Commentary

Goodbye news

goodbyeThe laws of nature increasingly point to the conclusion that journalism as most in this country have known it for decades is doomed.

Anyone who stands back and looks at the environment in which the news lives can see the problem. Derek Thompson, a thirty something editor at The Atlantic, did and then sketched a pretty clear picture.

Noting how Google and Facebook today suck up about 50 percent of online advertising revenue, he went on to observe that “just about every big tech company is talking about selling ads, meaning that just about every big tech company may become another competitor in the fight for advertising revenue.”

The only flaw in that assessment is the use of the word “may.” There is no may.

When the internet opened the door for anyone to be a publisher or news organization sans the staggering cost of obtaining a printing press or a radio/TV station, it also opened the door for anyone to sell advertising.

The “fake news” phenomenon surrounding the election of President Donald Trump was driven not by politics but by the opportunity to reel in revenue by trafficking in outlandish stories.

Forget all the Russia hysteria. That’s post-Cold War nonsense that ignores the reality of why the Russians lost the Cold War: Market economies were too powerful.

Markets respond to economic opportunities better than politicians, and clearly there were a lot of businesses noting the revenue potential demonstrated by those Macedonia kids writing fake news in 2016. 

“Amazon’s ad business exploded in the past year; its growth exceeded that of every other major tech company, including the (Facebook-Google) duopoly,” Thompson wrote. “Apple is building tech that would skim ad revenue from major apps such as Snapchat and Pinterest, according to The Wall Street Journal. Microsoft will make about $4 billion in advertising revenue this year, thanks to growth from LinkedIn and Bing. Uber is reportedly getting into the ad business as it eyes new revenue sources to beautify its forthcoming IPO. AT&T is building an ad network to go along with its investment in Time Warner’s content, and Roku, which sells equipment for streaming television, is building ad tech. Oracle, Adobe, and Salesforce are using their cloud technology to collect data that could be used for ad targeting, as Axios reported.”

All of these businesses – to return to the ecology of economics – are fighting for a piece of a niche once occupied solely by mainstream media. The habitat can only support so many players.

All habitats have a limited carrying capacity. This is as much a reality of economics as of ecology.

You can see it right here in Alaska where new entities from Must Read Alaska to The Midnight Sun to The Alaska Landmine to the AK Headlamp to those like craigmedred.news and the former Alaska Commons have tried to weasel their way into the news niche, and never mind the proliferation of something-like-news sites on Facebook catering to niches within the niche.

Or the reality that some on Facebook have become better at starting public discussions than the mainstream media. News organizations once prided themselves on encouraging community conversations. Now they are too busy rewriting the daily flood of government press releases to even contemplate a role as thought leaders.

And still they are fading in once was their exclusive niche.

A once robust KTVA-News, which thought it could profit as a free alternative to a paywall barricaded Daily News, has been forced to lay off staff, and the Daily News – bought by the Binkley Company for the bargain-basement price of $1 million and then downsized to near sustainability – remains in a fight for its economic survival.

Columnist Charles Wohlforth, the public face of the newspaper, is the latest to be let go. Wohlforth couldn’t bring himself to publicly admit it, instead writing a good-bye column pondering whether Alaska “is dying”, but his departure was about budgetary realities. 

A writer who truly believes “opinion journalists…can be the conscience of the community” doesn’t quit because its best to “leave before the column goes stale.” No way. Righteousness has an unlimited shelf life.

And never mind that Wohlforth has been hinting to others for months that his relationship with the ADN was near an end because of the tough, tough problem of turning a profit on news in today’s market.

Wohlforth is an ADN loss. Love him for his left-leaning political history or hate him for his endless name dropping, his pomposity, and his inability to free his news analysis from the shadow of his liberal echo chamber – remember Wohlforth’s story for The Daily Beast headlined “Why Hillary Clinton Could Actually Win Alaska Over Donald Trump?” – the guy got out of the office, talked to real people, and wrote about ideas.

You don’t have to like somebody to appreciate that. Writing about ideas is what journalists did back in the old days when there was enough money to afford time to think.

