) and then ask what the best ways are to do that today. After that, you can ask what the role of journalists and newspapers should be.

Maybe we need fewer people in newsrooms and need to take money to hire a lot more people outside newsrooms to gather more news. Maybe we need to put resources into training those people or vetting their work. Maybe we simply need to recognize that news is no longer a monopoly business that can operate at monopoly margins and we need to prioritize where we put our resources. Maybe we need to look at online as a primary source of current news and at newspapers as a source of analysis and perspective and unique reporting. Maybe we can’t support daily newspapers everywhere. Maybe some of those journalists will become independent publishers (see: Debbie Galant at Baristanet) and newspaper companies will run ad networks.

: There’s a great discussion going on in Philadelphia about saving the Daily News and that’s why I’m asking these questions: What does it mean to save it?

It started with Will Bunch writing on the Daily News blog Attytood. Philly blog king Karl Martino picked this up and sent email to folks he knows — bloggers, journalists, educators — suggesting that we get together to help explore this with Bunch. And the Philadelphia Inquirer’s blog prince, Dan Rubin, weighed in just as cutbacks were going on in his newsroom. Bunch’s opener was wonderful. Yes, he starts lamenting the loss of journalists’ jobs — of course; they are his friends and his colleagues and the people who produce his paper — but then he goes on to see the necessity of a different, a bigger future:

As I write this, the Daily News – where even before this fall the newsroom, with its depopulated desks, looked like a neutron bomb had struck, and where management chose to not even replace three staffers who died in 2004 – is nevertheless losing another 25 journalists, or 19 percent of the total….

It’s human nature, I guess, but the first inclination is to blame somebody, and there’s plenty of blame to go around….

But assigning blame won’t save the Philadelphia Daily News. Besides, much of the blame really lies with us, as journalists. We have, for the most part, allowed our product to become humorless and dull. In an era when it seems most people truly will be famous for 15 minutes, newspapers have stubbornly avoided creating personalities…or having a personality, for that matter. In a pathologically obsessive quest for two false goddesses – named Objectivity and Balance – we have completely ceded the great American political debate to talk radio, cable TV and the Internet, where people have learned that politics is actually interesting and even fun when people are allowed to take sides.

We prefer to talk down to the public rather than talk to them. Even at our very best – and there are many, many talented newspaper journalists in America – we are more likely to aim at wooing contest judges than at wooing new readers. And we have a knee-jerk tendency to defend our narrow world of messy ink printed on dead trees, when instead the time is here to redefine who we are and what we do.

We are, and can continue to be, the front-line warriors of information — serving up the most valuable commodity in a media-driven era. But that means we must be the message, not the medium, and so we must adjust to give consumers news in the high-tech ways that they are asking for, not the old-tech way that we are confortable with.

If we don’t change, we will die – and it will be our fault.

It defies all the conventional wisdom, but I believe that the Philadelphia Daily News can be an agent of that change – and not a victim. In fact, in seeking to destroy the Daily News in a death of a thousand cuts, our corporate masters in San Jose have, unintentionally, liberated us – because having nothing left to lose is another term for freedom.

Because with a staff that is now too small to cover every news story, we can learn how to cover just the stories that truly matter to people, and cover the heck out of them….

Hence, the “norg.” “Norg” because we need to lose our old identity with one dying medium, newspapers, and stress our most valuable commodity, the one that we truly own, and that is news…without the paper. Thus, we must now be news organizations, or “norgs.” …

Everybody up off your feet and give Bunch a standing O. That is exactly the kind of attitude and imagination and determination that will, indeed, save journalism.

This is what the Online News Association meeting should have been about. This is what journalism school must be about.

This isn’t about circling wagons defensively anymore. Nor is it about cutbacks. Nor denial. Nor resenting the new guys. This is about invention.

: Meanwhile the shock therapy goes on.

A major stockholder wants Knight Ridder to put itself up for sale.

Goldman Sachs says it’s a crappy year for newspapers:

I’s official: 2005 will be the newspaper industry’s worst year since the last ad industry recession. And things aren’t looking much better for next year either, according to a top Wall Street firm’s report on newspaper publishing. “Sadly, 2005 is shaping up as the industry’s worst year from a revenue growth perspective since the recession impacted 2001-2002 period,” says the report from Goldman Sachs, adding a warning that meaningful growth in 2006 is “very unlikely.”

