Monday Afternoon Poll

There is news today of a continued hemorrhaging of circulation for many of America’s finest daily newspapers. They’re losing readership at rate only surpassed by the speed at which Paris Hilton collects STDs.

Ordinarily, this kind of news (much like news earlier in the year of layoffs at the New York Times) makes me laugh with such severity that milk comes out my nose. Even if I’m not drinking milk.

NEW YORK — Average weekday circulation at U.S. newspapers fell 2.6 per cent during the six month-period ending in September in the latest sign of trouble in the newspaper business, an industry group reported Monday.

The declines show an acceleration of a years-long trend of falling circulation at daily newspapers as more people, especially young adults, turn to the Internet for news and as newspapers cut back on less profitable circulation.

Of the rest of the top 20 newspapers reporting, all but one, the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., posted declines generally ranging between 1 per cent and 8 per cent.

The San Francisco Chronicle, published by Hearst Corp., posted a 16.4 per cent tumble in circulation as the newspaper slashed back on less profitable, heavily discounted and giveaway circulation subsidized by advertisers.

I was just listening to Boortz on the way to pick up a disappointing grilled chicken caesar salad from Panera Bread and he mentioned something that made me reconsider my celebration regarding the decline of the newsie biz.

One particular point he made was that the skid is probably more of a reflection of how much higher the American illiteracy rate is after decades of failed government schooling. That’s a depressing, though pretty realistic, thought.

Another thought that I had was that the drooling idiots in the general public continue to move towards Ophrah’s O Magazine, People and Us Weekly to get the news that really matters to them – you know, why Jen and Brad split up and what Sandra Bollocks is wearing these days. There is such a massive population of uninformed celebrity-culture cretins milling about the country that I fear their affliction may be contagious.

I’d like to think that this massive move away from the daily rag is due to the informed public abandoning a medium that has long been dominated and slanted by liberals, and moving towards more targeted sources of information, such as online news outlets and blogs.

So my question is this (assuming that the average newspaper subscriber is fairly well-informed irrespective of political perspective):


Would you rather have high newspaper readership, even if that results in a misled, but still well-informed, public; or would you rather celebrate the continued demise of an industry that has long been poisoned by pro-socialist bedwetting pansies?

I want high readership and a well-informed public.

To hell with the print media. They did it to themselves.

No real opinion. Just wanted to mash a button with my mouse.


  
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UPDATE:

Aaron’s CC has a few thoughts on declining Old Media newspaper readership as well.

They can’t run their businesses… how can they advise a nation?

4 comments

  1. Your Boortz angle made me stop my knee-slapping laughfest and sober up to the fact that it is probably due to the escalating illiteracy rates in this country. But damn! There has to be a fair representation of informed Americans that are just fed-up with the MSM’s slanted bullshit all of these years thanks to the blogsphere.

  2. For me, the question is how to quantify the bullshit. To lump all newspapers together as leftist- and liberal-slanted doesn’t solve the problem for me. There is more to a printed newspaper than just news, opinion, or political slant. There are cultural and sociological components at work here too, since a newspaper takes more time to read and introduces a physical disposable presence to the consumer’s newsgathering process. This is also why I don’t buy the illiteracy argument. If interest in news consumption on the web had declined in the same period, then maybe, but people are reading the news — perhaps more now than ever before — they’re just doing it online. The way Joe Sixpack assimilates information is evolving (or DEvolving, depending on your opinion), and the decline in newspaper readership reflects that as much as anything else.

    The “celebrity culture” aspect is also a valid argument, since newsprint doesn’t convey the same flash and immediacy that video and websites do. This type of journalism has so infiltrated the mainstream news media as to destroy understanding of real issues. A tidbit about “Brangelina” and a tidbit about “Plamegate” hold the same intellectual weight, and newspapers, for better or worse, deal with higher word count and deeper research into other aspects of the issue, unless they are USA Today. Other news sources such as video or the web provide smaller, (and in my opinion, much more susceptible to bias) flashier tidbits of information that are easier to not have to think about.

  3. Isn’t ‘mislead and well-informed’ self contradictory?

    I don’t think it’s because of escelating illiteracy. I think it’s more a case of apathy. Most people are more interested in entertainment news these days. Plus, these days, political commentators are mostly just attack dogs anymore.

  4. Interesting points – obviously lumping all newspapers in as leftist is an oversimplification and a bit silly, but on the whole, the print media has leaned leftward for a long time.

    I hope you’re correct about people moving from traditional old media outlets to more targeted – and, yes, potentially more biased – news outlets. I hardly ever visit NewsMax anymore because they’re so absurdly right, they’re like a cartoon. Blogs are much the same way, but most of us state on the front end that we’re opinion and entertainment (some days more than others), and not news outlets.

    USA Today is a great example of soundbyte/infotainment culture. I’ve always referred to it as People Daily.

    W: Yes those two terms are contradictory, but what I meant by “informed” is “aware” as in aware of contemporary world issues or current events. And “mislead” as in only given the story through the filter that the Old Media has set up. When you get a news story from NPR, it’s almost a certainty that you’ll get the story with a lefty slant. Therefore, you’re aware of the story, but you may be missing whatever parts or angles they chose to omit, leaving you mislead unless you bother to dig a little deeper and look for the whole story.

    I guess that lack of clarity is why I don’t get paid for this.

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