From The Paper That Brought Down Nixon: "Kitten Is Rescued From HOV Lane"; or, "You Know the Real Reason Newspapers/Old Media/Whatever Are Dying? The Content" Redux

This story caught my eye in yesterday's Washington Post, probably because I'd been wondering what sorts of stories Carl Bernstein has been working on over the past 35 years.

Or maybe because I'm tired of hearing newspapermen complain about how no entity other than a bloated big-city daily circa 1960 can really deliver the sort of gritty, investigative series that take years of time and gallons of whiskey to produce.

Animal Watch: Kitten Is Rescued from HOV Lane

INTERSTATE 395, July 25. A man driving on I-395 noticed a kitten in the HOV lane. Unable to make a U-turn, the man drove into the District and headed back toward Virginia to pick up the 7-week-old tortoiseshell cat. While being driven to the Animal Welfare League shelter, the kitten wedged itself behind the gas and brake pedals of the vehicle. A shelter staff member removed the kitten from its hiding place. A veterinarian determined that the kitten was healthy except for a small scrape on its mouth. The kitten was placed in foster care and is to be put up for adoption when it is older.

Whole thing here.

Sadly, the Post couldn't put this Dan Rather column up for adoption. The former CBS News mainstay's piece also appeared in yesterday's paper and will make even the most ardent MSM fans wonder what's the frequency:

You don't have to care about media companies or reporters to care about the state of the news, because if it's in trouble—and it surely is—this country is in trouble. That's why, while speaking recently at the Aspen Institute, I called upon President Obama to form a commission to address the perilous state of America's news media....I want the president to convene a nonpartisan, blue-ribbon commission to assess the state of the news as an institution and an industry and to make recommendations for improving and stabilizing both.

Not just a commission, but a blue-ribbon commission! Now that's a solution! Rather's main bit of evidence that the media is in trouble?

An intense period of corporate consolidation over the past 25 years, aided and abetted by deregulation by the Federal Communications Commission, has reduced to a mere handful the sources from which most Americans get their news.

Worse still, those corporate overlords consolidated Rather out of broadcast and over to HDNet, one of those new-fangled sources by which Americans are (thank god) inundated by more news and different perspectives than ever before. Whole thing here.

Courage, Dan, courage. And when you're done with your nap, read this story about consolidation. It'll make you feel better than a kitten rescued from an HOV lane.

Related: You Know The Real Reason The New York Times Is Losing Readership (and Credibility)? The Content (Puppy Dogs Edition)! and You Know The Real Reason Why Time Mag Is Going Down the Drain? The Content!

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  • Fluffy||

    Dude, you have no sense of the market at all.

    Animal jeopardy stories get HUGE hit numbers.

    Why do you think Drudge puts them up all the time?

  • ||

    Let me be the first to say, "Aaawwwwwww."

    Now, somebody punch Dan Rather in the face for me. Thanks.

  • ||

    I called upon President Obama to form a commission to address the perilous state of America's news media

    Here's an idea, Dan: why don't you put together a proposal for a new news organization and assemble a Board of Directors, and make the rounds of the venture capitalists? You won't have to worry about those free-for-all capitalists at the FCC stopping you.

  • ||

    An intense period of corporate consolidation over the past 25 years, aided and abetted by deregulation by the Federal Communications Commission, has reduced to a mere handful the sources from which most Americans get their news.

    That's really rich, coming from a guy who made his bones during the Big Three network news oligopoly.

    His real complaint, of course, is that the Right People aren't in charge of how Americans get their news.

  • Warty||

    The kitten is three times as valuable as Dan Rather. True story.

  • ||

    I was hoping I would have instead read somthing like this:

    "A man driving on I-395 noticed a kitten in the HOV lane. Unable to make a U-turn, because he missed it on the first pass..."

  • Xeones||

    Only three, Warty? What, does it have rabies?

  • Lenny||

    Blue-ribbon! Wow! I couldn't be more appeased!

  • TallDave||

    I agree with Dan Rather. How else will Americans be informed about forged memos regarding the military service of Presidential candidates?

    I nominate Rather for the new post of Media Czar, where he will head the newly created Ministry of Truth.

  • Joe M||

    I didn't know that anyone outside of the government EVER seriously suggested a blue-ribbon commission on anything. Every time I see that phrase, it makes me laugh, because, come on, really? What are the criteria to qualify for blue-ribbon status anyway?

  • ||

    Say, shouldn't that guy get a ticket for driving in the HOV lane without any passengers (at least until he picked up the kitten)?

  • EJM||

    If the WP were to get rid of Lisa de Moraes, it would be infinitely better.

  • ||

    What are the criteria to qualify for blue-ribbon status anyway?

    Prize-winning cows and pigs, obviously.

  • <strike>strike through</strike||

    bloated big-city [dailies] circa 1960...

    ...are supplanted by snarky, agenda-driven blogs. Is this the inevitable succession?

  • ||

    Blue ribbon? What?