The Wall Street Journal says the failing newspaper industry will see consolidation (free link):

Along with steel, autos and airlines, daily newspapers would seem to be yet another mature U.S. industry that is prime for consolidation. Analysts are increasingly pessimistic about the prospects for growth as advertising revenue continues to move online. Stocks of many newspaper companies now trade near multiyear lows….

Newspapers still dominate local news and advertising in many markets. That could attract a company such as Yahoo, which has moved increasingly into original content and would like to develop its local reach. Meanwhile, Google Inc. has expressed interest in entering the classified-ad market, where newspapers have deep relationships and continue to play a dominant role. Knight Ridder is part-owner of CareerBuilder Inc., the online classified Web site that competes with Monster.com….

But Knight Ridder’s larger papers are the ones buyers are most likely to balk at. These papers, like those at many newspaper companies, are dragging down the company. Big-city papers have taken it on the chin as urban advertisers and readers have defected to the Internet. Knight Ridder has distressed papers in Philadelphia, Miami and San Jose, Calif. Circulation in those markets is falling, and big advertisers such as department stores are consolidating.

Lately, some of the most successful newspaper companies have stayed in the newspaper business by getting out of it. Washington Post Co. and E.W. Scripps Co., for instance, have both diversified into other industries….

If I owned a newspaper, I’d sell it, wouldn’t you? If I were Yahoo, would I buy it? Maybe only Yahoo and Google could consolidate the advertising marketplace to make big media work still.

I’m not going to complain about media consolidation when all this happens (though I know plenty of others will). What we’re seeing, I’ll say again, is just the dinosaurs huddling against the cold of the internet ice age. The poor, old, lumbering beasts have to stick together.

For the growth isn’t going to be on the big side. The growth is going to be on the small side, in new, ad hoc networks of content, promotion, advertising, and trust…. networks that could spring out of the one that is swarming around Bunch’s post, networks that care about news.

The goal is to save daily news, whether or not you save the Daily News.

  • http://www.laurencehaughton.com laurence haughton

    If Dell called a meeting today, brought in their executives, engineers, and some “b-school” professors, and asked them to decide what Dell should do to increase revenues… you’d rightly ask “So where are the customers in all this discussion?”

    The news business depends on two distinct customers to succeed; readers (viewers, listeners) and advertisers. Both groups are dissatisfied for good reason. Both are ready to defect, if they haven’t defected already. And while I see some small effort to listen to the voice of the reader everyone just assumes they “know” what the client wants. (BTW the client is the actual decision making group from the client company not their surrogates or buying agents.)

    Want to save your news business? Start by asking your customers. They have all the answers and all the money.

  • Old Grouch

    [Disclaimer: Snarkage referring to the press in general, not the Daily News in particular.]

    We have, for the most part, allowed our product to become humorless and dull.

    “humorless”==”reflecting politically correct self-censorship” “dull”==”uninformative”

    We prefer to talk down to the public rather than talk to them.

    Because “we,” the enlightened, think we know better than those rubes who buy our stuff.

    …we are more likely to aim at wooing contest judges than at wooing new readers…

    …and now the rubes have discovered our superior attitude, and they’re pissed. Oops!

    In a pathologically obsessive quest for two false goddesses – named Objectivity and Balance

    No, while repeatedly invoking Objectivity and Balance while failing to achieve either…

    we have completely ceded the great American political debate…

    You know, you can’t have a debate if everyone takes the same position.

    …politics is actually interesting and even fun when people are allowed to take sides

    So the answer is to compete with the internet and talk radio on their own terms? They give it away for free. You want to charge. What kind of a business model is that?

    can be an agent of that change – and not a victim

    “Changing the world” vs. “Reporting the news.” Review the many discussions here and on Jay Rosen’s site. Then reflect: (A portion of) your market is trying to tell you something. Are you hearing them?

    …with a staff that is now too small to cover every news story, we can learn how to cover just the stories that truly matter to people

    The way the Los Angeles Times does(n’t)?

  • Old Grouch

    OT administrivia: The stylesheet for small class=”commentmetadata” appears to contain an unclosed or stray <strong> or <b> tag.

