(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Calling Out Newsweek

Perhaps it's on life-support, but I erred greatly when I re-upped a while back for two more years. I wish I could get a refund and stop my subscription.

There are a few reasons for this. First, it's very thin on coverage of any type. Second, it offers as many opinions as news articles, or so it seems. Third, most of those opinion writers are defenders of, or apologists for, the Democratic Party. So, not only do you not get much reporting, you don't get a balanced look at life in the U.S. And that's not right.

I'll bet that the owners of Newsweek and Newsweek's editors wouldn't agree with me. They'll swear on the governing documents of the finest journalism schools in the land that they're offering balanced coverage. They'll also say that there are many reasons for the magazine's decline, among them the immediacy of news on the internet and the fact that such quickly available media is free. Deep down, they'll lament that the public has turned into a group of almost ungovernable Neandarthals with a mob mentality that doesn't appreciate good journalism or fine writing. Accordingly, they'll offer that the number of available customers has shrunk, and that instead of writing for the average American they're writing to an ever-shrinking elite of people who appreciate the stringing of two good sentences together. Or something like that.

But what they fail to realize is that instead of staying relevant, they permitted market forces to overtake them. The country needs solid journalism more than ever -- journalism that is fair, journalism that doesn't take sides (which, through slanted reporting, it all too frequently does) and journalism that appeals not to the next sound byte but to a greater sense of the country and its possibilities. Instead, Newsweek is as into playing games of "Gotcha!" and "Class Envy" as any other publication.

The thin size of the magazine is akin to an older person withering with age. At this point, the excessive weight loss might be irreversible. I can get opinions anywhere, and my local, county newspaper does a better job of offering all points of view than Newsweek does. And that speaks volumes about what Newsweek has become.

For what it's worth, I'm rather apolitical, a centrist at heart, and someone who would rather see the private sector create jobs than the public sector. So, I really like to see the balance. At one time, I thought that providing balance was what journalism was all about.


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