Opinions,discussions and common ground on the Democracy of the United States and Macon County "Democracy is the cause of Humanity."--John L. O'Sullivan

Monday, January 31, 2005

Joseph Pulitzer Joins Lindsays and Schaubs

The lead story in today's Decatur Herald & Review is one of the most depressing in recent memory in terms of the fabled marketplace of ideas that is supposed to provide the foundation of American democracy. The looming purchase of the Pulitzer properties by Lee, Inc., is something that should give all interested in strong newspapers a reason to pause and reflect on the passing into irrelevancy of the once-great institutions of American journalism. This is in no way meant as disrespectful of the many dedicated, talented and principled people who labor in the trenches for the corporate masters of Lee. We are still fortunate in Decatur to have among our beat reporters some very good journalists working under difficult conditions.

Sadly, the principle has already been established by Gannett that when a money-grubbing chain buys a prestige property, the new property takes on the mediocrity of the chain. How recently have you heard the Louisville Courier-Journal or the Des Moines Register-Tribune referred to as "great" newspapers? Once, they were on everyone's short list. Since Gannett took over, they have become bigger version of the same formula of dullness, boosterism, and profit-above-all-else.

Now, the once-great St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the newspaper that launched the career of Joseph Pulitzer and led to the birth of what was perhaps America's greatest newspaper, the New York World, is about to come under control of Lee, Inc. My heart aches for the staff of the Pulitzer properties, particularly the flagship, who are about to find out how the average American newspaper is conducted.

Send a good thought or two their way and pray that the Internet or some other communications breakthrough on the horizon will allow once again a freer flow of ideas in the United States that will, hopefully, eventually undermine and collapse the rotten crust of Fox and its broadcast and print clones.

Sadly, with best regards,