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What about local news? Are we going to rely on Web bloggers to cover our monthly city council meetings in rural America? Are we going to count on CNN to tell us that our local utility rates are increasing in small city USA? Small newspapers who serve small towns are incredibly necessary and with their fall will come the fall of the knowledgable citizen.

Uh, he didn't make the meat packing stuff up, any more than he made the labor abuse stuff up - but as Lewis said, he aimed for the heart and hit the stomach.

Are you going to sit there and say Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act were bad for the average American? I'd love to see someone justify that. Or is everyone really missing Dr. Barker's Genuine Miracle Oriental Linament and Tonic - guaranteed to cure everything from pluerisy to impetigo!

And frankly, if you've got a problem with what happened afterwards, can the Democratic Party just claim T.R. as their own, since Republicans generally seem to love to quote him, but bastardize the things T.R. stood for.

And for The Jungle being fiction, so's "Atlas Shrugged", and yet this country is full of idiots who think they're John Galt (and they are idiots) - critical work is often spurred by fiction (the works of Michael Crichton and the hack Fumento being examples)

Is there an opinion piece about journalism that Greg doesn't feel compelled to write a knee-jerk response to?

And another thought...if I was looking back at the history of the Vietnam War I would absolutely look at the newspapers from that time. This would give you a "real" view of how people felt at the time, how they were deceived or misguided by those in power and a very raw description of that time...not some cleaned up version that provides a 20/20 hindsight concept of the time.

The demise of the AZ Republic and the Phoenix 40 in crowning governors and mayors (see the defeats of Pete Dunn and Burton Barr) was a populist triumph over oligarchy which has never been fully appreciated.

Greg, you should check out this relevant (and fantastic) SXSW speech given a couple weeks ago titled "Old Growth Media And The Future Of News": http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/2009/03/the-following-is-a-speech-i-gave-yesterday-at-the-south-by-southwest-interactive-festival-in-austiniif-you-happened-to-being.html

The future of news is getting brighter indeed.

@Kelli, you argue that niche news will shrink, but the opposite is happening. Pick your favorite niche topic and think back 20 years ago. Was it easier then or now to find information about that topic? Please try to understand this very simple concept: As the cost of creating/distributing news FALLS, the amount of reported information INCREASES. This is a Good Thing.

I applaud this change. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Full details available on PR Newswire. Sincerely, Big Brother

Thank you for including Y2K in your list of scare-de-jour journalism masterpieces- and not letting the cat out of the bag until now. I spent hours brewing up that one and convinced all my neighbors their ATM cards would be worthless on 01/01/01.

I have mixed emotions about the demise of American newspapers--happiness and joy. They have been extremely biased--for the most part from the left. Have you ever witnessed some event, then read about it the next day in the Republic--or any paper for that matter? Nothing similar to what your experience was.
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press for each of us--not just newspaper companies. Each of us has the inherent, God-given right, to the freedom to use the "press" to voice our opinions. I'm certain that the void, left by the failure of newspapers, will be filled by some entity or entities. Let's just hope they are less biased and more truth-based than the newspapers have proven to be. Good riddance.

The loss of investigative journalism is something to lament and, contrary to Greg's post, was something to be feared. Ask Don Bolle's family. But as newspapers continue to shrink so does their ability to conduct investigations so you get alot of coverage of public meetings and crimes and whatnot.
You also may want to check out how the Tet Offensive stands up in historical context. It was a huge battlefield defeat for the North but was a key event in the unraveling of American support for the war. You may want to read "On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War" by Harry Summers. In the book Col. Harry G. Summers recalls a conversation in Hanoi in April 1975, just after President Gerald Ford conceded defeat in the Vietnam War. Col. Summers, then the chief of the U.S. delegation's negotiating team, was chatting with his North Vietnamese counterpart, Col. Tu. 'You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield,' Col. Summers said. 'That may be so,' Col. Tu replied, 'but it's also irrelevant.'

If the newspaper business does in fact perish, American democracy and democracy everywhere will suffer a significant loss. Investigative journalism is a great thing for democracy. Mr. Patterson is cheering for the demise of the newspaper industry only because newspapers like the Arizona Republic continue to publish articles and editorials that clash with his version of "the truth." His version of the truth is just too far out of line with reality to withstand the continual assault of daily newspapers.

The truth about the Tet offensive, as Retrorv points out above, is that is was a battlefield defeat for the Vietnamese communists and a staggering political defeat for the United States, from which the US never recovered. It brought down the President of the United States. It turned public opinion in America irreversibly against the war. Winning victories on the battlefield does not always translate into winning a war. Crazy Horse, for example, won every battle he ever fought. He didn't exactly win his war. Out of ammunition, out of food, out of hope, he surrendered to an army that had never defeated him on a battlefield.