  • JB||

    Dan Rather wants all-government, all-the-time, in every orifice.

  • ||

    Rather would like to be the Orificial Journalist for this administration.

  • jpocali||

    Wow! Blue ribbon.... just like the beer! That is like three ribbons better than the participant ribbons!

    Dan, seriously, you aren't folksy, you are annoying. Fear the change Dan.... now get off my lawn!

  • Rich||

    What are the criteria to qualify for blue-ribbon status anyway?

    Just eat chicken cordon bleu during the sessions without eating crow cordon bleu afterwards.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    "I nominate Rather for the new post of Media Czar, where he will head the newly created Ministry of Truth."

    I'd like to feel that the actual possibility of this was beyond reaching. I don't.

  • Dan Rather||

    Now, listen here, whippersnapper! If anybody's gonna get off anybody's lawn, it's you!

  • ||

    I nominate the Kitten for the new post of Media Czar.

    "Bring the Czar tuna. Fast you fools or he'll shutdown the Lifetime channel!"

  • Anonymous||

    An intense period of corporate consolidation over the past 25 years, aided and abetted by deregulation by the Federal Communications Commission, has reduced to a mere handful the sources from which most Americans get their news.



    Quite observant, if by "news" you mean "daily newspapers", to exclude (going roughly in order of blossoming) alternative local weeklies and TV and cable TV and satellite TV and the internet. Which is to say, it's a cracked crock of shit careening around a crap carosel.

    But let's say it's 1935 or something and this quote happens to accurately describe the current market for news. What of new competition? If it's really so deregulated, then the barrier to entry should be even lower than when players were more numerous. There could be two schools of thought if competition weren't popping up:

    1) It's too costly. The rich buy up all capital, all the printing presses, and the patents to presses, and sue anybody trying to operate without licensing their printing technology. In this way, ownership of property is coercing public opinion in the way only government must be allowed to.

    2) There is no demand for new outlets. The stranglehold on information has manipulated the public in such a way that they unwittingly reinforce the market conditions which damned their souls in the first place. This is private property run amok.

    Either way, Kenneth's caught Red-handed.

  • Jeff P||

    Snookums, what's the frequency?

  • ||

    according to other sources, Dan actually placed the kitten in the HOV lane to illustrate his point. apparently the Post took the bait.

    yer the man dan!

  • ||

    ...has reduced to a mere handful the sources from which most Americans get their news

    Let's see, when I was a young lad, there was only ABC,CBS, and NBC.

    Then Ted Turner created CNN (I believed people laughed at his idea for a 24 hour all news network).

    Now, in addition to the previously mentioned 4 outlets, we have Fox, MSNBC, CNBC et al, and with the internet, there are all kinds of new news outlets.

    As someone said upthread, Dan is only upset because the 'wrong' kinds of people are in charge of the new outlets.

  • Michael||

    Say, shouldn't that guy get a ticket for driving in the HOV lane without any passengers (at least until he picked up the kitten)?

    Which makes me wonder why no one managed to pick up the real story here - HOV lanes going pitifully unused as evidenced by a lack of squished kitties.

  • Billy!||

    Nick Gillespie's belief that the problem with newspapers is that they need more Hard Hitting News is only slightly less annoying than Rather's blathering. Put up a website with oodles of cute kittens and puppies and a website of intense Iraq muckracking and see which gets more hits. I'd put money on it.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Heineken? Fuck that shit!

  • ||

    I guess the question really is whether journalism and entertainment are two different things. I think they should be, just because of the different emphases each should have when it comes to facts, but, in practice, that line is hard to draw.

    In any case, the very last entity that should have any say in the matter is the government.

  • LOL CAT MEDIA CZAR||

    I can has blue ribbonz?

  • FRANK BOOTH||

    Citizen Nothing | August 10, 2009, 2:17pm | #
    Heineken? Fuck that shit!


    PABST BLUE RIBBON!

  • ||

    heineken is for pussies!

  • ||

    I don't know anything about Dan Rather's proposal, although I always felt he did a great job exposing unelected president Bush's near-AWOL behavior. In any case, there is no doubt that U.S. "journalism" is very sub-par and a disgrace. CNN is wall-to wall commercials and talking heads and the FOX Propaganda network is still an excellent comedy channel, but otherwise only a cretin could feel good about the current state of American news reporting.

  • ||

    I certainly care more about the well-being of the kitten than Dan Rather or any of our politicians.

  • jester||

    Everybody knows it must be true= the truth

    -Dan Rather

    Substantiation? I don't need no substatiation!

    -Dan Rather

    I deserve $60 million because I was fired unjustly for wallowing in my own hubris.

    -Dan Rather

    Integrity c'est moi!

    -Dan Rather

    The world just won't survive without me pontificating about it.

    -Dan Rather

    I prefer hamsters to jerbils

    -Dan Rather

    I once fantisized about...(ANYONE?)

    -Dan Rather

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