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  • http://r2000.blogspot.com Alex Dorph

    I fear that the decline in print media is due simply to the fact that the format doesnt really mesh with life anymore. I enjoy the paper, when I happen to sit down next to one. But I much prefer the internet as a news source. Free, instantly updating…. And on top of it all, no trees have to be cut down to run cnn.com


  • AlanC

    Since when has journalism been about “… informing society, keeping power in check, improving people’s lives, making connections (right?)”

    I’ll give you number one. That’s what journalism is about. All of those other things are the fantasies of an elite that thinks it is better than the customers (aka unwashed, ignorant rabble).

    If you perform #1 then it is up to the people NOT YOU to perform #2 or #3 or #4, if they, the people, in their, now informed wisdom, choose to do so!

    But that’s the real problem with “journalism” today. All these idealistic elitests concentrate on 2, 3 & 4 only delving into #1 when it fits their agenda.

  • Eileen

    If “the goal is to save daily news” then I suggest the media start reporting it. As a few here have noted, journalists don’t seem to be listening to – or caring to hear – their FORMER readers and viewers. Maybe that’s the chronic malady which is consuming those geriatric, dying dinosours.

    They still seem to think they can manipulate and control our thoughts, ideologies and votes by plastering their airwaves and papers with their left wing agendas daily, by marching in lockstep with our enemies daily, by Failing to report what’s taking place in the world outside their own agendas daily, and by doing everything destructive in their power to bring us down. Too strong an assessment?

    Not to over 50% of the country which is NOT represented by MSM’s biased, fictitious, non-factual, agenda driven non-coverage.

    Let’s just take one news category today related to Islam. Unless you’re one of many millions like me who find their news elsewhere, you wouldn’t know that Muslims have been burning and rioting outside Paris (20 some banlieus at last count) for EIGHT DAYS now….OR that Muslims have been rioting for several days in Denmark….or that the Islamic Society of Boston has sued a local newspaper, the local Fox channel and others for violation of their (laughing now) “Ist Amendment Rights” and defamation in an effort to shut up anyone who dares speak the truth about Islam. I could add many more world events and outrages related to the WOT occuring this instant but those who care are already aware. Have I heard about any of these events on the nightly news? I think the NYT mentioned the Paris riots on about page 12, and only got around to including the *fact* that the rioters are Muslims in the 18th of 19 paragraphs. Then there’s 24/7 “news network” MSNBC, which has only been droning on about Scooter and Rosa for days on end.

    If the dinosaurs don’t want to completely die, they’d better start reporting the news – and stop attempting to feed us the swill from their agenda wagons. Quite frankly, I don’t think you can teach the lefty MSM new tricks, so I’ll be quite happy when they all fail.

    *Fair and balanced reporting*.

    *Reporting the facts and nothing but the facts*.

    These are simply quaint anachronisms from days of yore. As long as journo types insist on trying to do Anything To or For us other than fully inform us of the facts, they will not survive in any format. So be it.

    Can anyone persuade me as to why I should *trust* my enemies?

  • Vulgorilla

    All I want out of a news organization is the facts pertaining to the news event, as honestly and as truthfully as they can be reported, regardless of the political agenda of either the news organization or the journalists. Period.

    If they are incapable of doing that, then I really don’t care if they survive or not, as they produce nothing of value, in my opinion. That’s what’s happening to the TSM (MSM) today, and is one of the many reasons that newspapers are going down the toilet. If I want propaganda, I’ll subscribe to the NYT or the LAT or WaPo or whatever. If the news event doesn’t fit their political aganda, then they’ll ignore it, or fabricate something, or intentionally omit something. Why would I want to pay money for that? I don’t and I won’t! It’s just that simple. Opinions belong on the editorial page, not the front page which is just the opposite of what exists today. They can’t die out fast enough fro me.

  • http://susanmernit.blogspot.com susan mernit

    Good post, Jeff–you have done a great job articulating what the future could/should look like–and also captured the great spirit of some of the people at the Philly paper.

  • http://www.lexalexander.net Lex

    Can I interject just a small note of reality into these “just the facts” ravings (for that’s exactly what they are)?

    Facts are useless absent context. Historically, context is what newspapers have provided that set them apart from, and made them superior to, other forms of news media.

