The Tail End Baby Boomer talks politics & Olbermann & news en generale

One thing we had in America used to be newspapers.  Watch this little video from 1974. Little did I know I would spend 20 years in that industry, but I did.  Starting in 1981, while I was still in college.

Olbermann is my generation, so I’m going to assume he grew up like I did?

We grew up with Watergate.  We admired reporters like the ones you can see in this movie below:

Frankly, I think a combination of Watergate and the beginnings of feminist thought led me to the Democratic Party in the first place.  When you choose a political party you generally stay loyal to it.  The one I chose seemed to stand for truth at that time.

The newsroom where I worked looked very much like what you see above in 1981.  It was buzzing with reporters doing investigative journalism.

The paper I worked for (until the NYT bought it) was owned by a small company back east that owned three papers.

It was a fun job, most of the time.  Everyone who worked there pretty much got along even though we all held our own political beliefs.  We were all interested in the news.  We’d grown up with television reporters like Cronkite.

Here is what the industry I used to work for looks like now:

From an article off the BBC news…

The New York Times is struggling to service debts of some $400m, amid dwindling cash reserves and plunging revenue. Last year it had to mortgage its gleaming new headquarters (built in 2007 with much fanfare) to bolster its cash flow.

The Tribune Company, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun and many other titles, filed for bankruptcy in December, and although its newspapers remain in publication, the repercussions of the bankruptcy filing are likely to lead to restructuring.

Three other newspaper companies have also filed for bankruptcy in recent months: the Star Tribune Holding Corporation (which owns the Minneapolis Star-Tribune), the Journal Register Company (which owns the New Haven Register and a number of other titles in the North-East), and Philadelphia Newspapers LLC (which owns Philadelphia’s two top newspapers, the Inquirer and the Daily News).

Although some companies are doing better than others, and some companies (like Tribune Co) took on more debt than was advisable, the bankruptcies and closures are all attributable to an industry-wide malaise.

What happened?

Corporate greed.

I saw it.

In looking at Olbermann as a talking head who represented the Democratic view of my generation of tail end baby boomers — take a look at the salary deal he had.  How did that happen in the era we have lived out?  How did networks become what they have with these million dollar salary deals?

We don’t have reliable news sources in America anymore do we?

What happened at the paper I worked for?

It was fair and very Democratic.  It ran views on both sides.  It had columnists.  It even had a fairly decent payscale for the employees until it was sold.  Once it went corporate?  That ended.  There were no more raises except for the fatcats who wanted to keep everyone in fear of how bad things were in the industry.  It was constant.  They were never making any profits or so we were told.  They were able to justify the layoffs and lack of raises by telling everyone that at the stupid endless office meetings that were held.

Meanwhile, in the late 80’s the tech departments started to rise and rise and rise as the power elite.  Their department became more and more important as some kind of internal hub.  They kept buying more and more tech equipment, didn’t they?  We had to put out a daily paper and struggle with the technology.

By the mid nineties I didn’t even want to work in that industry anymore, so I went back for a second degree.  For a second career.

I get my news now from the slimmed down Los Angeles Times.  There isn’t any “glue’ holding my local community together because we don’t have a paper here anymore.

This is how stupid the news looks to Americans of my generation.

What happens in a country like America without investigative journalism?

What happens when there are no Cronkites?

When there are only arguments from Becks and Olbermanns?

Or pap, like the below.

This is what the local news looks like where I live.

How about you?

How about this?

Beck is from my generation too…

We all grew up watching Walter Cronkite didn’t we?

We all grew up with Watergate as a backdrop, didn’t we?

How did we get here?

Where is Cronkite when America needs him?

An interesting piece is here from Reason magazine…and a video.

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