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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/28/09

The Creative Murder of Select and Notable Newspapers

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It is truly one of my favorite times of day.  I'm up, making coffee, feed the cats, stroll to the newspaper kiosk at 6AM, grab the newspaper, so as to read it with that coffee and start my day.  It's a routine I love.  I will go upstairs, after I read the paper, to get real facts, opinions and breakthroughs from my news sites on the Internet.  Still, I'm one who reads the newspaper because that's what I do in the morning.  I read about my city, my arts, my sports, their view of the world, my view of the world and I do read between the lines.

On the way to the kiosk, which is 3 blocks, I say hi to the woman who lives at the bus stop.  She doesn't talk, but she finally does smile back.  I watch people who live in older RVs on the street in front of the Lutheran church get ready for their day jobs.  The woman who lives with her cat in a van is out on the lawn sometimes.  One of my favorite dogs anywhere lives in one of those vans & he's out for his walk.  This is a well to do liberal neighborhood across from the Woodlawn Park Zoo in the middle of Seattle.  It's a safe neighborhood and these new people are welcome, though not totally understood.  

I'm but one of millions who enjoy similar interactions on their morning treks to get their daily newspapers.

That newspaper routine changed recently.  The Hearst Corp. shut down our "left wing" newspaper, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, with only 3 months to find a buyer.  The PI was no Boston Globe, but it was a good newspaper with good columnists (not the mostly rightwingers at the Washington Post Writers Group) supporting Gore, Kerry and Obama.  The Seattle Times, now our only newspaper, supported Bush, Bush and Obama.  The Times well known right-wing bias shows up in subtle ways.  You have certain columnists like Charles Krauthammer, George Will and their ilk.  There's a somewhat positive focus on the words and actions of the former Bush Administration officals, page 3 fawning over Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Meghan McCain, Michelle Bachmann and other right wingers, the demonization and misunderstanding of liberals and our perceived points of view.  Then there's the lack of info and facts about a subject extensively covered on the Internet; that's almost as effective as outright lying.  They have all the time necessary to start small, incremental and daily propaganda;  it will change the reader's point of view over time just like FoxNews and TV.  

Two days after the PI was shut down, the Seattle Times had front page coverage of Sen. Patty Murray and Norm Dicks (both mostly liberal)  being investigated by the FBI.  It was amazing in its partisanship.  It was also gone the next day and I haven't seen it since.  Methinks they overplayed their hand too soon;  their heavyhanded right-wing rhetoric probably cost them the PI subscribers who had those same subscriptions automatically transferred to Seattle Times subscriptions.  Money is that factor.  So, they stopped for now. Seattle is a left-wing town; we can't be fooled that easily, though we can be fooled.  However, in parts of Eastern Washington state, it's red state ideas.  They seem to want to be fooled (not in so many words) and it shows in their newspapers.  They want their spin to seem truthful, so as to make their political views valid and seem true.  It's probably about greed.  We knew the Seattle Times was going to do something stealth like and behind the scenes.  Still, I was surprised while watching KING5 TV.  I had never heard a TV station in Seattle refer to an "affiliated newspaper".  In this case, the 'affiliated newspaper is the mostly right wing Seattle Times and the TV station. KING5, is the right wing NBC affiliate in Seattle.  The powers that be (Hearst), when deciding to shut down our mostly left-wing paper, the Seattle PI, gave up the Joint Operating Agreement and, strangely, sign a paper to NOT buy the Seattle Times.  That is probably when suspicion became paranoia.

So, we're a left-wing city with a right-wing newspaper.  We couldn't stop them from shutting down the PI.  The Arizona Citizen couldn't either and they had the help of the Arizona Attorney General.  The AG tried to invoke antitrust statutes against the publishers of the rival Arizona Daily Star.  Even so, invoking antitrust statutes failed and the Citizen is history.  The Washington State Attorney General didn't even try to help.

I believe we should try anything and everything on the assumption that newspapers Must stay open. (That is MUST, not should) It's a Constitutional issue:  Freedom of the Press.  I see how the loss of a newspaper could shut down a community.  They are THAT important.

So, if I were a fascist with a business empire, I'd still start with corrupting the newspapers, then TV.  It's deceptively simple. I'd innocently start buying up left wing newspapers, then financially starve them, say I'm going to sell them, but actually never planned to and, finally, shut them out of business.  This will get rid of left wing newspapers in left wing cities; particularly West Coast cities like Seattle and San Francisco.  This leaves the liberals gasping for information and facts.  They do hate those liberals. It would have to be done covertly or the populace might suspect something.  It could be made to appear like it was a hard business decision; it would be said that they have to be sold for business' sake.  A buyer would not be found and the paper is shut down.  The liberals would be numb from being deprived of newspapers, or worse, to watch your news and info be distorted, lied about and twisted.  Man, is it really paranoia if they're doing it right in front of you?

It's perfectly legal and ethical to sell your business.  However, I think newspapers should be tax exempt and could be community owned; then the politicians and business people can't manipulate them through questionable business practices.  We do have a 1st Amendment that may give reason to newspapers having government sponsorship.  Obviously, getting factual information to the citizens is what makes or breaks a country.

So, people are led to believe that the shutting down of newspapers is just a natural business occurrence based on money and debt.  The corporations could allow the newspapers to stand on their own; with a small infusion of cash, these newspapers could support themselves.  There are many avenues to explore.'  Some newspapers are folding because of the weight of debt by their parent corporation.  Many times, the corporations are divesting newspapers to offset other losses in their empires.  The US Government should step in and create a level playing field.  We don't need their management, but we do need their printing presses and supplies.

The shutting down of American newspapers is not just a business problem or decision;  it is a constitutional problem that MUST be addressed with a viable solution BECAUSE it is in the Constitution.  It is our constitutional right to a free press.  An informed populace is imperative to a functioning democracy or republic.  The destruction of our collective right to factual information and ideas overrides ANY business decision.  In a purely business newspaper decision, the potential for corruption and propaganda is too large to be left to business interests.  We can work out the details later, but the sale of newspapers must NOT become a business deal with political overtones and undertones.

We do have a document with a guideline:  The Constitution, with those words and ideas about a Free Press and Freedom of the Press.  Let's use it creatively.
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Doug Morrison Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I'm a retired Union stagehand living in Seattle.
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