The newspapers that Mr. Patterson decries as useless spent several years trying to tell the American public that we were LOSING the war in Vietnam. David Halberstam of the New York Times and Neil Sheehan of the Washington Post wrote article after article exposing the pathetic lies of our government and the miserable failures of the Saigon regime. Try reading just one article by Mr. Sheehan from 1963:

http://www.americanwriters.org/works/first_sheehan.asp

It took the Tet offensive to finally shock the American public into seeing the truth. The truth that newspapers had been trying to expose for years. It's quite ironic that Mr. Patterson cites his lunatic politcal revision of the truth about the Tet offensive as an example of how useless newspapers really are. He couldn't be bothered actually reading and understanding the history of what took place in Vietnam. Newspapers did an awesome job of exposing the truth and publishing it. It's sad that the American public wasn't willing to believe them until the Tet offensive made it impossible to ignore. The war in Vietnam was a hopeless lost cause from the beginning. We wasted the lives of 58,000 Americans and millions of people in Southeast Asia fighting to prop up a puppet regime in Saigon that was hopelessly corrupt and incompetent and had absolutely no chance of ever becoming a legitimate government in the eyes of the Vietnamese people. Perhaps if that truth had sunk into the American people a little sooner, LBJ might have cut his losses and pulled out of Vietnam. The Nixon-Kissinger bombing and invasion of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge might never have happened. Millions of people might still be alive. The truth can be a powerful thing. Continuing to believe in lies can be a powerfully bad thing.

Newspapers published the truth about Vietnam. They continue trying to publish the truth.

If you choose political fantasy over the truth, newspapers are of course utterly useless. Cheer for the downfall of newspapers. Cheer for Obama to fail. Cheer for five or ten million more Americans to lose their jobs and lose their homes. Cheer for whatever you'd like to cheer for. Those of us who live the reality based world won't bother with you much longer. Your political fantasy based party is in downward death spiral of far greater proportion than the financial woes of the newspaper business. You can't handle the truth.

During the very minutes 4 more Canadians died in Afghanistan last week, for a total now of 116, this is what conservative journalism (Fox News) thought about Canada's contribution to the war on terrorism:

here is the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhASOU8z3-I

It wasn't the printed press coverage of the Vietnam War that was the tipping point for public opinion; it was the daily television coverage. For the first time in history, TV brought the daily battles of a war into the living rooms of the American people. That, coupled with the Left's penchant for blaming all the world's ills on the United States, is what turned public opinion. Yes, LBJ's administration was corrupt, but Walter Cronkite whining on prime time TV was more powerful.

Can someone please explain to me how the death of the modern newspaper signals the death of investigative journalism? Apparently these commenters visiting from bizarro world believe newspapers are the reason that humans investigate and report events. There's no possible way that newspapers are the RESULT, and not CAUSE of investigative journalism.

Perhaps, Steven, you could read some of the articles by Neil Sheehan and David Halberstam exposing the truth about what was happening in Vietnam. And then you could explain to us how an internet blogger could possibly have done the same thing.

It's a trick question, Obambot. They didn't have the Interwebs back then.

@Commander

Thanks, I just realized the point you're trying to make. A modern day Daniel Ellsberg wouldn't have any need for a modern day Neil Sheehan or the New York Times. Because a modern day Daniel Ellsberg could post classified information anonymously directly to the internet for anyone to instantly download and read.

I can see you're very upset that the spread of news information will no longer be a top down, big business, big money industry, controlled by the Neil Sheehan's and New York Times editors of the world.

Calling names fails to address the issue at hand. I pal around with terrorists occasionally also, try calling me a terrorist on your next post. The name calling strategy worked so well for your side last fall. They didn't have the Internet in the 1960's? Really? I hadn't known that. Something must be wrong with my teleprompter. Where can I get a new one?

In my lifetime I've watched two major events in our nation's history--the Vietnam War and Watergate--in which newspapers played a crucial role. Halberstam and Sheehan, Bernstein and Woodward actually shaped history with their reporting. A strong news media committed to investigative reporting is crucial to a democracy. The claim that newspapers have outlived their usefulness does not get much traction when you look at recent history.

I've also watched an unelected president mount a brilliant propaganda campaign and successfully mislead and lie his country into a disastrous war. The "new" news media, fully armed with the Internet and 24-7 cable television news, could not or would not do its job and expose the truth about non-existent weapons of mass destruction and non-existent connections between Saddam Hussein and 9-11. This same "new" news media utterly failed to get at the truth, or even make a decent attempt at the truth, about where George W. Bush was or was not during his alleged "service" in the Texas Air National Guard. Some of us find that a little hard to swallow. A man who deserted the military during a time of war claims the title of Commander in Chief, lies his country into a war, and then claims the right to suspend the Constitution and torture people in his CIC disguise. I see a NEED for a strong news media committed to investigative reporting, in this country and in any country where people want to live in a democracy. I see horrible consequences when the news media fails to live up to its responsibility.

