There was an article, prominently placed on the first page of today’s Washington Post, titled “Trapped in the jaws of danger” about an 83-year old woman who was attacked by a rabid beaver. The article describes in great length how the intrepid senior citizen valiantly fought off the toothy monster.
The article, which has about a thousand words and thus needs to continue from the first page inside the paper, is placed next to “Clinton’s China trip expose wide rifts” (they mean Hillary), and “Bill Clinton to present stark choice for voters”, under a big photo of really scary looking female senators at the Democratic National Convention who are raising their joined hands in an attempt to encourage female voters to vote for the current occupant of the White House.
To me, these cheerleading female politicians who must spend most of their time raising money from corporate sponsors who finance their elections and reelections, just like their male counterparts in either of the 2 parties, look much scarier than a whole pack of huge rabid beavers.
I did not read either of the articles on the first page because I was looking for real news. I just scanned the titles and read the first few sentences of the one about the poor beaver who picked the wrong old lady to bite this time around.
There was a time when “dog (or beaver) bites man (or woman)” was not supposed to be news. That was one of the things that they used to teach in journalism schools.
Only “man (or woman) bites dog (or beaver)” was news back when newspapers still tried to write about things that mattered. But I understand why they put the cliffhanger saga about a beaver and a fearless old lady on the first page. Who cares about a tightly scripted party spectacle where nothing of significance is allowed to happen anymore by the people running the show? Most readers will prefer the “beaver bites woman” kind of story, and rightly so. So let’s put it on the first page. We still need people to read our paper. We’ve got ads to sell!
The sad thing is that Washington Post was an important paper too at one time. Its reporting even brought down a scheming president once. But that was a long time ago, almost 40 years ago now, before the newspapers changed their motto from “All the news that’s fit to print” to “All the infotainment and commercial and corporate propaganda that will fill the space next to our sponsors’ ads”.
Thomas Jefferson once said:” If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.
We still sort of have newspapers and news in this country, but mostly only in name, although the Washington Post is still a much better paper than the local newspaper here in Eastern Virginia called the Virginian Pilot. Washington Post does have a well researched and well written article about something that actually matters in it once in long a while. I stopped reading the Virginian Pilot about 3 years ago because the only articles worth reading in it were reprints from Washington Post or another newspaper.
Although rabid beavers are a major menace to humanity, second only to zombies, there are other things than rabid beavers that Washington Post and New York Times could be writing about on the first page.
They could be writing for example about the unpunished and continuing rampant fraud on Wall Street, or about the fact that we do have more than 2 parties here, and unlike Mitt and Barack, the four or five presidential candidates of third parties (or the second parties, really) do want to change the status quo. But most Americans never heard of them as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and all the alphabet “news” channels pretend that they don’t exist.
If Washington Post insists on putting on the front page news about brave old ladies who got bitten by wild life, they could have used something that in fact deals with real problems here, such as this article from Yahoo News: Scorpion sting leaves Arizona woman huge bill. This could be a very interesting article, at least six thousand words, 500 about the small predator, namely the scorpion, and 5,500 about the big one, the so called health insurance industry in America. But articles like that can no longer be found in Washington Post. At best, one will find 130 words describing this telling incident on Yahoo News.
I am guessing that Thomas Jefferson probably thought that having a newspaper, a real newspaper, was even more important for a democracy than having a government because without informed voters, democracies will inevitably die.
And it just so happens that he was right.