Too Much Already
Saturday. The Chronicle ran a story in the business section of the paper today reporting they would be laying off twenty-five percent of their news room staff by the end of the summer to cut costs, as the paper has been losing money. My, my. At least with my own company they're not eliminating the jobs themselves, as they're doing at the Chronicle, but replacing them with people overseas. Twenty-five percent of a work force is twenty-five percent of a work force and the paper will be that much less able to report the news.
I subscribe to the Chronicle, but that's not surprising for my demographic. I live in an apartment building with thirteen apartments. Two of us subscribe to the Chronicle, one to The Oakland Tribune and one, I think, to The Wall Street Journal. Four out of thirteen. But these are newspapers and everyone knows that newspapers are having trouble. Does everyone else in the building get their news from television, radio and the Internet? I don't know.
I read Google news regularly during the day, watch The News Hour weekdays on public television and listen to public radio to the point of obsession. I have a paid subscription to Salon.com and regularly visit The Huffington Post. I read Salon these days to follow Glenn Greenwald's series on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the politics of the illegal wiretapping currently being practiced by our government, the story for me a fascinating distillation of everything that seems to have gone wrong with our government (Executive, Congress and Courts) but also, unfortunately, with We The People, who've watched this slide with blank stares and little care for the boys and girls in the back room who've been carving up the country.
Well, that's not really true. Sure, there's plenty of stuff going on in back rooms - we live in a real world, after all - but much to our discredit, the really ugly stuff, the stuff for which the generations that follow will pay the price, is being reported on the front page right in front of our collective noses and still: blank stares, nobody's writing their Congress person or marching on Washington.
Not everybody in the collective things we should be marching on Washington. Many believe in our Commander in Chief.
That's not funny anymore.
I guess if it is being reported in the papers - on television, on the Internet, in the news magazines of which I get my share - losing a quarter of the Chronicle won't make much difference. I mean, we've been successfully ignoring what we've been seeing and reading anyway. My feeling, though, is still the more news the better, the more discussion of “not appropriate political” subjects, the better. Discussion without the name calling “you're a traitor” crap of issues that matter. What do we mean by terrorism, a “war” against terrorism; what is the downside of losing our moral ground in officially engaging in and condoning torture and tossing habeas corpus? (Anybody know, by the way, the age of the youngest person we've ever water boarded? I don't think I want to know the answer.)
Locked in the middle of the cold war we had McCarthyism. It was a dangerous period. Now we've got a variation with this current government. What's going on? What in the hell are we paying for whatever it is we're getting out of it? How great a chance are we taking of losing the underpinnings on which the nation was founded? Is our education system really such that people don't care or even understand these are real issues? Everything is argued in ten second sound bites: the snappier, the nastier, the better. Where's it leading? I think we need more, not less information; more, not fewer publishers who control the information we receive from, if not newspapers, then from whatever is coming.
In your case it's leading to unreadable dumps of internal contradictions like this one.
It just starts and it doesn't want to stop. I read it and know there's nothing original in the content. It's all out there. And the polls say that 75% of the populace believes we're going in the wrong direction. Which argues against the proposition that people are not paying attention. I'd like to say even more, but then I've said too much already.