A Bad Day For Newspapers, WSJ, Daily News Fall
So the Bancroft family sold out at the Wall Street Journal, just as the Chandler did at the L.A. Times. The results have already been terrible for the Times, and the prospects are not much better for the Wall Street Journal.
Sure, Rupert Murdoch is a better businessman than the laggards at the Tribune Co. have proved to be. He will be able to use Journal reporting throughout his empire, perhaps, and Dow Jones will now make sales that the unimaginative Bancrofts never thought of making.
But Murdoch's values are a cesspool. He does not practice honest journalism. He cowtows to whatever interests that will give him advantage. His Fox News Network is biased, unfair and one-sided. His New York Post is a cheap, sensationalistic rag. His London Times has gone downhill severely from what it once was. The list goes on.
And now that list will include the Wall Street Journal. It's too bad for those working there, and it's very bad for the country -- especially since we are at a time when Wall Street and the financial institutions face a mortgage crisis of unknown proportions, and the U.S. currency is down seriously as compared to the Euro.
Sure, Murdoch is setting up a committee to "assure" quality at the Journal. That will prove as independent as David Hiller has been of Dennis FitzSimons. The assurances Murdoch gave the Bancroft family will not prove to be worth the paper they are printed on. But the Bancrofts have no excuses. They simply went for the money, and sold out whatever principle they once had. After 118 years, it's truly a sorry ending.
We also hear today that the Daily News out in the San Fernando Valley is cutting back once again. It is almost shutting down coverage in the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, and laying off some employees, once again.
Don't get me wrong, Aside from a few people like Rick Orlov, the Daily News has hardly provided very good reporting. It pandered to the worst elements in its support of Valley secession from Los Angeles, and thank goodness it wasn't successful.
But that said, the community is still diminished whenever newspapers fall into the abyss. To the extent that the Daily News provided more journalistic competition in Southern California, we all have to be sorry it is going down under Singleton. It might have been foreseen, however, because this man was never much.
The only way a newspaper can really succeed these days, as the Internet gains, and population patterns change, is to expand, not retreat. Yet the L.A. Times has certainly retreated and continues to do so. At a time when the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have been buttressing their national editions, the L.A. Times dropped the one it had, and now seldom makes any attempt to be a statewide, much less a nationwide, newspaper. No wonder, it has sunk in circulation.
No, these are sad times in our business, no question about it.
The South Korean government is now urging "flexibility" in dealing with the Taliban kidnapping of 23 of its citizens on a good will mission to Afghanistan, and the murder of two of them. But "flexibility" apparently means that the South Koreans want Afghanistan to release Taliban prisoners it is holding, as it did last March when it released five captives in exchange for an Italian newspaperman.
The Italian release arrangement has led only to more hostage-taking, as it was bound to, and there will be no end to it if there is now a further exchange.
What is the answer to the Taliban? The answer is to go after every one of its leaders, and hang them as the criminals they are, starting with Mullah Omar.
Meanwhile, the South Korean episode proves once again that it is not only us and the Israelis that the Muslim fundamentalists hate, but everyone in the world, including millions of fellow-Muslims. They are truly the Nazis all over again.
South Korea owes its independence to the willing of many countries, not only our own, to fight for it. We have good reason to expect more fortitude from it than it is giving us now.
Labels: Journalistic difficulties