Media Watchdogs?

The New York Times headline seemed interesting:

In New Jersey, Only a Few Media Watchdogs Are Left

But then it turned out NOT to be about why there is supposedly less oversight over journalists but rather implied a nonsensical link between having fewer people working on newspapers and somehow there being less coverage of important government actions.

Three points:

The Record’s reputation for aggressive local reporting may have helped to retain readers. From 2006 to 2016, average daily circulation, including print and digital subscribers, dropped by 30 percent, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. By contrast, The Star-Ledger lost 65 percent of its print subscribers, and The Asbury Park Press lost 58 percent.

If the Star-Ledger lost 65 percent of its print subscribers then why aren’t they charging 65% less for those legal ads?

“With fewer well-financed organizations, it becomes more likely that the government withholds documents and other information, knowing that it’s less likely to be challenged,” said Ed Barocas, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

Is anyone asking for the commutation functions underpinning what appear to be ridiculously undervalued pension benefits or the legal justification for stealing Open Space Trust Fund taxes?

If we have 30-second commercials of airlines depicting crashes of their competitors’ planes, soon a high percentage of the nation would lose confidence in the airlines. That is what is happening to our political process. (page 71)

Paul Simon – Our Culture of Pandering (2003)*

Not solely related to newspapers but when I saw the media reporting on a poll on Trump and Russian hacking after extensive coverage which likely influenced poll respondents it reminded me Simon’s great book and what I see as journalism as too often practiced today:

  1. I choose what to tell you
  2. based on what I am allowed to tell you and
  3. what is to my advantage. Then
  4. I quiz you to validate my choices and
  5. make them your own.




* For years I would mark sections in pencil while I was reading and then put them in a database. Here are all those noted passages from Simon’s book.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on January 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    The Falling Donald/Dollar!


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