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Another Mouth to Feed


news_stacks.jpgThe gravy train of mindless stimulus spending now has the nation’s newspaper industry lining up for their share of the swag.

I just finished watching the Journal Editorial Report (JER) broadcast twice daily every Saturday on the Fox News Network.  You need to add this to your information mix in order to watch intelligent discussion of complex issues by members of the Wall St. Journal Editorial Page.

As if there was not enough misapplication of scarce resources,  we now learn that the old print media is howling for rescue, as their old advertiser supported business model is being ground into dust by the universal game changer…the Internet.

This is thick with irony.

In order to burnish their first amendment credentials, newspapers have always trumpeted their independence from government influence as the requisite principle that guaranteed free speech.

Now they want to go on the dole, rather than trying to compete in the wired age.

There is no better argument against this dishonest and feckless movement than the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), both print and online, has learned how to prosper under the new market realities.

While USA today, and the New York Times continue to bleed paid readership, they nevertheless give away their online content for free.  Today, the WSJ is the clear national leader in readership, with over 2 million paid print subscriptions.

And they did not cheapen their online product by giving it away.  Instead, they smartly bifurcated their product into a core, teaser version that is free…and an excellent bit of chum to draw readers to their paid online version.

The reader has three choices.  Print, online, or both at a reduced combination price.

So the issue is not that everyone has been equally devastated by the disruptive power of the Internet…rather that some firms are more adept and adroit when adapting to the greatly expanded opportunities that exist when media can be accessed on so many distinct and discrete platforms.

By point of comparison, think of England and how government control of media has evolved.

Television owners must pay a national subscription fee…whether they want to watch BBC broadcasts or not.  And the BBC, far from being an impartial interpreter of the news, is a lopsidedly left-wing enterprise, intoxicated with political correctness, and dangerously, dogmatically, anti-Semitic in their worldview.

My sense is that compassion and bailout fatigue is at a critical level…and still rising.

And this time, it will be the Gen X and Millennial Generation who will first scoff at government aid to newspapers….

…because this segment of the population would sooner be caught dead than found out to be reading a dead tree, ink-all-over-your-fingers, archival piece of news.

They want their information online, on-demand, for free.

And they get it from every old line newspaper that got caught on the wrong side of the digital divide.

1 Response to Another Mouth to Feed

  1. Toli

    “the BBC, far from being an impartial interpreter of the news, is a lopsidedly left-wing enterprise, intoxicated with political correctness, and dangerously, dogmatically, anti-Semitic in their worldview”

    I grew up watching the BBC and still often read it online. It has a liberal bias, but “intoxicated with political correctness” is inaccurate.

    As for “anti-semitic”, that’s downright false. The BBC is critical of Israel, the nation, but not due to the Jewish faith (which is what anti-semitism is about). Their criticism stems from Israel’s repeated violation of international treaties, and occupation of Palestinian lands (as per UN resolutions condemning Israel’s actions). Not that the Palestinians are angels, but Israel is no saint either. And the BBC has no problem calling Israel for what it is and using terms like “occupied territories” (accurately reflecting the UN resolutions) in its reporting, which the Israel lobby detests and fights tooth and nail to keep out of the US media lest it causes the US Congress to weaken in its support of Israel.

    The BBC is as much an instrument of Stalin as Fox News is Hitler’s mouthpiece. And both benefit from seeing each other in such black-and-white terms as it caters to strengthen their bond to their respective faithful audience members. Polarization helps fanaticism, helps solidify a core audience.

    But the discerning viewer who seeks objectivity and a broad perspective to make smart money management decisions, watches both left- and right-leaning networks, and refrains from buying into hype. Otherwise, by ignoring or discounting the left-/right-wing altogether, they (and their like-minded cohorts) get blindsighted by what their opposition could see in plain sight all along.

    A good example of right-fed hype that this blog buys into is the repeated references to the Treasury running its printing presses 24/7. The money supply has been fairly constant since October 2008. There has been very little printing of new money under the Obama administration; just check the Treasury’s records. The fall of the dollar (and rise of gold) has more to do with countries’ central banks diversifying their assets to include other currencies than the printing of new money. Other right-fed hype is the endless complaints over bailouts which turned out to be not gifts to special interests, or “mindless spending”, but smart investments from a cash-rich investor and likely to be fully recouped (plus interest). There is plenty of left-fed hype as well, from the panacea of socialized medicine to blaming all the evils on the world to Bush and Cheney.