Thursday, April 13


Now this just makes me want to weep.

As a teenager in northwest Florida I became friends and debating partners with a boy who had moved to our town from New York City. When I first met him, his lib'rul Noo Yawk family seemed astonished that a girl who had grown up in the Deep South had opposable thumbs, much less that I could think. They just loved it that I opposed the Vietnam War, supported civil rights and labor unions and thought Tricky Dick was evil incarnate. When Joe's sister Bridget went off to college at NYU, she gave me a precious gift -- she had the Village Voice sent to me.

I continued the subscription all through college and for some years afterwards. In recent years I've been a regular reader on the Internet. James Ridgeway has been one of the chief attractions for years and years. His honest and unflinching look at the doings in Washington and elsewhere has been one of the few sources of independent journalism I could depend on. No less an important voice is Sydney Schanberg, whose courage, tenacity and integrity have won him acclaim throughout the world.

Now both are gone from the VV. And it will be much, much poorer for it. When I was young the Voice was as close to a counter-culture paper as you could find in the MSM. And it continued throughout my adulthood to be one of the few media outlets that specialized in heavy news analysis, rather than just breaking news. It set THE standard for an alternative paper. What a sad state of affairs that it looks like the new management are determined to take it to a new level -- the lapdog-sitting-at-the-administration's-feet level.

It's a level too many of our newspapers are seeking. Aside from the WaPo editorial page's degeneration into an administration propaganda arm, it reminds me of the firing of Robert Scheer from the L.A. Times. And it's not confined to our major dailies. Here are a few more examples.

So conventional wisdom says a majority of journalists have liberal leanings. Here's a scoop: THOSE GUYS DON'T RUN THINGS. Their corporate masters, who DO, are in the main conservatives, or at least Rethuglicans. And they will put up with only SO MUCH independence before they pull the plug.

Democracy Now! has a great interview with some of the Voice's current and former writers.

TIM REDMOND: I mean, the Voice was always part of the activist tradition of the alternative press. And, you know, in the same way that a few big chains like Gannett have bought up and control most of the daily newspapers in the United States and a few big corporations like Clear Channel control an awful lot of the radio, a few big corporations control most of the TV, if we go that way in the alternative press, it's going to be very sad, particularly, as I say, when it is an operation that doesn't believe in activist politics. That's not what the alternative press has been about.
JAMES RIDGEWAY: Yeah, I mean, I think the web is the future of the alternative press, to tell you the truth ... But Lacey said he didn't care about the web. I said, “Look, I’m filing maybe three or four stories a week on the web, on a daily basis almost.” He said, well, you know, he didn't care about that. He said cut it back. You know, and I just don't know what to say about this, except that the future of this alternative -- there's no point in saying that alternative journalism is dead or anything like that, because it's going to survive and it's going to survive very, very well on the web. That's the future of this thing. And if guys like Lacey and Larkin and others, I’m sure, want to turn these things into like, you know, like shoppers, they want to turn these newspapers into shoppers that don't have anything in them and just use them to sell advertising, I mean, you know, they can do it, because the journalism will just plain move on. That's all.

I can't even imagine what Norman Mailer will say about all this.

Tags: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home