    That’s not to say other media cannot provide context. In most cases, however, they’ve chosen not to. Somehow, large percentages of Americans have come to view this omission as a Good Thing: Local TV news, in some polls, has a (somewhat) higher level of trust among Americans than local newspapers. Reader research suggests that that context also is frequently (mis)understood by readers to be left-wing bias.

    That’s not to say most journalists aren’t moderate to liberal. They are. (But in a list of all the kinds of bias that affect what you read in the news columns of the paper every day, political liberalism wouldn’t make the Top 5 in terms of its influence; see Andrew Cline’s Rhetorica.net for info on what would.) That IS to say, however, that many, many Americans don’t know the difference between context and bias. And if saying so makes me elitist, well, I’m still going to sleep soundly tonight because it’s a stone fact.

    And I’ve been a Republican for almost 30 years.

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    The first comment by Laurence Haughton said it all, followed up nicely by Eileen. It all boils down to terrible business sense by a bunch of fanatical ideologues.

    If this new guy at CBS kicks the commi’s out and effectively breaks the MSM’s cartel…..I think we can finally use those “20,000 body bags” for the Big Media people.

    Next up, a shareholder class action against the management of the NYT. After all, they are a public company with a legal obligation to practice good business.

  • http://lesterblog.blogspot.com Jon Lester

    I’m surprised that it’s only now we’re challenging the idea that saving journalism jobs will save journalism. To me, that ignores the fact that journalists exist in every society, every economy and that journalism is an act of reporting, as you say.

    As evidenced in the above comments, many of us agree that some people with journalism jobs are not necessarily practicing journalism.

  • Jim S

    Yawn. Same old, same old from the conservative commenters. Anyone who doesn’t blindly worship George Bush and agree completely with their viewpoint is an evil ideologue who wants to brainwash them. No one but Fox News and Powerlines ever tells the truth. What a crock.

    Lex is right, btw. A simple recitation of the facts from today with absolutely no context can be worse than not knowing the facts at all.

    Alan, if they aren’t ignorant what do they need the paper for? Think about it.

  • Eileen

    Yes, Jim S, yawnin’ right back atcha.

    But the so-called conservative commenters here aren’t the ones going out of business due to stupidity and bias. My God, what will you do when you have to *eventually* hear some fair and balanced reporting, without propagandized contextual features and chosen facts (or conveniently deleted facts or ENTIRE news stories) that don’t happen to meet *your* agenda?

    I would laugh, but manners dictate a modicum of decorum at funerals. Hear the dinos roar. If they were as smart as they claim to be – all superior and nuanced as they claim to be vis a vis those they’re attempting to brainwash and control – they’d learn something on their death beds. But nah, they’re bulldozers. They think if they just repeat the same tripe and lies often enough they’ll browbeat the rest of us into submission; hence, their very public, not the least bit nuanced displays of suicide. They’re not huddled together warding off the interneticeage, they’re huddled together in their collective, myopic stupidity.

    Yes, CaptiousNut. Bring on those shareholder derivative suits against the mighty, malignant MSM…time to cut out the tumors.

    As Jon said, unfortunately many journalists aren’t ‘doing their jobs’ at all. Maybe the journo schools need to revise their curricula and get a clue as well. Otherwise, they’re only going to cultivate baby dinos headed straight to the tarpits of their ancestors.

    Hints: it is NOT the job of media to propagandize. It is NOT the job of media to ‘show us the way’ to YOUR ideological truth and light. It is NOT the job of media to accomplish #s2, 3 and 4 on Jeff’s list.

    You can choose to listen to former readers/viewers/listeners or not. How tough is this to figure out, eh? And trust me, it is *not* about making the news more ‘entertaining’…so no standing O there, either.

  • http://www.askderekscruggs.com Derek Scruggs

    Eileen:

    They still seem to think they can manipulate and control our thoughts, ideologies and votes by plastering their airwaves and papers with their left wing agendas daily, by marching in lockstep with our enemies daily[…]

    These are simply quaint anachronisms from days of yore.

    Ah, yes… How I yearn for the days of Hearst’s objective little war with Spain…

    The country has moved radically to the right for the last 25 years – to the point that no political candidate would dare call himself “liberal” (even though John Adnerson was a self-described liberal Republican, and no one snickered) – but somehow the liberal media continues to exercise thought control.

    You are pathetic.

