I’m into themes lately; broad sweeps of identifiable motifs, recognizable variations of the same point at issue.
In an early post in November, journalism in decline became a focus of the ‘Just Say It’ theme. I don’t recall precisely what prompted that particular piece of literary eloquence. It could’ve been any number of things, given it’s proximity to the Presidential election defeat. (I confess, I was a little testy then, & easily egged-on…and I did submit that letter to the Editor.) However, today is a new day, & I’m revisiting this issue with renewed clarity, having found fresh inspiration.
Author Jerry Bledsoe’s interview with his publisher about his book Death by Journalism? revived the theme for me yesterday. This 2002 book tells the story of journalistic abuse of power at the Greensboro News & Record, which arguably led to the death of the subject of it’s alleged abuse. The interviewer goes to a question about media bias as chronicled in Bernard Goldberg’s Bias, & Mr. Bledsoe answers with pristine clarity:
“The amazing aspect of this is that so many in the news media simply can't, or won't, recognize the bias that has been so transparent to so many of their viewers and readers for so long. That was more or less Goldberg's position. The way the media reacted to his book, though, is quite telling. They either ignored it, dismissing it out of hand, as they do most claims of bias, or they responded with ridicule and vicious personal attacks instead of addressing the legitimate issues he raised.”
Such was the point of the Nov. 10th post . The Editor had bemoaned the loss of readership, which forced job cuts, and wondered ‘why…why-oh-why??’ I considered my letter to his staff a courtesy, a nudge toward the truth about “the bias that has been so transparent to so many of their viewers and readers for so long.”
I’m not surprised, but still a little disheartened, to report that my letter to the Editor was never printed. Thankfully, I wasn’t a victim of ridicule or attacks like Goldberg, just the ‘soft bigotry’ of having my views ignored & dismissed, even by my local media. So much for the editorial page of newspapers being an open forum for voices of the community…
The newspaper industry won’t get it until the community to which they profess dedication disappears from their ‘accounts receivable’ legers once & for all. Enter my projection (here's hoping I'm wrong). They’ll go the way of banks & automakers: scheming to suck the tax payer dry for a bailout of their ignorance. I’m into themes lately, but frankly friends, “poor-us-we-need-rescue-because-we-didn’t-serve-the-public-well” is a theme that’s getting really old.