While you're trashing newspapers as useless relics of the past, you might note how important they were in the Bush-Cheney-Rove propaganda machine. Cheney and Libby had a mole planted on the staff of the New York Times, Judith Miller. They spoon fed her a complete bullshit story about aluminum tubes found in Iraq that could be used to produce a nuclear weapon. Miller and the Times ran the story on the front page. Cheney went on the Sunday morning talk shows the next day and said, "why just this morning the New York Times reported that aluminum tubes were found..." Condi Rice went before the US Congress and dropped the smoking gun mushroom cloud bomb on the debate, and off to war we went. Brilliant. Joseph Goebbels climbed up out of his grave and applauded. You might note that they didn't plant the fake story with an Internet blogger.

When the Bush regime needed to strike back against anyone threatening to expose their lies, they started with Joseph Wilson. To whom did Karl Rove leak the identity of Valerie Plame? Robert Novak, a NEWSPAPER columnist, and Matthew Cooper, a report for Time magazine. Libby leaked it to his buddy at the New York Times, Judith Miller. Suddenly these useless newspapers seem to have some importance. Perhaps next time when Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Dick Cheney want to commit acts of treason, they should leak classified information to an internet blogger. Since newspapers are worthless.

Newspapers had the financial resources to send reporters to places like Vietnam. Internet blogs do not. They had long standing traditions of investigative reporting, and the political clout to stand up to our government when push came to shove. Johnson and Nixon both tried to suppress the newspapers as they reported the truth about Vietnam and Watergate. In our new modern era with the Internet and 14 cables channels of 24-7 news coverage, our news media let us down badly on the buildup to the war in Iraq and allowed itself to be used and exploited by a president whose administration was characterized by overwhelming incompetence. No one on the internet stepped up when the mainstream press cowered in fear of an unelected president.

Modern technology has weakened the institution we used to refer to as "the press." Internet technology is still in its infancy and rapidly evolving. I can see an internet based news media eventually stepping up and filling the role that newspapers played for decades, but I think that's years away. I absolutely loved it this fall when a college kid, at the risk of being thrown in jail like a good old fashioned newspaper reporter, hacked into Sarah Palin's email account and exposed the stupidity of a woman running for vice president conducting government business on an easily hacked email server. Yahoo, Sarah? Yahoo? Now that's an American hero. If you think bloggers and the internet can legitimately replace newspapers, you should be cheering him on. Instead I all I heard from conservative blogosphere was raving about how the Obama campaign was behind it all.

@Steven "Can someone please explain to me how the death of the modern newspaper signals the death of investigative journalism?

It's not necessarily the death of investigative journalism, but reporters are (theoretically) assigned to gather news on a topic (desk) that is not necessarily of their choosing.

The problem with leaving news reporting to bloggers is you could end up with "ghettos" where the bloggers are only reporting back to their interested parties and the story is not fact-checked, or is single source, etc. Townhall vs. Huffington Post. Drudge vs. Daily Kos.

Instead of "news" you have fan sites. We know WSJ & NYT tilt some stories left or right, but they still report on very many items where the reporter is not an interested party, or the reporter is not trying to craft a story to fit their viewpoint. If it's all blogger based reporting, the blogger has to be an interested party and is "choosing their news".

Commander in Chief, you're giving yourself away. Calling Bush the "unelected president" is childish, even foolish. Even your beloved print press has corroborated the results of the 2000 election in Bush's favor. Or are you so blinded by your leftist bias that you can't even see the sun at noonday?
By the way, hasn't Espresso Pundit proven that we don't need the printed press to break news? Greg P. has broken a few headline stories well before the dinosaur press was even aware there was a story.
Also, the new internet sensation, MEP Daniel Hannan, is proof positive of the power of alternatives to print media. (Hannan is the guy who slammed Britain's Gordon Brown for spending England into obscurity--uh, something like what Obama is doing to the United States. But cheerio, Obama must succeed, because, well, he's Obama.) Here's what Hannan had to say about why his speech is "still at the top of YouTube's 'most viewed' section, with 712,860 'hits'" and has been described as "the most viewed political speech in the fastest time in internet history" even topping Lord Obama.
Hannan: "The answer is that political reporters no longer get to decide what's news. . . Now, a thousand bloggers decide for themselves what is interesting. . . Breaking the press monopoly is one thing. But the internet has also broken the political monopoly. Ten or even five years ago, when the minister of widgets put out a press release, the mere fact of his position guaranteed a measure of coverage. Nowadays, a politician must compel attention by virtue of what he is saying, not his position. It's all a bit unsettling for professional journalists and politicians. But it's good news for libertarians of every stripe." And, I might add, good for all of us who yearn for the truth.
(Note: the quotes are all from guardian.co.uk)

