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December 16, 2008
MSM's Supreme Neglect
Admittedly, I was irritated an hour ago after I repeatedly clicked on MSM website news stories regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling against the the Bush administration in the Gitmo detainee case, Rasul v. Myers, No. 08-235. What irked me, initially, was the fact that the Christian Science Monitor article that was linked from another website's headline failed to report the Court's vote tally. What could be more fundamental for a report on a SCOTUS case result? Also, as a lesser offense, perhaps, most MSM outlets failed to mention the name of the case. I imagine that it is easy to forget to state basic underlying facts when the Bush and Rumsfield-bashing "reporting" is so savored.
Incidentally, the vote was the usual 5-4. Rather than reveal the make-up of the vote it will suffice to say that, apparently, the "living and breathing" version of the constitution was dominant in Justice Kennedy's mind that day as he channeled his "inner Breyer".
I found it telling and ironic that in the wake of the Christian Science Monitor's recent insanely upbeat announcement of the discontinuation of their daily printed version of the newspaper (Internet only, beginning in 2009) -- they force the reader to abruptly exit their website to discover for themselves basic Journalism 101 information. Good luck with that Internet-only strategy!
From the article:
While the Monitor's print circulation, which is primarily delivered by US mail, has trended downward for nearly 40 years, "looking forward, the Monitor's Web readership clearly shows promise," said Judy Wolff, chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Christian Science Publishing Society.A "40 year downward trend"? That seems to stretch the definition of the word "trend" a bit. Actually, the "40 year downward trend" combined with a web readership that "clearly shows promise" sounds pretty upbeat (the good news!) in the face of this financial projection:
The Monitor has required a subsidy from the Christian Science church for most of its history. In the current budget year ending April 30, the Monitor in all forms is forecast to lose $18.9 million. The church will provide a subsidy of $12.1 million from its general fund, with earnings from the Monitor Endowment Fund and donor contributions to the Monitor's operating fund covering the balance. The changes in strategy are projected gradually to decrease the Monitor's net operating loss to $10.5 million in 2013, so the church general fund subsidy will be $3.7 million, said managing publisher Jonathan Wells.Here's the requisite boiler-plate gobbledygook from Monitor editor John Yemma:
"The Christian Science Monitor finds itself uniquely positioned to take advantage of developing technologies, market conditions, and news consumption habits that can dramatically increase its relevance, reach, and utility; place it on a sound financial footing; and allow it to pursue its unique mission of providing global perspective and illuminating the human dimension behind international news,"That sounds like an upbeat answer from an atypically sophisticated Miss America contestant. Real word translation: "We are screwed. Royally."
Fear not, loyal Christian Science Monitor employees. Your leaders have heard the sage advice of Yoda Sulzberger:
This is a period of extreme financial difficulty for all news organizations. New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., for instance, was asked at a conference in California on Oct. 22 whether the Times would be a print product in 10 years. "The heart of the answer must be (that) we can't care," Sulzberger said. He added that he expects print to be around for a long time but "we must be where people want us for our information."Yoda Sulzberger has The Answer: "[W]e must be where people want us for our information."
What a deep, provocative thought. It relaxes me as I contemplate the wisdom of Pinch....
Does that mean that we need to figure out a way for the Times website to appear on an upward-facing computer screen at the bottom of the bird-cage?
Here is the list of the MSM outlets that failed to report the vote on this important 5-4 case: (in the order that I clicked):
Christian Science Monitor
New York Times
United Press International
I guess that makes the MSM no better than Al-Jezeera.