August 7, 2008

Not Waiting For The Asteroid

Jonathan Kay laments the grim future facing mainstream print media - "You'll miss us when we're gone".

With media stocks plummeting, a noisy army of pundits is predicting the imminent extinction of print newspapers and magazines. [...] Where, exactly, are these stories going to come from when The Gray Lady is laid to rest?

Jonathan, the title of this series is "Not Waiting For The Asteroid" -
The New York Times:
"In the culmination of a racially fraught Congressional campaign in Memphis, a black candidate is linking her liberal-leaning white primary opponent in Thursday's contest, Representative Steve Cohen, to the Ku Klux Klan in a television advertisement. . . "

Read the whole thing -- 662 words and "Democrat" is not one of them.

(More here).

If the New York Times truly hopes to survive, they might first of all stop with the suicide attempts.

Or not. Whatever.

Posted by Kate at August 7, 2008 12:40 PM

An excerpt from blog Say Anything:

"Yesterday I posted about a Democrat candidate down in Tennessee who has been running ads against her (also Democrat) opponent that ask why he, a Jew, was in “our churches” campaigning...Because apparently Jews shouldn’t be allowed in the churches of good Christian people...Anyway, the New York Times decided to report the story as well. The problem? They put 662 words into an article about these two Democrats and didn’t actually use the word “Democrat” even once.

Convenient, no? If this were a Republican running race-baiting ads in the south his/her party affiliation would have been mentioned in the headline."

Not just mentioned but above the fold in extra large font. With follow-up "exposé" articles.

BTW, the woman is a black liberal Democrat. The man is a white Jewish liberal Democrat. Yet in the Alternate Universe inhabited by most liberals as well as the NY Times, it's conservatives of whatever race or religion who are the knuckle-dragging bigots.

Posted by: Dave in Pa. at August 7, 2008 1:14 PM

I saw that column earlier today and immediately thought of you Kate

Can't imagine why ;)

Posted by: AtlanticJim at August 7, 2008 1:16 PM

Happy to report that Rupert Murdochs' media conglomerate - Fox cable, Fox business(not available in Can.) Dow-Jones and Barrons and etc. made a record profit in the latest quarter. Apparently all aspects of the business are doing well or above street estimates. Stock is up.

Posted by: MikeW at August 7, 2008 1:21 PM

Jonathan Kay: "These are sad, sad people, trying desperately to medicate their self-loathing by imposing it on others."

The trolls? Or the MSM journalists? Or is there a hair's-breadth of difference between them?

Posted by: Charles MacDonald at August 7, 2008 1:23 PM

Oops, should be "the Wall Street Journal"

Posted by: MikeW at August 7, 2008 1:25 PM

There isn't a blogger in the world who could throw all of these resources behind a single investigation.

True, but that ignores the blogging world’s ability to work co-operatively and get far superior results. When, for example, did the MSM ever take apart a lie as completely as the blogosphere did with the 60 Minutes’ Texas Air National Guard story on president Bush?

These folks can replace the likes of a shoot-from-the-hip Jonathan Kay-style blowhard. . .

I don’t believe for a moment that Jon Kay shoots from the hip. I think he measures everything he says. The only people I know who truly shoot from the hip are Kate and of course Kathy. Kathy is especially trying to reform society to stop self-censoring, to speak up and say what’s on the mind. That kind of thing is extremely rare, and certainly never found in traditional media.

With respect to the Dem-on-Dem race baiting, I’m always pleased to see liberals devoured by the monsters they’ve enabled, but I never go so far as to expect them to learn from the experience.

Posted by: Mississauga Matt at August 7, 2008 1:31 PM

That woman must be a moron. I lived in Memphis for 10 years. I met Steve Cohen and volunteered for a couple of his campaigns.

Cohen originally was running against the political machine of the Ford family. Steve Cohen is a decent guy with the community's interest ahead of his own. Damned rare in politics, especially in the Democratic party.

