For all the reading I do, I don’t subscribe to a daily newspaper. We have only one in our town and I don’t care much for it. Having been a politician for several years, I’ve had to work with journalists of all political persuasion and long ago lost my faith in journalistic objectivity. Like the making of sausage, once you see how news is written, you won’t want to indulge much.
“Who’s Watching the Watchers?” is a public document I wrote and distributed shortly before my retirement from elected life. In it I exploded a number of myths about journalistic objectivity and as a result, I was dogged by reporters until my last day in office.
To be honest, my treatment in the media wasn’t too bad. Some editors hated my positions; some thought I was a decent public servant. I regret to say others of my fellow politicians weren’t treated as even-handily and the memory of the injustices they suffered never left me.
Still, in spite of the Murdock scandals, which are only the most recent in the business, I’m not an enemy of newspapers. Like Thomas Jefferson, who suffered at the hands of journalists, I share his opinion that, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate to prefer the latter.”
Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of talk about the death of the press, so I’m happy to relate that The New York Times has recently reported a growth in its circulation. It now earns more revenue from subscriptions than from advertising. What’s more its sister publications are also turning a profit — the International Herald Tribune and The Boston Globe. (“Business,” The Week, 8/10/12, pg. 32)
Even a curmudgeon like me would say that’s good news for the country.
(Courtesy of iipdigital.usembassy.gov)