The death of the 4th estate

I just read an article at Alex Jones’ excellent website, PrisonPlanet.com, indicating that a compelling majority of print journalists now realize that their industry in general, their employers in particular, will soon be out-of-business.

That is a remarkable turnaround from a relatively short time back when the industry considered itself untouchable.  Indeed, it was untouchable less than a decade ago.  This historic upset, this modern day equivalent of David slaying Goliath, is simply so breathtaking in such a short period of time, it is hard to fathom it’s equivalent.  The fall of the Berlin Wall comes to mind as a possible equal in terms of scope, speed and historic significance.

This begs the question, what could have brought about the downfall of what was for several centuries known as the 4th pillar of government?    The easy answer, and without a doubt the correct answer, is that the internet arose, bloggers competed with the traditional news outlets, and won the war.

However students of history might want to dig a bit deeper and question, how and why did the bloggers win the war for the trust of the public?  Let’s list a few possible reasons that a future historian might consider:

  • Were the bloggers better financed?
  • Were the bloggers better organized?
  • Were the bloggers more educated in the science of news gathering and/or reporting?
  • Did the bloggers have ANY discernable advantage at all, at the turn of the millennium?

The answer to each of these questions is an unequivocal NO.  The nation’s newspapers had a daily budget that exceeded bloggers annual budgets by many multiples.  They had access to wire services and technology that bloggers could only dream of.  The newspapers employed men and women who had studied the field for years before being sent to the frontlines to learn the art of the profession.  Bloggers worked in the wee hours of the night after finishing their day jobs.

And yet, in 2010 the nation’s print journalists are now defeated, and they know it.  They are mostly just holding on for as long as they can collect a paycheck in the hopes that they can figure out what they will do next, when the axe finally falls.

So I ask again…  WHY?  HOW?

The answer, imho, should be heeded by every journalist in America.  In particular I hope the answer will be grasped by the folks at the newspaper dearest to my heart, The Washington Times.

The American people stopped their newspaper subscriptions by the millions in the past 10 years.  Millions more will cancel their subscriptions in the next few years.  As a result, advertising in the papers is also drying up.  The reason for this mass cancellation of subscriptions is breathtakingly simple.

The Washington Post, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, and the many other titans now on the ropes forgot what they were being paid to do!  They were being paid to tell us the Truth with a capital T.  They were being paid to keep our government honest.  They were being paid to treat their readers like adults and give them the tools needed to keep them knowledgeable and free.  The papers failed.  They chose to tell their readers lies and half-truths when they desperately needed the whole, unvarnished Truth.

Most Americans know the newspapers lied about such things as WMD in the run-up to the Iraq war. We know that 911 was not a conspiracy orchestrated out of the caves in Afghanistan.  We know that we are being poisoned in the Gulf.  We know our government is scheming to start a war with Iran.  We know that our government does not represent us or our interests.  We know, now, that our “remedy”, elections, is an illusion.   The two major parties are the same in every area that matters.

We know all these things and much, much more.  And here is the rub…   We know these things not because we read the details in the newspaper but because we found the answers to our questions in the blogs.

For example.  Today Wikileaks scooped all the newspapers BIG.  AGAIN.  They released more than 91,000 reports from the Afghan War that papers such as the Washington Times could and should have gotten first.  Even now, having been scooped, the newspapers are picking and choosing what to report on!   They actually jointly decided not to report on matters they think their readers ought not know about.  How stupid is that!!!!  How can they believe they can filter news that is already available at Wikileaks.org!  This is PRECISELY the reason the papers lost to the blogs.  The blogs treats their readers like adults.  The newspapers treat their readers like children.

My advice to my friends at The Washington Times and other such newspapers is this.  It’s very late in the game, but you can redeem yourselves.  Remember why you exist.  You are not here to spoon-feed us government propaganda.  On the contrary, you are here first and foremost to expose government lies and criminality.  You are not here to protect big business.  Your second most important function is to protect your readers from criminals in the boardrooms.  Criminals who have thoroughly destroyed our economy and are now killing everyone and everything in the Gulf of Mexico.

Print the Truth.  The whole Truth.  Especially the Truth that politicians and CEOs are asking you not to print.  Do it now, while you are still in business.  It’s not too late to do your jobs.  In doing so you may find that you might actually save your jobs

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