Newspapers are Dead – at least in the U.S.

Tell me your favorite newspaper as a source for independent, objective news. The Wall St. Journal? Not even close. The NY Times? These days, the joke in NYC is seeing how long it will take the Sulzbergers to lose their flagship paper, just as the Bancrofts did with the WSJ. All it takes is a few years of mismanagement, and suddenly – ye gods! – Rupert Murdoch owns you.

This sentence is not proof that the words Murdoch and News can sit comfortably in the same sentence.

It turns out that over half of Americans now turn to foreign newspapers for their news, specifically to the BBC, the Guardian and the Telegraph. I would add the FT to the mix, although it has a US version now, so may be out of the running.

Although most newspapers point to the Web as the source of their operating losses, I have a much better answer: they aren’t worth shit.

When you consider what is going on today with the Government’s war against human rights, the Bill of Rights, the Geneva Convention, etc etc, the ongoing pretend news we get every day on baboon mating rituals in foreign lands, panda deaths vs. new babies, and freak storms anywhere, have led me, in particular, to decide that U.S. newspapers are, as a lot, completely obsolete.

Dean Takahashi, a famous tech reporter, announced today that he is leaving the SJ Mercury, one of the last/best tech-interested newspapers, for a blog. Get in line, seems to be the real answer, since he follows in the footsteps of other great tech reporters from there and elsewhere.

I read newspapers daily, and it is a relatively unhealthy diet, I can tell you, since, at least from my perspective, the purpose is almost exclusively to figure out how much of the news is lies, propaganda, hype, basically untrue statements, misunderstood and misinterpreted science and economics, and just plain opinion.

We have gotten to the point, in the U.S., where you have to unlearn as much from a day’s reading, as you have learned. Crossing that 50/50 barrier would almost suggest, as those 18-25 have already decided, that it just isn’t worth the trouble.

If I feel this way, and read more papers than anyone I know, how must the rest of the world feel?

There are no real investigative reporters any more, at least not working for the Post or the NYTimes; perhaps they are out there blogging somewhere.

In any case, I, too, have given up. Sure, I’ll keep reading them, the way historians might read Mein Kampf – not because they want to, but because they have to. Documenting the decline, as biologists often describe field work.

Long live Rupert. Like Fox News on TV, U.S. newspapers carry the opposite of news, whatever that might be. Breasts on page three, UFOs to follow.

U.S. newspapers are dead dead dead. They just don’t know it yet.