Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Real Journalists Get Canned While Glenn Beck Just Gets Rich(er)

Real journalists continue to lose their jobs as newspapers cut staff in record numbers. And while this is happening hucksters like Glenn Beck continue to make millions playing on ignorance and fear

About a week ago I was on a Rutgers football message board where I read the sad news of the laying off of Home News Tribune sports reporter/columnist Paul Franklin and reporter/ columnist Rick Malwitz due to cutbacks and consolidation by parent company Gannett Co, Inc. Combined, these two journalists must have had 60 years of experience between them, but were let go, as have thousands of other newspaper reporters and columnists as that industry struggles to transition itself into the information age.

I'm a self admitted dinosaur who still gets two newspapers a day, the HNT and the Star-Ledger. I find newspapers a guilty pleasure instead of a necessity- most news I get is from the internet, or TV, or radio. But I love the tactile sensation of reading a newspaper while having my morning coffee- nothing beats it. The local newspaper will give me information about local stories that most other sources will not, and because of that newspapers will probably never become totally obsolete. Newspapers had to reinvent themselves in the 1960's when satellites were launched that could beam down to the world news as it happened.....the newspaper, until then the primary source of news for most people, had to become more opinion based and targeted to certain readership in order to survive. And the big fish ate the little ones; the number of newspapers in the United States began to shrink. In New York the decade of the 1960's saw the demise of the century old The Daily Mirror, The Journal-American, The World-Telegram &Sun, and The Herald-Tribune. In New Jersey we lost The Newark Evening News and The Elizabeth Journal. The Perth Amboy Evening News morphed into The News Tribune and moved to Woodbridge, and it finally merged with The Daily Home News of New Brunswick to become The Home News Tribune in the 1990's.

And in the new century America's newspapers continue to consolidate and reorganize, merge or fold, and send hundreds of respected professional journalists to the ranks of the unemployed. Advertising revenues for the print industry continues to shrink, so payroll is slashed.

Paul Franklin reported and commented on local scholastic and collegiate sports for as as long as I could remember. Most recently he was a beat writer for Rutgers Women's Basketball, and previously reported and wrote commentary about RU football. He's a big, gray bearded gregarious guy who could be seen in press row for most of the last two decades at The RAC, and though he was always objective and professional, the reader knew that this man was a fan of the games he reported on. He did his homework, never wrote "rip pieces" in order to sell papers, and always seemed to get an angle to a story from locker room interviews from student athletes.

Paul was one of the best....I miss reading his reports and commentary already.

Rick Malwitz is a real Central Jersey guy, and wrote about the issues that affect us locally in civil, rational tones and never ventured into sloganeering and character assassination. I mentioned Rick in this blog last summer when he broke down the root cause of high property taxes in New Jersey in a way few politicians would dare; Rick used the late New Jersey legislator Alan Karcher's premise of the insane number of municipalities in the state the bottom line cause of New Jersey's property tax woes. No one ever spelled out and defined the "whys" of the situation like Rick Malwitz, no progressive or conservative, and no governor of this state.....including the current one.

With these two gentleman, it was about integrity and journalism, not demagoguery.

The Gannett Blog does a great job at detailing the ongoing saga of Gannett's downsizing and the reaction of those affected by the cuts. I highly recommend the blog, it's great reading, and please take time to read the dozens of comments.

Which brings me to FOX News, and the Websters definition of demagoguery......Glenn Beck.

And in the spirit of full disclosure I'll have to admit....I never watch the guy. But I do watch the clips of his crazy rantings, of "Islamic- socialist" alliances out to conquer the world, all at the behest of President Barack Obama. The man is making a fortune appealing to fear and prejudice, and playing on the almost total ignorance of world and national affairs of his audience. Beck has become a multi-millionaire though spewing misinformation to his viewers, and throwing a nightly pile of horsecrap at his audience to see what sticks.

I'm debating in my mind on a daily this man demented or evil, or a little of both. More on Beck can be found at blogger pal Leslie's Parsley's Pics.

And you wonder...where is the justice?

Beck makes millions spreading hate and fear....and Rick Malwitz and Paul Franklin are looking for jobs after decades of good, solid journalism.


nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney said...

Glenn Beck
All Israel all the time
mass murder neocon war criminals in fear

Malcolm said...

This was a very informative. I didn't know it was the satellite which caused newspapers to reinvent themselves. It is a shame that good journalists such as Franklin and Malwitz are out of a job. Do you know if they will move to the blogosphere?

As for Beck, I think he's evil and demented. I cannot understand why anyone would follow Beck... he has admitted that he couldn't care less about the political process. To me, that shows he is all about money and ratings.

I don't watch him all that much. However, if I am home to watch "Hardball" at 5, I will sometimes switch over to Glenn Beck while "Hardball" in on a commercial break. It doesn't take long for Beck's wild conspiracy theories and his smugness to cause me to switch back to MSNBC. The fact that he does tell his audience not to trust him and to do their own research just shows you how stupid most of them are.

It came as no surprise to me when Beck's TV ratings started to drop. I was on a conservative blog commenting that these types of TV phenoms don't last long. Look at Morton Downey Jr. and Jerry Springer. When your audience is based on how outrageous you can be, it's hard to keep topping yourself. The host getting into shouting matches with the audience/his guests and onstage fights between guests gets old after awhile. The same goes for a host who relies on fear to capture an audience. Mark my word, within the next few years, Beck's show will have a fraction of the shrinking audience he has today. That's assuming he is even still on TV.

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