  • Eileen

    No, Derek, of course they don’t *ever* call themselves liberals…it’s all about nuance and obfuscation. The media is the last vestige of their MO, and IT ain’t working either.

    As for your puny insult (hear them roar), guess you’ll know why I wouldn’t bother to ever click on your web site. Hope you aren’t relying on ad clicks for survival.

  • button

    Quick Drop-In. Was offline due to Wilma. We finally got power, telephone and SatTV back this evening– just in time to watch Jim DeFede, who was recently fired by The Miami Herald newspaper, on CBS4 TV! He thought it was the end of the world when the print newspaper let him go. But lookee what happened.

    Really missed you and Howard Kurtz. Oh, yes, and Harvey Birdman, too.

    Will get back online when I can. Don’t know when yet, because we’re all being evicted from The Fleabag Hotel. God willing, I shall return.

    Best regards :-)

  • penny

    You are pathetic.

    Derek, listen up, sweetie, not a single comment registered on your whatever blog of two line nothingness and you call Eileen pathetic?

    If that was your best shot, she won. Whatever woodwork you came out of is pathetic.

    Her points have validity stated with reason and compelling pathos. Re-check your blog.

  • Ravo

    Re media reporting facts…
    Excellent Eileen!

    Joe Wilson’s another example:

    “They are determined to make Wilson a hero. Recall the dozens of times the Washington Post and The New York Times carried his lies on the front page, above the fold. The conclusive story discrediting Wilson was buried 6 feet deep, back by the obituaries.

    To the media, it doesn’t matter that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence says Wilson lied about what he did and with whom he met while investigating Iraqi attempts to purchase “yellowcake” uranium.

    To the media, it doesn’t matter that the CIA says what Wilson did actually find supported that Iraq was attempting to buy the uranium — a direct contradiction to Wilson’s public claims.

    To the media, it doesn’t matter that he claimed the vice president assigned him to the uranium investigation when we all know now it was his wife.”

    http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=574&topicId=100007243&docId=l:323649205&start=15

  • Some Guy

    OOOKayyy!

    I think this comment thread shows distinctly why it’s not possible to have an honest discussion of ideas on any internet forum.

    Eileen, you are a twit, how much are you drawing from the Scaife foundation this month?

    From where I live (as a nuts and bolts techie, with a “liberal arts” background) I see the news business being disaggregated, on the one hand the public record function of newspapers, is being taken over by databases, search engines and other systems of record. The interpretational function, the selection and arrangement of facts into coherent narratives is being taken up blogs more and more to the detriment of traditional news organisations, because blogs have fewer responsibilities and greater motivation to serve a larger narrative (and many blogs flat out lie about their funding support California Conservative we’re looking at you and it aint pretty ).

    Myself, I would support a news service that delivered factual news and whose selection bias was clear and above board (i pay to subscribe to the economist), but not one whose selection bias was decoupled from reality, as for instance Instapundit, or DailyKos where emotions are treated as facts for the purpose of argument.

  • AlanC

    To all those babbling on about “facts are useless” we need “context” and “interpretation” for “the narrative”, you are demonstrating your elitest snobbery to a fine degree.

    Gee, just what is “context”? Might it be the collection of “facts” from the preceding days, months, years? You know, those “facts” that the NEWS papers should have been providing all along?

    And exactly what are you “interpreting” to further your narrative? Are you deciding that certain “facts” only clutter up the smooth propaganda that you want to push, so you can blithely leave them out?

    The proper role of news media is to provide the facts, if they also want to process the raw facts into an opinion piece (aka interpretational narrative) fine, just label it as such.

    The current MSM only provide interpretational narratives so the customers don’t know what was left out. Which “facts” didn’t fit the narrative so were tossed, which stories weren’t covered at all or which “facts” were nothing more than lies or rumors with no verification. You know, “fake but accurate” narratives.

    I’m perfectly capable of determining my own interpretation and applying my own judgement. I don’t need the MSM to force feed me THEIR slant.

    Oh, and Jim S, everyone is ignorant about something, even you. And yes, especially journalists. When I see stories on subjects about which I AM an expert that are full of half-truths, spin and just plain mistakes, it makes me wonder why I should trust their words on things that I am not expert at.

    So maybe you need to get down off your pedestal and realize that taken as a whole, those customers are far less ignorant than the reporters.
    Just review Rathergate and you will see how quickly the networked expertise can be brought to bare.

