Friday, March 6, 2009

Oppressed by the Press

New World Notes News
Volume 2, Number 10 -- March 10, 2009

This week in New World Notes, #54 -- March 10 & 13:

The good news is that the corporate-controlled press is in an apparently uncontrollable death-spiral. The bad news is that the corporate-controlled press is in an apparently uncontrollable death-spiral.

Yes, the entire staff of New World Notes is not unfamiliar with ambivalence.

Newspapers are not dying; they are being killed. They are being killed not by the Internet but by their corporate owners. The owners are killing them not out of unconcern or greed or incompetence--though there is plenty of all three among them--but by their bondage to Finance Capital. Finance Capital is requiring a rate of return much higher than newspapers have ever produced, effective immediately.

And/or the new corporate owner borrowed so much (from Finance Capital) to finance its purchase of a newspaper chain--like the chain that owned the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and New Haven Register--that it has to destroy the papers in order to make the loan payments.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out what my fellow ultra-Leftist, Commie-sympathizing Progressive-Populists at Forbes magazine have to say about it:


Here, Sam Zell’s proposed highly-leveraged purchase of the Tribune
chain is debated at the Federal Trade Commission, which must grant
approval for the deal to be--you should pardon the expression--
consummated. Yes, at last it can be told: Juan Valdez smokes Camel
Filters! After admiring David Weinholtz’s painting as a whole, please
click to enlarge it & admire the painterly textures. [This seems to have
stopped working. You can do it in the version in the next blog entry
(above). --KD]
That's nothing: you
should see the 4-Megabyte
version! OK, I'll email you the 4-MB'er, on request.

Rocky Mountain News stayed in business for just short of 150 years. Until last week, it was the oldest continuously-operating business--not just newspaper--in the state of Colorado. If it is typical of major metropolitan dailies, it had been returning a profit in the range of eight to 15 percent per annum. Wall Street doesn't want 12 percent annual profit for another 150 years. It wants at least 25 percent profit for each of the next six quarters. After that, who cares? Find a way to do it, Mr. Editor.

R.I.P., Rocky Mountain News.

Farther to the east, well down the same tubes are the Inquirer and the Register. I used to read the Inquirer, back when Pulitzer prizes were still a recent memory.

If a merciful God did exist, one would think He'd spare at least the Inquirer and end the worldly suffering of the Hartford Courant--sending Connecticut's finest off to its Eternal Reward in that ultimate Gated Community down below--which, while lacking certain amenities, at least provides free heat yearround.

Though major American newspapers generally served the ruling classes well and the people ill, would the people be better off tomorrow if the papers all closed down tonight? As Rene Descartes said, just before vanishing, "I think not!"

If there is any hope for change, it will come from the proles, decided Orwell's Winston Smith. And if there is any hope for the newspaper biz, it will come from the provincial dailies, say I. I celebrate them on this program by reading a few passages from my local one. This is the former Manchester Journal-Inquirer, now just the Journal-Inquirer--its very name suggesting "Nowheresville"! Or is that, rather, "Utopia"? *

This installment of the radio program is mostly monologue, as brilliant and insightful as it is witty. Yes, the ambiguity is intentional. I like the installment, and if your tastes are identical to mine, I guarantee you will too! Besides, where else can you hear, within a span of 20 minutes, two Dave Rovics songs and Spinal Tap’s “Hell Hole”?

Also featured: (Most of) Stephen Colbert's incredible keynote speech at the White House Correspondents Association banquet, May 1, 2006. Here he mocks President Bush--who was seated at the same table as Colbert--and mocks the Washington press corps for their mindless repeating of White House lies and propaganda.

Oddly, all press reports of the banquet somehow neglected to mention the keynote speech. Except (God bless her) Amy Goodman's, on "Democracy Now!" which played the entire speech. Support your local noncommercial "alternative" radio station!

Catch New World Notes . . .
(all times Eastern)

Anyway, as some right-wing radio show on shortwave always used to sign off,
VOICE 1: God Bless America!
VOICE 2: Death to the New World Order!
VOICE 1: We shall prevail!

* Pun in ancient Greek on "not place" (ou-topia) and "good place" (eu-topia). And apologies for the Descartes joke. Couldn't resist.

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