If you want some fun entertainment, google Harold Ford, Sr, John Ford, and my favorite, Ophelia Ford. Ophelia called it racism when several dead people voted for her in the election and some folks thought that was odd.

John called it racism when he got caught taking bribes. Harold, Sr called everything racism.

Posted by: Kyla at August 7, 2008 1:34 PM

I have great respect for Jonathon Kay and his mom Barbara Kay. However, his assertion that without big papers, there will be no one funding the investigative reporting that the papers publish and the 'blogs' copy may be wrong.

Jonathon, I disagree. Where there is a need, there will be someone to fill it. How investigative journalism is done will need to change. It will become more individually competitive.

Independent journalists of the Michael Yon type will emerge and sell their work to the highest bidder.

Blogs are growing and are still in their infancy. They will fill the hole of the big papers eventually. Who needs the 'dead tree' stuff when zeros and ones will do the same job?

With more competitiveness in journalism at the individual level their be more scrutiny on those stories by competing peers. There will be a less dogmatic agenda involved.

A far more entrepreneurial journalist type will be doing the greatest amount of this work which will then finally give us a less socialistic view of the world around us.

I have not bought a paper in over 20 years and I have not missed it at all.

I might add that there is a huge potential for AM radio to fill the gap as well. The most popular AM radio is the political talk show with much larger number of listeners than the papers have readers. Rush Limbaugh just got a 400 million dollar contract. There is lot's of money available in AM radio.

Again the monopolies of the news media will be broken by new upstart news agencies who will work on contract with investors that are willing to invest money in viable realistic and meaningful projects.

Much of the expensive investigations that are paid for largely by the auto and real estate industry who are the current big advertisers is inconsequential and merely for entertainment value. Not really valuable information. More about selling papers than informing the public. The entertainment industry can take that segment over in the form of reality programming.

If a Canadian paper survives I do hope it is the one you work for rather than the far left Globe.

This blog SDA has great commercial potential, but Kate seems to be okay with it as more down home info and opinion site. Her readership continues to grow along with several others.

Your thoughts? Anyone?

Posted by: John V at August 7, 2008 1:47 PM

The media would survive if they returned to OBJECTIVE, FACT-BASED REPORTING instead of op-ed, half-truth, politically motivated editorializing and influence peddling.

The media are killing themselves by choosing to try and shape the nation instead of objectively informing it.

Posted by: mark peters at August 7, 2008 1:55 PM

I'm really pulling for the National Post. If they go down, there won't be a single national newspaper with anything resembling a conservative viewpoint, and that's not a good thing, regardless of what one thinks about newspapers.

I've watched the NP's editorials and columnists picking up on, and acknowledging and reiterating the sane, feet-on-the-ground, anti-big-state views of blogs like Kate's, and of blog commenters as well. In the case of the NP, there's no "war" between blogs and newspapers.

Lots of Canadians don't read blogs, so it's important to have SOME non-prog/left media. Right now our national broadcast media -- CBC, CTV -- are GTA-centric, old-Liberal arms, and if the Post goes down our only national newspaper will fit that bill too.

And if we're to be honest, blog news aggregators rely on the newspapers for the vast majority of their news links; remove the National Post, and what's left? The Star? The Globe?

Lawrence Martin wrote of the NP in today's G&M "The colourful war-boosting paper attacks Liberal Leader Stephane Dion on a daily basis..." and "The Post's Texas-style ideology has been a nice fit for Alberta, but it has trouble finding a growing audience..."

That's right, Robert Fulford, Barbara Kay -- "Texas Style" writers. Ughhh. I'm not looking forward to the one remaining national newspaper being "All GTA Liberal, All The Time."

Anyone have a spare $30m around that they don't need?

Posted by: EBD at August 7, 2008 1:56 PM

awhile back there was a discussion about intelligence and stupidity. well guess what. stupid people are stupid no matter how much education they have.