  • http://www.phillyfuture.org Karl

    Tell me Alan – if a similar event to the signing of the declaration of independence were to happen today – how should it be reported? As a news blurb – without any contextual information to understand it?

    Do you realize what that news blurb – just the facts – sound like?

  • AlanC

    Engaging in hypothetical sophistry are we, Karl?

    The signing of the declaration was NOT the only fact. If it was the only fact reported that would be a perfect example of what I’m speaking of. It is the omission of facts and stories that is the most damning indictment of the MSM.

    The content of the Declaration would also be a fact, as would every speech and writing, both pro and con be facts. As would the imposition of taxes, etc. by the Monarchy. If all those “facts” had been reported, as they should have been, what is your point? The “news blurb” that the document had been signed would indeed be perfectly well handled in a blurb. The context that is so loved by everyone would already be in the public domain.

    Of course, our current MSM would NOT have reported all the context. They would have edited the Federalist Papers and elided the tax laws and used “interpretations” by partisans instead of source documents only quoting one side because they, the MSM, are more concerned with their “interpretational narrative” (aka propaganda) then they are with facts, honesty and truth.

  • http://www.askderekscruggs.com Derek Scruggs

    Derek, listen up, sweetie, not a single comment registered on your whatever blog of two line nothingness and you call Eileen pathetic?

    This is a typical wingnut response. If you can’t argue the facts, change the subject.

    You’re looking at the wrong criteria. It doesn’t matter how many comments I have on my blog. People can be fools regardless of what happens on my web site.

    So regardless of my blog, Eilieen and you are – objectively, as others here can see – numbnuts.

    And even if you use that criteria, where’s your all-powerful blog? Or Eileen’s? Maybe those evil liberals in the media took that from you too.

    I used to vote Republican until the moonbats took over.

  • kat

    (I used to vote Republican until the moonbats took over.) They haven’t taken over–you just joined them.

  • Eileen

    For those who can only resort to personal attacks and insults, purportedly in furtherance of civilized debate:

    Hear them roar. Do you really think you can shut people up in this fashion? Objectively speaking, what does your need to attack say about you, your maturity level, your ability to consider others’ viewpoints, your comfort level with playing the bully, your ability to engage in civilized debate? But I know you’re grieving.. Your boys in the MSM are commiting suicide right before your very eyes! It must be very, very difficult for you. What will you do when your one dimensional mouthpiece/propaganda machine is Completely DEAD? I guess that’s the most scary prospect regarding your huddling dinosaurs’ of all.

    Well, they never did seem to embrace capitalism to begin with. Now they’re *really* proving to themselves how it doesn’t work at all! We always knew they were the ‘smarter’ bunch, so no surprise there, either.

    Derek, you and some guy out there just try and have a great day now, ok? This too shall pass…we are never given more than we can bear, etc. ;]

  • Ravo

    Now they’re *really* proving to themselves how it doesn’t work at all!

    While those of us on the outside looking in observe capitalism truly does work.

    The marketplace emerges a winner; as it seeks the qualities of truth and integrity as big media’s replacement.

  • Eileen

    Exactly, Ravo! Moreover, the Dereks and Some Guys have nothing to fear, ultimately, for the dinos’ replacement(s) will ALSO *fairly* represent the left’s positions and views as a result of those same qualities of truth, integrity…and balanced, factual reporting.

  • Jorge

    Saving journalism is a great idea. Saving what journalism stands for ‘ truth in news ‘ is the greatest idea for sustaining a great democracy. What good is news if it is hijacked by propagandist traitors of our sacred soil.

  • penny

    where’s your all-powerful blog?

    By invitation only.

    Just because you post a few lines of tripe along with millions of other bloggers makes you hardly unique.

    We aren’t talking any barriers to entry in blogging as you’ve proven. Millions of people have blogs now. It’s not an endeavor requiring much skill set technically. So, your point was?

    And, Derek, your only counter to Eileen was the factless personal retort “you are pathetic”. That’s pathetic.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    I was delighted with this discussion… through about the first dozen posts or so. And then it went south. But don’t judge the thread by its most frayed.
    Can we please stop with the insults and talk ideas?

  • Eileen

    Ok, I’ll bite. I suspect many others here are too fed up to bother.

