Michael Kinsley's Creative Destruction of Newspaper Bailouts


Good column by a guy who always has interesting things to say about newspapers:

[L]et's say […] that technology is on the verge of removing some traditionally vital organs of the body politic. What should we do?

How about nothing? Capitalism is a "perennial gale of creative destruction" (Joseph Schumpeter). Industries come and go. A newspaper industry that was a ward of the state or of high-minded foundations would be sadly compromised. And for what?

You may love the morning ritual of the paper and coffee, as I do, but do you seriously think that this deserves a subsidy? Sorry, but people who have grown up around computers find reading the news on paper just as annoying as you find reading it on a screen. (All that ink on your hands and clothes.) If your concern is grander -- that if we don't save traditional newspapers we will lose information vital to democracy -- you are saying that people should get this information whether or not they want it. That's an unattractive argument: shoving information down people's throats in the name of democracy. […]

But will there be a Baghdad bureau? Will there be resources to expose a future Watergate? Will you be able to get your news straight and not in an ideological fog of blogs? Yes, why not -- if there are customers for these things. […]

If General Motors goes under, there will still be cars. And if the New York Times disappears, there will still be news.

Link via Andrew Sullivan. Reason on newspaper bailouts here.

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  1. Michael Kinsley is a true oxymoron; a smart liberal.

  2. Michael Kinsley has always been my favorite liberal. The guy's brilliant.

  3. Will you be able to get your news straight and not in an ideological fog of blogs?

    At least with blogs I know which way the slant tilts.

    We could get most of the news in a typical paper by putting Associated Press online.

  4. He is mine to Paul. I hated to see him leave Slate. Kinsley would have never tolerated the kind of antics nitwits like Dalhia Lithwick and Emily Baylzon pull on there now. Slate turned into a leftwing snot rag after he left.

  5. For a few years, while I was in college, I worked in a newspaper circulation department, where I took calls from thousands of customers complaining about not receiving their daily paper. In that whole time, I got maybe two calls where someone was complaining because they wanted to read the actual news, and those were because they were mentioned in the story. I got dozens of calls every day complaining about missing the store ads, the comics, the crossword puzzle, or the horoscope.

  6. I used to watch Crossfire, back in the day when it was Michael Kinsley vs. Pat Buchanen. (i.e. back when it was a good show).

    Back then I tended to agree with Buchanen more often than Kinsley, but lately Kinsley has been sounding eminently reasonable. At least he's not one of the morons wailing for the government to take overt he economy. He edited 'Creative Capitalism' which at least attempts to address social equity through market based approaches.

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