Propaganda machine needs to bear responsibility for its fade to black status
Journalists were once regarded as reputable presenters of fact, ethically dedicated to accuracy, fairness and balance. They forged a bond of trust with their readers as they delivered the news.
For the most part, those days are gone, replaced by strident partisan reporters, driven by hatred of the President of the United States. At the recently sold, homeless Arizona Republic, ASU Cronkite School interns working for a byline and sans editors are the rule rather than the exception. The shrinking newspaper with its unwavering bond to the left, has continued to hemorrhage subscribers, even after their massive exodus following its blunderous 2016 presidential endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
The Daily Beast announced Monday that the “Coronavirus downturn has forced Gannett to make deep [personnel] cuts.” That’s skewed news at its finest. Newspapers survived other calamities from the Civil War and World Wars I and II to the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, the horrific deaths of 3000 by Muslim extremists on September 11, 2001 and everything in-between. We survived them all and so did the newspapers of the day.
Recent pay cuts and furloughs have far less to do with the pandemic than they do to readers tiring of the distorted reports and raw Trump hatred — flagrantly absurd in Arizona, a state that gave all 11 of its electoral votes to Donald Trump.
The AZ Republic has been in serious decline for some time. The big boom dropped with the news that to avoid layoffs, Gannett employees will be furloughed five, unpaid days a month through June. That’s three months of 4-day weeks — with no solid guarantees. Poynter, the go-to insider site, posted this copy of CEO Paul Bascobert’s letter to staff, including this dismal FAQ.
Even without the pandemic, which caused Gov. Doug Ducey to issue this “Stay at home order,” on Monday, Gannett had plenty of challenges, as losses in its print businesses showing no sign of abating. In a contorted move, the company sold itself last year to New Media Investments, the parent of GateHouse Newspapers. The new company kept the Gannett name.
“It’s hard to see the path forward,” Mi-Ai Parrish the former president and publisher of The Arizona Republic is quoted as saying. “I think there’s something different about what’s happening right now. They’re all covering COVID. But everybody’s covering it. And nobody’s being paid for it. There are no advertisements.”
Pandemics aside. When newspapers continually insult the intelligence of their readers, it is not a model for success.
On March 22, the Arizona Republic’s Sunday edition headlined in a Kumbaya fashion. “We are in this TOGETHER.” That didn’t last long. Four short days later, the editorial blasted, “Trump doesn’t get it.” It claimed he was missing the point if his top priority is the economy, and mystifyingly lectured, his first job is to protect the people of our country, an issue to which the president has shown an enduring commitment.
Recently the deceitful newspaper has been blatant in its efforts to switch its remaining subscribers to the much cheaper to produce “E-Edition” which it vows will “allow readers to stay connected and informed. Make sure you are familiar with all the ways you can access your subscription online.” It will bring you “Coronavirus coverage,” as though it was unattainable everywhere else — without charge.
Now that expensive obituaries are not being placed due to houses of worship being closed and assembled mourners being limited to ten, ads are hawking sending Mother’s Day and Graduation congratulations on the pages of the newspaper no one reads. Both announcements scream out the carnival barker’s pitch, “Hurry! Hurry! Place your ad today!”
The bell tolls.