    You know what, Jeff? Why should the over 50% of the country, the disaffected/disenfranchised/FORMER customers/DISSED in every way by our enemy, the MSM, in terms of unreported news, malignant propaganda, fake but accurate bias and contrived BS….why should we NOW act as a ‘free focus group’ to HELP our proven enemies? Jorge’s question bears repeating…and considering and reconsidering: “What good is news if it is hijacked by propagandist traitors of our sacred soil?” Are they going to pay us to make them honest? I SINCERELY DOUBT IT!

    Why should we waste any more of our time? Clearly, the MSM is myopic, blind, deaf and dumb. Worse, they are SO entrenched in trying to win the next Congressional elections and then the Presidency through defamation, framing and lies…that they could give a rat’s ASS about what the opposition thinks. And it is WE, the opposition, who are going to bring them down where it ultimately counts – economically. They can just bet on it. And they can pretend it’s every other ‘lil ‘ole thing in the world other than the reality THEY’VE brought to bear: oh we’re too dull, oh we haven’t “LET” them engage in a political debate in our paper… Bravo, Ravo, for your discernment re my backhanded comment re the capitalistic ‘lesson’ they will NEVER recognize.

    ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.’ That’s kind of a basic in business parlance. MSM doesn’t get it, big time.

    And the MSM is too entrenched in it’s own ideological goo and slime/tarpit mentality to see it. They aren’t listening; moreover, they can’t hear anything that doesn’t fit their propaganda machine.

    I’ve got news for the MSM. You’re goin’ down.

    Now. How about reporting upon the fact that cities throughout France (not just Paris at this point) are being torched for the 9th straight day, that a disabled women was doused with gasoline and set on fire by Muslim scum intifada rioters? HINT to the MSM as to how to report upon this: they are *NOT* to be described as “poor, disaffected youths”. They are OUR enemy in the WOT. You want to bring Bush down? Then exactly how are YOU, BIG, BAD MSM gonna protect me? And how are your incompetent, impotent “leaders” like Kerry, Kennedy, Boxer, Reid, Pelosi et al. going to protect me? It’s way too late to swing hands in a circle singin’ Kumbaya, MY LORD!

    Get with the program, MSM, or just go down.

    And Jeff. It would be great if *for once* you came in to chide the group for insults after the liberals’ INITIAL, personal assaults. I know you’re a busy guy, but by now you must realize it is ALWAYS the lefties who hurl personal molotovs. And then you expect the conservatives to play nicey nice and take it in their asses? YOU don’t do so when people flame you personally! So why should your conservative commenters?! About the next time you choose to chide us at the direct ‘expense’ of your conservative crew – for that is when you do the chiding – I suspect your own comment sections will be relegated to a reverberating echo chamber/tarpit as well. Sorry, Jeff, YOU’VE dissed a few of your regulars too many times as well. Just like your brethren.

    You wanted ideas? There you go.

    And thanks, penny, kat, Ravo, Captious…for your support. Sorry you took a direct flak attack on my account, penny. I owe you, here or elsewhere…

  • Some Guy

    Well, sad to say, I came in long after it went south.

    Jeff, anonymity leads to this type of discussion, especially when you have a blog of relatively high visibility. If you required a functioning email address, and required commenters to register, perhaps even to pass a reasoning test (your basic fallacies, etc.)you might be able to assemble and hold together a diverse and opinionated set of voices, who if they knew they were building in a stable reputation economy wouldn’t be tempted to burn it down for a cheap shot. (if you want to discuss this offline, I used my rl @ in setting this comment)

    Despite Eileen’s posturing above, I think you will note that
    a. her 1st post basically accused the left 2/3rds of your readership of being traitorous fools.
    b. she was the first to insult someone by name.

    Eileen, if you are reading this:
    YHBT YFFI HAND, NGFOSWE

    As for Eileen;

  • Eileen

    “b. she was the first to insult someone by name.”

    Wrong! That would have been Derek. Followed by YOU.

    Anyone can read here.

  • Eileen

    “a. her 1st post basically accused the left 2/3rds of your readership of being traitorous fools.”

    Ahaaaa……….wrong again, bucko. LOL. Guess you don’t like my ‘disclosures’ re news of Islam, eh buckaroo?

