Hola muchachos! Angry New Mexican here again with some original work for a change. So it turns out that for conservatives, hatred of the New York Times is an article of faith, much like Bill Clinton’s assassination of Vince Foster or the fact that President Obama is actually a Muslim and for that matter wasn’t born in America. Hmm. Perhaps I should have added those to the Conservative’s Declaration of Faith. But I digress.
Evidently The Grey Lady is viewed as the personification of all that is wrong with the “liberal media.” Now, if they wielded that label on MSNBC, I would find it hard to complain, but this is the same party who’s current 10 Commandments are so exclusive that Ronald Regan qualifies as a RINO (and if the WSJ says so, can a Republican really argue). To expect Republicans to have any connection with reality is like expecting Paris Hilton to develop a set of morals. I mean, it’s technically possible, but it’s about as likely as winning the Triple Crown with a lame horse. Regardless, the relative decline of print media, especially the New York Times, had Angry Overeducated Catholic salivating at the thought of a conservative media ascendancy. I had to respond. You see, the truth does that sort of thing.
Anyway, as bad as things are for the Grey Lady, the NYT is still doing pretty damned well compared to the vast majority of major papers. It’s still America’s #3 newspaper, after all. WSJ and every hotel’s favorite USA Today (#2 and #1, respectively) are also holding up pretty well.
WaPo is fucked as a national paper, which is why they’ve closed all their domestic news offices outside of the Washington metro area. They’re not even trying for “national paper” status any more. The Chicago Tribune and LA Times fighting valiantly on their way down, but they’re doomed unless they can (a) off the NYT or WSJ or (b) take the WaPo route and surrender. They’ll either refocus themselves as local papers (WaPo’s plan), or die.
This of course has nothing whatsoever to do with “media bias.” Just because the conservative media fantasy-cum-conspiracy-theory happens to offer an explanation for an event doesn’t mean that it’s the correct explanation (witness the circulation slide of the Moonie-owned uber-conservative Washington Times).
The bitter truth is that that through the power of the internet, the paradox of choice is wielding it’s winnowing fan. The papers with a truly local (or truly niche) audience will survive. But they’ll be small because a niche, by definition, doesn’t have many people willing to pay for it. The big guys will survive too, because when people have too many options they pick what is popular. If for no other reason, they allow you to have a discussion with other people who have seen the same material. This is also why Twilight movies are guaranteed to be made in Hollywood. No matter how badly they suck, they will pack theaters because they are popular. And tons of people see popular movies, even very, very bad ones. This is what will save the WSJ and NYT. They’re the most popular. People will read them because plenty of other people do. Everyone else gets fucked. (See also the article, “A world of hits” in this week’s Economist).
I’m sure it warms Angry Overeducated Catholic’s heart to realize that the future of print national/international level news in America is WSJ vs. NYT (let’s be honest, if it weren’t for hotels, nobody would read USA Today). The polarization brought by Conservative Savior Rupert Murdoch via Fox News to television will now make it’s inexorable way to print news. Rupert versus the world. I’m sure he’s always looked at it this way. But it wasn’t until recently that a sane man would actually think he might be right.
I sure wish the Bancrofts’ had a pair of balls somewhere in the entire family and stood up to Murdoch. I’d rather see the future of news fought between then Bancrofts and the Sulzbergers than see the world’s second most offensive Australian (after Mel Gibson, the raging alcoholic anti-Semite, naturally). But sadly, the fallen state of the world is such that douchebags do sometimes get ahead.