Posted by: old white guy at August 7, 2008 2:18 PM

John V

My thoughts exactly, where there is a will there is a way. In the end the consumer will decide what type of media we require, and investments will be made where the demand is. This concept of supply and demand is beyond the grasp of many in the MSM, they will fear monger and tap their heels together to no avail.

"This blog SDA has great commercial potential, but Kate seems to be okay with it as more down home info and opinion site. Her readership continues to grow along with several others.

Your thoughts? Anyone?"

Many things that have great commercial potential end up changing what it is that created that "potential" in the first place, in an attempt to maximize "potential". UFC is going through this right now. IMO boxing has lost the youth demographic to mixed martial arts because as boxing evolved it became less and less exciting. The safety of the boxers has taken priority so the fights have gotten shorter and shorter over the decades( 15 rounds, then 12 rounds, then 10 rounds ect.) This resulted in less exciting boxing because the fighters don't fatigue as much. This lack of blood has caused fight fans to find another venue that is more brutal.

In comes the UFC, it's violent and bloody and their are no rules. This formula resulted in great success, but with that success came demands to clean up the sport. The results are shorter rounds, more rules ect... Mixed martial arts is progressively getting more boring and will continue to get watered down until it is boring like its predecessor.

Eventually another underground type of combat sport will come on the scene and start stripping fans away from the two aforementioned sports.

That being said, going commercial will result in a poorer product which will result in loss of SDA readership.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Posted by: Indiana Homez at August 7, 2008 2:39 PM

With Obama running for CIC the cat seems to be out of the bag. Anything goes now, when you slam the Jews thats code-word for slamming Whitey. When Obama loses the Blacks will claim Voter-Fraud and Racism with The Gray Lady cheering them on.

Reckon I'll go back to stock piling ammo and look for a couple of really pissed-off Dobermans.

Posted by: Ratt at August 7, 2008 2:43 PM


I am happy that Kate keeps SDA as it is. I wouldn't be as happy if it went too commercial. However, I am sure Kate would keep the integrity of the site.

I like it the way it is. I would like to see Kate get some reward for her efforts though.

Posted by: John V at August 7, 2008 2:51 PM

I really like the National Post. I like the way a broadsheet feels with a cup of coffee on it. Right in the middle of it's where my coffee goes...
I would hope that Mr. Murdoch's News group could take a look at buying it if the only alternative is to have it fall into liberal hands or closing. I don't see a problem with it being labeled a conservative paper and the G&M being labeled a liberal paper.
I'm not denying the Toronto centric of it as of late... nor the "debt problem" it is having.

Posted by: marc in calgary at August 7, 2008 2:55 PM

Jonathan Kay, I agree with your taking the intellectual high-ground in complementing a piece like "Malwebolence" even if it was produced by an otherwise shamelessly biased rag like the NY Times. As well, you make an excellent point in your concern that web-only media will require much evolution in order to fill any gap created by the extirpation of print media.

Posted by: glasnost at August 7, 2008 3:05 PM

"Where, exactly, are these stories going to come from when The Gray Lady is laid to rest?"

It's already been established that quality investigative reporting can happen independently of a big budget newsroom. Just ask Dan Rather who handed him his arse on a platter: it sure wasn't the NYT.

Posted by: Sean at August 7, 2008 3:17 PM

I have not missed them one bit since I stoped reading newspapers and watching TV on a regular basis.

What I do know is that since the internet and blogs came along I can easily out reason the "giants" such as Jeffrey Simpson, Barbara Yaffe, Chantal Hebert, Linda McQuaig. Not because I am smarter but because their thoughts are too clutered because they 'have to' dumb-down the news. (Tabloidism sells better I guess) We all can now simply go straight to the horses mouth. (Anthony Watts' web page vs Al Gore via Newsnet)

Thankfully there are some good ones around to take up the slack and continue on. Like who ? Lorrie Goldstein, Lisa Corbella, Peter Foster, Terrence Corcoran, Lawrence Solomon to name a few.

Posted by: ron in kelowna at August 7, 2008 3:24 PM

It's hard to bite the hand that feeds you.

