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Seeking a savior for newspapers

Reader feedback - 10-11-06 

The mail


SEEKING 'SAVIORS' FOR NEWSPAPERS

KrestiaDeGeorge's "Remaking Media: the D&C's Hazy Future" (October 4) contains a lazy, unsupported, and inaccurate statement: "Recently a slew of articles in outlets that cover media, including a cover story in the Columbia Journalism Review, have advocated private, local ownership as the savior of the embattled metro daily."

No. No one thinks private owners are the savior. Some people think they might be a way out of the trap of public ownership, but that is a long, long way from advocating it as a solution or declaring "you're our savior."

Here are some quotes from the CJR story on private ownership, January-February 2006:

"To be clear, private equity investors are not Santa Claus. They can be every bit as rapacious as the most aggressive fund manager."

Sound like a savior?

"There are plenty of examples of private equity firms resorting to a 'pump it and dump it' strategy, making steep cuts to goose earnings and prettify the balance sheet before flipping the company to another buyer."

Savior?

That article has the same attitude one of your sources has: "It's hard to know what's better." You mischaracterized it. CJR is too squeamish to come out and say what's better. That's why the title of the article is "A Way Out?" with a question mark, not "The way out!"

Jay Rosen, pressthink@journalism.nyu.edu, is associate professor and former chairman of the Department of Journalism at New YorkUniversity. He also runs the media criticism blogPressThink.

KrestiaDeGeorge's response: Rosen is right: words like "advocated" and "savior" were too strong for me to have used in summarizing the CJR article. I'd argue, however, that the article was less neutral on the ownership question than my source's "It's hard to know what's better" comment. Consider the following paragraph, which concludes the CJR article:

"Compared with the lineup of bloodless managers and mandarins currently squeezing the life out of journalism, Charles Foster Kane looks pretty damn good. So while there is no guarantee that the private ownership of today would recognize the value of journalism, it has already been established that Wall Street does not. Maybe it's time we took our chances."

Advocacy? No. But strong enough that I'd be uncomfortable labeling it "squeamish."


MEN, BASHED

There is never a wrong time to visit the issue of misandry --- the hatred and abuse of men, especially as it occurs in today's society. Radical feminists will groan their displeasure, even though their own outcries about the treatment of women go on endlessly.

As a clever person once noted, "Satan's best trick is to make us think he doesn't exist," so is the case of abuses against males. From the popular "Boys Are Dumb" merchandise marketed to young girls (and later pulled from many stores because of outraged protests) to the negative portrayal of men in popular entertainment (observe those horrible TV movies and dramas where men are constantly portrayed as murderers, molesters, rapists, adulterers while the women are brave, courageous, and noble), the image of the male is stereotyped, then ridiculed and debased to the point of something like blasphemy. The satanic trick lies in its seeming unassailability. Similar treatment of women would not be tolerated. Bash men? Go right ahead. It's the norm.

But it is not just a stupid pop-culture thing. Men get the shaft in real life, too. They routinely lose in child-custody battles, even when many of them are proven to be loving fathers. (At least one feminist has stated that fathers are totally unnecessary to a child's healthy development.)

Men have been victims of false abuse charges, false rape charges, paternal fraud plots, parental alienation conspiracies, and all other manner of character assassinations. In another area, despite the fact that more men than women die from virtually every one of the major diseases, research funds for women's health issues and allied funds for public awareness outnumber funds for men's concerns by millions of dollars.

I can only scratch the surface here. There are whole books written on the topic of offenses against males. These offenses constitute not only an unspeakable insult to good men everywhere but they branch more seriously into the dirty waters of outright discrimination.

Be angry.

Harold Jewell, Rochester


HUSH MONEY

Congressman Tom Reynolds must donate the money he received from Mark Foley to a charity. It's obviously hush money, and it makes Reynolds an accomplice if he keeps it. Greed should not prevail. This is bad enough already.

John Urich, Rochester


WRITING TO CITY

We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: themail@rochester-citynews.com or The Mail, City Newspaper, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester14607.

Our guidelines: We don't publish anonymous letters --- and we ask that you include your street name and city/town/village. We don't publish letters that have been sent to other media --- and we don't publish form letters generated by activist groups. While we don't restrict length, letters of under 350 words have a greater chance of being published. We do edit letters for clarity and brevity. And in general we don't publish letters (or longer "op-ed" pieces) from the same writer more often than about once every two months.


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