  • Eileen

    And a guy named “some guy” is going to lecture Jeff about the vagaries of internet anonymity! Heeehaaaa. Righto, bucko.

  • Eileen

    Hey, some guy out there?

    “Eileen, if you are reading this:
    YHBT YFFI HAND, NGFOSWE”

    Are you serious??? I thought not.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Simple rule: When comments are about issues and ideas, they are good.
    When comments are about other commenters, they suck.
    Listen to yourselves, people.

  • shark

    Start with the real goals, which are informing society, keeping power in check, improving people’s lives, making connections

    And that’s why journalism is dying. Because the ONLY goal is to inform society. After that, you’re back into the same old agenda-driven bullshit that you have now.

    “Keep power in check” – Keep who’s power in check, and why? “Improve people’s lives”- again, how?

    Tell me exactly how you can accomplish this without delving back into the partisian games we’re seeing every minute now?

    We already know that you have precious little use for actual factual journalism (remember, anyone can get facts, as you stated.) You’re saying that agenda journalism needs to be saved by turning into…..agenda journalism.

    *SIGH*

    Do you ever learn?

  • shark

    unreported news

    Look at the tiny amount of coverage of the Paris riots. Also note how far down they buried the info that the rioters are Islamic.

    And precious zero about the Muslim riots in Denmark.

    The media has taken a dive about Joe Wilson the liar.

    And funny enough, when Rove and Libby “leak” something to a reporter, it’s a terrible breach of national security, but now that a leak informed the Post about possible CIA detention centers holding some vile scum…..well, I guess I wonder where the NYT editorial demanding an investigation into THIS leak is.

    Traditional media is dying? Good. Let me be the first to the piss on the grave. Kos has more credibility than Pinch Sulzberger, because at least Kos never makes any bones about his agenda.

  • Eileen

    “And funny enough, when Rove and Libby “leak” something to a reporter, it’s a terrible breach of national security, but now that a leak informed the Post about possible CIA detention centers holding some vile scum…..well, I guess I wonder where the NYT editorial demanding an investigation into THIS leak is.”

    It’s a classic, shark. [And they don’t even see their hypocrisy.] As is the nonreporting of the European “riots”/intifada, which of course has nothing to do with Islam.

    Regarding your simple rule, Jeff? I guess another basic rule regarding the ability to defend oneself here only exists when *you* are the one who is being lied about in your public forum, or defamed, maligned and abused. Bravo for YOUR free speech. That’s fair and balanced, eh? Do not expect me to suffer your fools without so much as a defense, Jeff. I would grant you the same.

    And I’m quite sure that that cryptic message to me from Some Guy wasn’t any form of threat, aren’t you/cue CentCom? I did get the part about “now go fuck off”.

    Thanks for watching my back, Jeff. Mighty obliged.

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  • Some Guy

    Jeff Said
    “””Simple rule: When comments are about issues and ideas, they are good.
    When comments are about other commenters, they suck.
    Listen to yourselves, people.”””

    The point I’ve been trying to make is that the forms into which you channel a discussion are set by the software you choose, and the rules and norms that go with that software. In this case, you’ve successfully used WordPress to recreate Usenet, it could do so much more.

    As far as the personal crap, well, when i see someone spewing toxic deceptive bile in a public forum, I call them on it, Just as I would someone spewing anti-semitic trash.

    ps. Gender Genie says that “Eileen” is a male

  • kat

    (ps. Gender Genie says that “Eileen” is a male) Just because you expect women to be uneducated and be your chattel doesn’t mean we follow that crap here. You afraid of a strong, smart woman? Gender genie says you are a eunuch, but I’m not buying.

  • Eileen

    Hilarious!

    Thx, kat ;)

  • http://coyoteatthedogshow.blogspot.com/ Swen Swenson

    “May God defend me from my friends. I can defend myself from my enemies.”

    (Variously attributed to Voltaire, Duc de Villars, or maybe even Napoleon Bonaparte)

    The problem in short: It’s far too easy to justify omitting, bending, folding, spindling, and mutilating just a few of the more inconvenient facts once you’ve convinced yourself that you’re a superior being on a saintly mission to ‘keep power in check and improve people’s lives’. After all, what are a few silly facts when you’re saving the world?

    It’s better, I think, for journalists to stick to the facts; we have more than enough self-appointed social engineers, thanks.

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