It is neither childish nor foolish to ignore establish facts. George W. Bush lost the election in 2000. If you'd like to examine this truth in excruciating detail, the details are available here:

http://www2.norc.org/fl/press.asp

To summarize, a group of major news organizations (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Associated Press, several others) retained the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago to conduct an in depth analysis of the Florida vote. Their conclusion: Al Gore won the state of Florida. All uncounted ballots (both "undercount" and "overcount") from every county in Florida were examined and then counted using four methods: one that counted ballots by the standard used by each county's canvassing board, and three other "uniform" standards that ranged from rigorous (fully punched chads only) to inclusive (dimpled chad, any sort of mark on on optical scan). The results: Gore by 171, Gore by 115, Gore by 107, Gore by 60. In one word: Gore. Al Gore was elected president in November 2000, not George W. Bush. Bush claimed victory in the state of Florida only when the Supreme Court robbed the American people of their right to vote. Bush "won" only in counting schemes that left legally casts ballots uncounted. One of the most shameful insults to our democracy in history.

George W. Bush drove your political party over the edge of a cliff. I spent several years trying my very best to warn anyone who would listen. No one on the Republican side wanted to hear it. Your party is now one vote away from a filibuster proof Democratic majority in the Senate, with a Democrat in the White House and a huge Democratic majority in the House. Honestly, Ron, wouldn't YOU have been better off if Gore had ended up in the White House in 2001? Can you please write out for me some scenario in which President Gore inflicts as much harm to the Republican party as unelected President W. just finished inflicting? Some scenario in which Gore hands over the White House on January 20, 2009, to Barack H. Obama, with the Democratic party in control of both the House and the Senate?

You give yourself away by defending what's indefensible. Bush-Cheney-Rove envisioned a "permanent Republican majority." They were willing to steal elections, willing to use gay-bashing and disgusting racial tactics to "win" at any cost. Your side, Ron, is paying the price for it. The sooner you wash your hands of these scum, the sooner your party might begin to rebuild itself and have some chance of actually governing our country again.

Commander in Chief...terrorist supporter, Obamba worshipper (look at recent posts!), and liar:

The NORC's goal was not to deduce who actually won the election but to determine the reliability and accuracy of the systems used for the voting process.

The first independent recount was conducted by The Miami Herald and USA Today. The Commission found that under most recount scenarios, Bush would have won the election, but Gore would have won using the most generous standards. Gore gambled and lost -- he played the select county recount strategy and was slapped down (and rightfully so) by the Supreme Court.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/media/media_watch/jan-june01/recount_4-3.html

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/568829/posts

http://www.aei.org/docLib/20040526_KeatingPaper.pdf

Maybe the newspapers can redeem themselfs and investigate the assault on our electronic financial markets, which was no rumor. Over $550 BILLION was withdrawn from money market accounts on 9/17/08, just two days after John McCain took the lead on 9/15/08. Where did all this money go and who was pulling it out?

Perhaps we should ask UBS, the Swiss bank, that was also a big contributor to Obama (according to OpenSecrets.com). The money, once transferred into any Swiss account was then protected from being examined by American regulators.

A new transparency? Hardly. Why do you think Obama refused public funding? Simple. Public funding is subject to an audit. John McCain’s campaign funds are being audited as we speak. But not so with Obama’s campaign funds because for all of McCain’s attempt to clean up campaign financing, the bill never required for public campaign funds to be audited. Obama knew this when he refused public funding. And the money flowed into the Obama campaign from every point on the Earth. Illegal? Yeah, but now who is going to demand he be open and transparent about his campaign funds. Certainly not loyal minions like Commander in Chief.

We are now witnessing the most secretive presidency in our history.

Campaign funds - closed
University transcripts from Occidental, Columbia and Harvard - order sealed by Obama.
Financial transfer sheet to his tony Hyde Park Georgian mansion - sealed.
Birth certificate - sealed.

And the losers that voted for this Clown in Chief - now all their kids will be good little “volunteers” by law.

Welcome to the U.S.S.A.

And that's "themselves," in case little Obama worshipper decides to nitpick grammar and spelling

Kudos to Torturer in Chief for the clarification. Sorry, Commander in Chief, difficult as it might be for you to actually accept the facts and the truth, Algore lost--fair and square; although he tried his hardest, unfairly, to change the results. Particularly disgusting was Algore's attempt to not have military votes from overseas counted. You might remember that; surprisingly it was in all the papers. I rest my case.

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