Saturday, February 10, 2007

What's a poor newspaper supposed to do?

Here is a link to a blog post by Cincinnati Enquirer editor David Wells -
In his post, Mr Wells mentions the 12+billions disappeared in Iraq, Dick Cheney and the trial of Scooter Libby, and Iran "going nuclear", and wonders why stories like the death of Anna Nicole Smith, and the adventure of a whacko astronaut seem to be so much more important to the public. He ends with the plaintive question "How, when and why have stories that used to be fit only for supermarket tabloids been elevated to the mainstream?"
I tried to post a comment on his blog regarding his query( a pointed but softer criticism than the one here), but he chose not to allow it, so now i'm pissed. My expanded comment follows.

It is the news media that determines what is important, not the public. Your newspaper, Mr. Wells, as part of the media, is who decides which stories to run and play up for weeks on end, and which stories to mention only in passing (or not at all) without any followup.

The framers of the Constitution were so aware of the importance of an unfettered, unrestrained press to the preservation of democracy that they regarded it as a duty. They wrote the First Amendment, a guarantee against censorship OF the press, specifically so that the press was free to perform that duty by exposing the excesses of the government. What they failed to foresee however, is what we have now, censorship BY the press.

For years, your paper and most other media in this country, have steadfastly refused to do any meaningful reporting that would expose the flaws, lies, cronyism, theft and deceptions of the Bush/Cheney administration. You prefer to let them go unchallenged while they destroy the Bill of Rights, bankrupt the Treasury for generations to come, and plan pre-emptive nuclear strikes against sovereign nations. Instead, you fill your "news"paper with ceaseless mindless blather about Hollywood celebrities, whacked-out astronauts, and countless other inanities as if they were truly momentous and life-altering to the reader. You have abdicated your First Amendment DUTY by failing to report on the really important issues of government confronting us, which would help to ensure an open and honest government. If "ignorance is bliss", your readers can thank you for their happiness. On the other hand, if "silence is consent", what does that infer about the motives of your paper?

The Cincinnati Enquirer is the tabloid you denigrate, Mr. Wells. You promote the vacuous mindset of your readership by shoddy reporting and then dare to question how their attitudes came to be? Your question is disingenuous and insulting, Mr Wells. Rather than asking it, you should be apologizing to your readers for all the years of damage and disservice your paper has inflicted.

Your paper, Mr. Wells, instead of of functioning as a primary defender of our democracy, has devolved into something else entirely, to the detriment of our nation.

ADDENDUM: here is a link to a blog post by David Wells responding to my assumption that my previous comment on this story was blocked, and my apology.

ADDENDUM: 2/14/07-- Read this link- Carl Bernstein in PBS Frontline interview makes my case.

ADDENDUM: 2/14/07-- Check this out. Makes it all a little clearer, as you'll see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! - sis