"What is the role of a free and independent press in a democratic society? Is it to be a passive conduit responsible only for the delivery of information between government and its people? Is it to aggressively print allegation and rumor independent of accuracy or fairness? Is it to show boobies?"
Jon Stewart, from America (The Book) A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction
It occurred to me while reading an article in Monday’s New York Times about the media working hard to keep advertisers that the Republicans’ continual harping about how bad the media is will only serve to hurt the country in the end. Newspaper circulation has been on a general decline since 1984, and has suffered especially in the last several years as other forms of media compete for the attention of readers, including cable television and the Internet.
The newspaper circulation fell 1.9 percent at major U.S. newspapers in the six-month period ending in March, an industry group reported, marking one of the worst declines in recent years.
I would content that the lack of real interest in current events has contributed to a general ignorance that allowed President George Bush to be re-elected. Since readership has been in decline since 1984, we have had only Republican presidents. Bill Clinton was an anomaly. He may never have been elected if H. Ross Perot had not siphoned votes from President Father Bush.
Today, people just read their news on the Internet or receive headlines from the network news. Network news is a misnomer, it’s more like network pabulum. Cable is just a bunch of talking heads pushing one agenda or the other. Granted, I know this is generalizing and reflects my bias, but our country in order to function properly needs an informed citizenry. Chances are that if you are reading this you are most likely a newspaper reader and informed about issues (or a relative checking to see if I have mentioned you – hello mother), since we mostly write about current events, except when B2 finds some new Chewbacca angle. Also, needless to say to our readers, but if you get your news from Toner Mishap you are certainly not among the informed, it would be like getting your news from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, just not as funny (it’s a cable show, you don’t get it mother).
I say subscribe to a newspaper today; and when you go on vacation donate that week or two to a local school. It’s important that newspaper reading is encouraged.