-By Warner Todd Huston
For the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Laura Washington laments the degraded state of American newspapers. She says that “hard news” has been replaced by “fluff and titillating trash.” Washington also cries that real news is an “endangered species.” But if newspaper writing has been laid low, Laura Washington’s column is an example of that wretched state as opposed to an example of the opposite as this is one of the messiest columns I’ve seen in a while. And naturally it’s all because of raaaacism according to Washington.
Washington starts her piece scolding the news media for missing the Scott Lee Cohen story. Cohen, the winning Democrat Lt. Gov. candidate, had a strange history of violence and prostitution that no media operative seemed to ferret out before Illinois Democrats nominated him in February’s primary. Washington also laments all the many job cuts in the media landscape.
Worse, according to Washington, is that the reporters that are left are “being diverted to cover meaningless fluff and titillating trash.”
From there Washington segues into a finger wagging at the Chicago big media missteps that saw convicted felons Larry Mendet and James Laski hired for the Chicago media market and the shocking discovery that “hight touted” reporter Gerald Posner had to resign over his wide-spread plagiarism.
So why is all this happening? Strangely, Washington ascribes it to a lack of “diversity” in the media.
Media diversity has always been a challenge, but now we’re going backward, the annual study of newsroom hiring by the American Society of Newspaper Editors shows. The percentage of journalists of color in the nation’s newsrooms dropped slightly, from 13.5 percent in 2007 to 13.4 percent in 2008, according to the most recent available data. There was a “net decline” in black journalists over the previous decade.
Then to finish up her mishmash of a column Washington attacks the left-wing TV media for only at the last second maneuvering “a few black faces onto the set of ‘Meet the Press’” to avoid looking like they aren’t hiring enough “journalists of color” for their shows.
Wow, that’s all such a head spinning reach, isn’t it? Washington goes from scolding the media for losing focus on the “real news,” to dismay that so many good “journalists” have lost their jobs, to disgust that the Old Media has hired convicts as on-air talent, to it all going wrong because not enough “journalists of color” have been hired.
Is Washington seriously suggesting that a few more “journalists of color” will cure all the other ills that has befallen the Old Media? Really?
How this offhanded steam of consciousness can be called a column is anyone’s guess. Although, it does go a long way to explain why news papers aren’t selling any more, deosn’t it?
Fortunately, Chicago’s media reporter Robert Feder reported last week that Ms. Washington has taken a new role as president of the Woods Fund of Chicago. Let us hope that her new duties keeps her too busy to accost us further with such badly written columns.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, TheRealityCheck.org, RedState.com, Human Events Magazine, AmericanDailyReview.com, and the New Media Journal, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. Warner is also the editor of the Cook County Page for RedCounty.com.
He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston
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