It's a fine line you have to walk to stay neutral and even finer, if there's a line left at all, to be seen to be neutral. This way there is no compromises to be made and I would think saves Kate a whole lot of headaches.

Posted by: Western Canadian at August 7, 2008 3:25 PM

Where, exactly, are these stories going to come from when The Gray Lady is laid to rest?

Well, I think that Jayson Blair is still available. Or, if you want better writing, try Peter Beagle, who is honest enough to bill his writing as fiction.

Posted by: Silicon Valley Jim at August 7, 2008 3:27 PM

One guy exposed Adscam.
No paper, no office, no editor, no distribution network, no printing press.
Just some guy.

Posted by: richfisher at August 7, 2008 3:32 PM

Kathy Shaidle is writing a book about our HRC shame because all the ones we're gonna miss so, won't.

Bu Bye.

Posted by: richfisher at August 7, 2008 3:36 PM

I only buy the weekend Post and quite frankly I find it only slightly more interesting than the Saturday Star, that’s how bad it is.

I head straight for the letters to the editor because I want to read what ordinary people are thinking. I ignore the editorial. Likewise David Frum. I generally try to read Robert Fulford no matter what the subject - he’s always interesting. I generally skip everything else.

Then it’s on to the painfully thin sports section, a quick look at Bonnie Stern’s unappetizing recipes, a scan of the business section where readers complain about last week’s Terence Corcoran article that I didn’t read, then lastly to the pull-out Toronto section where I can’t decide if they think all urban males are metrosexuals or they’re just on a campaign to make it so. Really, that kind of sissy stuff belongs in the Globe.

Posted by: Mississauga Matt at August 7, 2008 3:51 PM

Hahahahaha - Not Waiting for the Asteroid is one of my favourite pastimes now! Yay!

Posted by: John Murney at August 7, 2008 3:56 PM

Cause: See Mississauga Matt's description
Effect: See Jonathan Kay's lament
Conclusion: See Brent's chuckle

Posted by: Brent Weston at August 7, 2008 4:01 PM

I like reading the National Post on-line since it is the only Canadian paper that is not on the left. I hope it does survive. The problem is that newspapers just can not compete with the volume and variety of information on the internet. People now have unlimited choices of news and entertainment. It is the same for TV. No one would want to trade their satellite or cable and go back to one or two channels.

If the NP goes under I have no doubt that another conservative news source will spring up in its place (with many of the same faces). It would be nice to see a commercial organization similar to Fox Network in Canada. Actually I think that if we must keep the CBC, it should have to give at least 30% of its airtime to conservatives. After all, 30% of conservative taxpayers are forced to support it.

Posted by: lynnh at August 7, 2008 4:25 PM

"After all, 30% of conservative taxpayers are forced to support it." Make that 100% of conservative taxpayers, who are about 30% of the voters, are forced to support the CBC.

Posted by: lynnh at August 7, 2008 4:42 PM

"""""Where, exactly, are these stories going to come from when The Gray Lady is laid to rest?""""

hopefully from some HONEST sources

when one reads about a bulldozer attack in Israel, and the accompanying picture is of a backhoe, one has to wonder if the newzy doesn't know what a bulldozer is, or did bulldozer sound better than a backhoe, or could it be that the newzy thought that the readers were that stupid that it needed dumbing down?

Posted by: GYM at August 7, 2008 8:20 PM

Here's one source Jonathan Kay,, a great source for FACTUAL information on Iraq and Af'stan. There are many others, MSM is not one of them.

MSM, you can clean up your act or die, I don't care which.

Posted by: Enkidu at August 7, 2008 8:31 PM

The solution for Kay and company is simple .... PROVE your better!
Do Better!

Do the WORK!

If you can't then just go away and quit PRETENDING because you HAVE NOTHING to contribute.

Posted by: OMMAG at August 7, 2008 9:00 PM

Kathy is especially trying to reform society to stop self-censoring, to speak up and say what’s on the mind.

