Save Our Newspapers.

I felt it a few years ago, when I first started writing for the Star-news.  I would work long hours on a story, make a ton of phone calls and work hard on every sentence.  For my troubles, I would get the standard freelancers fee of $50 per article.  I knew, then, that I was not as important as I should be and that the Newspaper business was truly a business and not what I thought.  What did I think it was?  I thought it was an institution.  I thought that what I was doing mattered.  I thought people needed me to go out there and get the story.  I wasn’t wrong.  But I wasn’t right either.  That’s why this article in the Nation, The Death and Life of the Great American Newspaper, is so important.  Newspapers are failing because these papers are owned by men who want more money.  You know what the problem is with wanting money?  You can never have enough of it.  The result has been layoffs, putting advertisements on the front pages, getting rid of Weekend-inserts, hiring part-timers and interns to do full-time work, and just general shitty reporting.  The reason professionals do professional work is because they get paid well, and have the promise of continuing in their career.  Yes, you can love what you do.  But you will very quickly hate what you do if you can’t put food on your table, put your kids through college, or graduate with dignity.  There are thousands of reporters out there who would do an amazing job if given the chance and the pay to do it.  We deserve to have good newspapers, not this crap we read in fifteen minute chunks online.  I mean we deserve reading stories that took months to prepare and have a real impact in our society.  We deserve that.  John Nichols and Robert McCherney say it best in their piece:

We begin with the notion that journalism is a public good, that it has broad social benefits far beyond that between buyer and seller. Like all public goods, we need the resources to get it produced. This is the role of the state and public policy. It will require a subsidy and should be regarded as similar to the education system or the military in that regard. Only a nihilist would consider it sufficient to rely on profit-seeking commercial interests or philanthropy to educate our youth or defend the nation from attack. With the collapse of the commercial news system, the same logic applies. Just as there came a moment when policy-makers recognized the necessity of investing tax dollars to create a public education system to teach our children, so a moment has arrived at which we must recognize the need to invest tax dollars to create and maintain news gathering, reporting and writing with the purpose of informing all our citizens.

This isn’t a choice.  We have to have proper newspapers.  The quality of our lives depend on it.  Please, leave a comment and let’s have a discussion.


Netflixing: Body of Lies

Good, but not as good as this movie poster.  But what movie ever is?

Good, but not as good as this movie poster. But what movie ever is?

So I watched Traitor a while ago and never posted anything about it.  My bad.  Let me do a quick summary of it.  Not too horrible.  The beginning was better than the ending.  The upside is that Body of Lies is basically the exact same movie, but better directed with a cooler cast.  Much love, Don Cheadle, but I have to be real.  Real, real, real?  Real, real, real, real.  So let me get into this Body of Lies review so I can look at internet pictures of Bruce Willis’ new wife.  Man. Smoking.

Body of Lies is about the CIA doing CIA stuff in the Middle East.  That’s it.  The good part is that we get to see tons of really cool Arab dudes showing off why the Muslim world will always rock-socks.  When the CIA starts working with the Jordanians, we understand a bit why the United States can’t work well in their world.  Let me rephrase that.  We understand why Director Ridley Scott thinks that.  This movie assumptions that penetrates every little chunk of the film.  US is bad.  Middle East is victim.  Islamic terrorist bad.  Torture is bad. The world has problems and always will.  That, in a nut shell, is what this movie is trying to convey.  How many times do they have to drop the “G” bomb.  Guantanamo? Our little, private prison camp?  It pops up whenever Scott wants to remind us that torture and the people who use torture are animals.  The coolest line, though, is from the Jordanian Super-Spy, during a little training session that our boy Leo watches.  “Its not torture.  Its punishment.  That’s different.”  A line like that comes to an actor once a century, and he delivered it like silk sliding off a bed.  Wow.  Where did that come from?  Continue reading