The New York Times has announced layoffs and a cut in the paper’s size. None of this is shocking in the least, and it isn’t exclusive to the Times. Many formerly dominant print newspapers have been seeing their circulations shrinking faster than Bob when he forgot to take his Enzyte.

The Old Gray Lady has broken a hip and fallen down the journalistic steps. Can she get back up? Maybe, but a couple more spills and the general public may forge her signature on a “do not resuscitate” order and continue to flock to cyberspace to find a permanent replacement for their news needs.

First up for the Times was reporter Jayson Blair and his plagiarism. Then came the flap over the New York Times (not to mention the LA Times and others) publishing secrets that could be of benefit to terrorists. Most Americans are realizing that American “institutions” who can’t decide which side they’re on (or, unfortuately, can) are of little value, either in spirit or in print.

The newspaper industry is usually self-promoted as being “above the fray.” They consider themselves to be not in an ordinary business, but as participants in a time-honored American institution, one that is beyond reproach in truth and integrity. They hold in their pen the power to expose fraud, deceit, racism, plagiarism, upheaval and illicit behavior – sometimes all in the same senate office.

This is not really about Jayson Blair, biased stories and a paper that has become the “Mrs. Kravitz” of the wartime neighborhood as much as it is about an industry – excuse me, an “American institution,” that has run away with itself.

In the mid 1400s, when Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press, the elite began suffering from night sweats of epic proportions over the ability of “ordinary people” to distribute and disseminate information to the masses. Now, over 550 years after Gutenberg’s invention, some of those who would have been classified as the feared “ordinary people” in 1450 are finding that they have now become the elite. These people now fear the new printing press, namely the Internet, and the turned-off readers of print papers are switching to it in droves, while confused newspaper executives end up looking like the Skipper and his Little Buddy trying to steer the SS Minnow through the storm in the opening credits of “Gilligan’s Island.”

Internet news sites are often laughed off as non-credible gossip by some of the mossy, petrified forest of newspaper tycoons who still refuse to admit the fact that father time is giving them a reality enema.

The Old Media competes against this relatively new arena for news and ideas by attempting to discredit it, just as the elite did when Gutenberg mass produced his first pages. Since we’re often confused by that which we don’t understand, I suspect that much of this bashing by large media of Internet news is due to there still being plenty of geriatric “idiot son” type newspaper publishers out there who can only stare at a computer in confused amazement – like a sparrow watching a 747 take off.

While the New York Times and even television network news continue to chase their own tails trying to figure out what’s wrong via internal townhall-style meetings, politically correct pow-wows and bureaucratic cluster undulations consisting of the same people who caused the problem, they’re getting scooped on the truth and caught in frequent distortions, bias and lies—all things they’re supposed to be exposing, not practicing.

Hound dogs that can no longer hunt end up under the porch, not on it.


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