Yeah, but she's going a bit overboard perhaps. Did you see her thread about Mo screwing little girls and asking the fairies to come get her?

That's nuts. Frankly, I worry about her.

Posted by: Me No Dhimmi at August 7, 2008 9:01 PM

Kathy has more balls than the rest of us. Combined.

Posted by: Mississauga Matt at August 7, 2008 10:38 PM

"""""Yeah, but she's going a bit overboard perhaps""""

she's not the only one, there are a few in here that tend to do the same, 'specialy on certain issues

Posted by: GYM at August 7, 2008 10:39 PM

There doesn't seem to be an email address for "letters to the editor", so what I would say to Jonathan Kay is: You're half right. We already miss you. But you went away a long time ago.

We don't have to pay for leftoid political literature. We can go down to the local office of the Democratic Party or NDP and gather it by the ton, for free. Now that the Press have collectively decided that every ill on the planet, from melting sea-ice and the war in Darfur to hangnails suffered by schoolchildren in Mississauga can be remedied by electing a leftist politician and giving him or her all the money available, and that the easiest way to get "news" stories is to reprint Party press releases with typos intact, why should we pay for the National Post, or sit through the TV ads, when we can get the same thing for the asking from the original source?

Conservatives are insulted, so they don't care to pay. Leftists are bored, because they already got that missive directly from the party. Nobody needs you, Jonathan.

There's an apocryphal story about Darryl Zanuck, the film director. He was asked about people who made movies with strong political points behind them, and his comment was, they've sold their birthright for a pot of message. The burgers will probably taste better, especially since you'll get an employee discount.


Posted by: Ric Locke at August 7, 2008 11:45 PM

In the brave new world that people like Kate have brought us, most of the MSM are way too top-heavy and inefficient to survive in their present forms.
It is most obvious in the newspaper industry right now that their business model is not working. The stock value of the once-revered New York Times has fallen from $51 a share about 6 years ago to $13 now. Lee Enterprises has fallen from $48 a little over 4 years ago down to 3 bucks and change now. Maybe Kate should think about an Initial Public Offering, eh?

Posted by: Mike Kelley at August 8, 2008 12:42 AM

A Joooo as a KKK clan member. A Cohen ta boot from the priestly tribe. Could we be so blind?

This is seriously deluded. I sympathize with Jonathan Kay in the area of in depth coverage. Unlike him though I think Blogs will evolve that capacity or will adapt the same tactics only using differently modes of information gathering. Like real time investigations or using armatures on the spot reporting. Mr. Kay has talent laced with integrity, so in his case I believe he has little to worry about except how to spend his money.

There is always room for those who stick by there principles. He could start his own e-zine or Blog with like minded colleagues. Town square does well. Michael Coren ditto as an individual. Its the hacks, pundits, liars, & political lap dogs
we won't miss. Personally I love a well done article where I learn some real facts . Like say a David warren essay.

There will always be a need for print media, only it has to transform with the times. This will be an ugly changeover for many, for others an opportunity as is usual when the change winds blow.


Posted by: Revnant Dream at August 8, 2008 12:48 AM

Me No, with all due respect :

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."
Barry Goldwater, acceptance speech as Republican candidate for President, 1963
US politician (1909 - 1998)

Posted by: richfisher at August 8, 2008 7:22 PM

Jonathan Kay's lament is being heard all over the place as increasing numbers of Left leaning US papers are pink-slipping hundreds of people.

I think he's wrong. He's a cool guy, writes good stuff most of the time, but -this- time he's 100% wrong.

There WILL be media outfits writing these heavy duty stories bloggers can't cover. There will be war correspondents, gossip rags, paparazzi, all of it. Because there's MONEY to be made doing that stuff, and there will be somebody out there making it.

But, I seriously doubt it will be the New York Times.

Maybe it will be guys with a Paypal button on their web page, who won't lie like b@stards for a pat on the head from some apparatchik with a paper bag full of twenty dollar bills.

Posted by: The Phantom at August 8, 2008 11:16 PM