Tuesday, March 24, 2009

oh GOODIE!, Another Billie Stanton Editorial


Stanton: Trust us, we'll survive
Newspapers provide the antidote to the lawless, fact-free cyberworld

Internet anarchy can't fill the void newspapers would leave.

March 24, 2009, 4:29 p.m.
Tucson Citizen

Newspapers are being felled across the land - victims of overextended media chains, corporate greedheads, a searing recession and a singular lack of foresight and imagination amid the dawn of the Internet, craigslist, blogs and Twitter (which I believe is an incurable genetic condition).

No, just like any other business, they are victims of their own inability to respond to the market. It's the same reason that you don't find a whole lot of typewriter stores out in the local strip mall.

And dang it, I have imagination! I find that personally insulting that your editorial is worth any more or less than my editorial, simply because your's is printed on paper and read by tens of subscribers, while mine is read by, well, probably less than ten people, but hey... I don't do it for the fame or the ego, I do it to vent my frustration over idiots like you who receive a pay check from writing one column a week, while I work a 40+ hour a week job to come home and then write most every night. You're just jealous because you probably tried to blog and found out that your blog was as well attended as mine.

Surviving dailies are ordering layoffs, pay cuts and unpaid furloughs for staff members, while hunkering down to continue business as usual.

(They're even slicing into the salaries of newspapers' top dogs - who, a la AIG, wisely now rely more heavily on bonuses.)

Yeah, welcome to the real world, your bosses are trying their damndest to keep you employed, and you complain about their struggle to continue to provide you with employment. Nice.

Clearly, change must come. But I'll believe the newspaper industry is dead when they drive a spike through the heart of that last little Kingman Daily Miner or Summit Daily News.

Until then, reports of our profession's death will continue to be widely exaggerated.

No, it's dead, it's just like the Javelina I hit with my truck the other day - laying on the side of the road, a forgotten desert rodent twitching and thrashing as it dies a slow painful death. (By the way, if I had my rifle in my truck, I would have done the humane thing and ended it's pain. I'm not cruel.)

Tech-happy gurus Clay Shirky and Dave Winer already are dancing on a nonexistent grave, giddy that hordes of Internetters will take our place.

Shirky's new book title - "Here Comes Everyone!" - underscores his glee.

And yes, it is wonderful when common folk band together to foment change, whether via the Internet or any other means.

It's what Americans have been doing in this democratic society all along.

Those mini-revolutions usually relied on information circulated by newspapers. They still do, except now it's newspaper information that's been recycled onto the Internet.

Wow, jealous a little? You are dying inside since they have actually written a book that was printed by a publishing company, aren't you...

And yes, the internet is great. It's your stupid bosses that chose to NOT charge people like me for visiting your Tucson Citizen website. Blame them that you aren't making any money off the internet. But then again, I wouldn't pay you money to visit your website either, so... Oh, and the only 'newspaper' information I recycle is your inane opinion pieces. So, you're welcome for the exposure.

Shirky doesn't express much concern about the flip side of the fiber optic, but the Internet is where the miasma of terrorism, from radical Muslims to American Nazis, can coagulate, too.

And it's the favorite playground of petty thugs without a clue. Their uncensored slander and libel via online comments would have prompted lawsuits in an earlier age. But now they're anonymous, and they can do anything - no matter how vicious, how stupid, how wrong.

That's the Internet - a cacophony of idiocy and brilliance where everyone can join in, whether helpful or harmful.

So, the sewing circle that my wife checks out is a radical group? Playhousedisney.com?

The same could be said for any library within Pima County. Just peruse the isles...there are books there on every religion, every political group, scientific journals that describe explosive components (if you look hard enough). Not to mention the many many islamic, communist, fascist, hate-group newsletters and papers printed on home computers or small presses and mailed to their subscribers. The idiocy of saying that this kind of stupidity and hate is limited to the internet, and not print media shows your narrow-minded "life is all roses" view of life.

And yes, you do hate that EVERYONE can join in, don't you... you can't sit there and promote your leftist, socialism anymore without people like me jumping in and pointing out the sheer stupidity of your comments! Or at least the counter-argument to your leftist agenda. Yes, I am proud to be harmful to the creeping socialism that you promote week after week after week!

But Internet anarchy can't fill the void newspapers would leave. Someone still must do the often mind-numbing reporting, and someone must separate the wheat from the chaff.

Cyberspace drenches you in misinformation, some sophisticated and subtle, some not.

Mark Morford nails it on sfgate.com: "Whom do you trust? How do you know? How the hell do you actually find anything resembling balance and context and through-line, when no one has an editor and anyone can say anything and the concept of 'journalistic professionalism' is nowhere to be found, because no one wants to pay for it?"

Like everyone else, I sit back, listen to them, wait for corroboration from other sources. Just like anyone else does. Yes, there are idiots that see one fallacy and take it and run with it. But then again, there a lot of idiots that read the Skin-head newsletters that arrive in the mail...so print is not immune. Not to mention all the reliable and factual reporting that the Tucson Citizen has done with local stories like Rio Nuevo. I have heard many times from the State Reps. mouths information that you either twist or outright ignore. So just how accurate are you? No more than anyone else, since you have not shown yourself to be any more truthful than most of my information websites. Besides, CNN has never printed a paper...does that make them untrustworthy?

But newspapers dead? Not on my life.

Oh, don't tease us like that...

Actually, I wish you no harm, I just wish you would go along with your paper... somewhere else.

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