The mainstream model

News businesses, as most people alive today know them, were built on revenue derived from the sale of advertising. Lots and lots of advertising.

Reporters, especially when under fire for writing anything objectionable to anyone, used to joke that “we only write the filler to wrap around the advertising.”

They were largely right.

Aside from front pages – which were reserved solely for news until newspapers really, really, really needed money and sold what they had once considered their soul – news served as newspaper filler.

Newspaper ad salesmen and women daily hit the streets to sell as many ads as they could. The ads were inserted into mock-ups of what the next day’s paper would look like,  and whatever space was left was given over to the “news.”

The only real limit on the volume of advertising was the U.S. Postal Service, which denied cheap, periodical mailing rates to “publications that…contain more than 75 percent advertising in more than half of the issues published during any 12-month period” or appear designed purely to promote a business or businesses.

Many newspapers pushed right up to that 75-percent limit, which included advertising inserts. Advertising inserts were a financial bonanza for newspaper owners and a benefit to newspaper readers.

Had all that advertising been squeezed onto the news pages, the news might have been hard to find. Just imagine a newspaper with every page three-quarters full of advertising.

Advertising made media a highly profitable business in the days when newspapers and radio/TV were far and away the best way for businesses to reach potential customers.  Newspapers roared through the 1990s and into the new millennium with profit margins over 20 percent.

Media companies were the envy of other businesses. Then came the internet.

Today, for the newspapers that survive, the margins are in the single digits, and the only way profits have been maintained at all is through downsizing. Journalism jobs at daily newspapers decreased 42 percent from a peak of 56,900 in 1990 to 32,900 as of 2015, according to data from the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE).

All of this even as the world of news has expanded into the realm of unlimited, online data. Clearly the newspaper-based, mainstream, multi-media organizations can’t keep shrinking their way to success forever, but  Tacoma publisher David Zeeck hinted.

A McClatchy announcement gave no “reason for Zeeck’s departure, but comes after shakeups for McClatchy’s papers in Western Washington, including rounds of layoffs, the decision to outsource printing, and consolidation of management, design and copy editing,” the Seattle Times reported.

“While there are more than 300,000 households in Pierce County, according to the most recent Census data. The News Tribune has only slightly more than 5,000 digital subscribers.”

Suffice to say, online subscriptions are hard to sell in part because of news alternatives in most communities and a big problem with soft paywalls. Internet savvy Americans now know that private or “incognito” browsers offer an easy way into the circle of wagons.

If a website can’t recognize a computer’s address, it can’t count how many times someone has visited. It thinks each visit a new visit, and as a result never posts a demand the viewer subscribe or pay before continuing to read.

Some news organizations, the Boston Globe being one of them, now block private browsers. As of this time, there has been no objective analysis of how that strategy is working in a world where online readers have long been conditioned to believe news should be free.

And in a world where there are a lot of options to go find a different version of the same story if a paywall is encountered, it appears that many people do just that.

Play things of the rich?

About all that is obvious about paywalls at this time is that they are one way to ensure a story gets read less. How much less is open to debate, but it is certain that some people directed to a paywalled link from Google or Facebook or Bing or Uber or craigmedred.news are going to click it closed and move on: “Sorry, your story looks interesting, but not that interesting.”

Enter the “affluent patrons,” as Thompson calls them – the Rogoffs, the Benioffs of Time magazine,  the Jiaravanons of Fortune magazine, and the others – who have an ego interest in keeping the news free. They want the maximum number of people reading what their hirelings do.

As Alaskans learned with Rogoff, however, these people tend to be a little fickle. Rogoff had what was for her a longterm sustainable news operation in the online-only Dispatch News founded by Hopfinger and ex-wife Amanda Coyne, but she tried to leverage it into an Alaska media empire with the purchase of the Daily News and in the process turned the whole thing into a massive business failure.

“A patron is as person,” Thompson observes. “A person can change his or her mind—and often does. Chris Hughes junked The New Republic when losses eclipsed his idealism. Phil Anschutz snuffed out The Weekly Standard. Michael Bloomberg has made noises about selling off his political desk if he runs for president, or offloading his entire eponymous media empire, which employs several thousand people.”

Thompson goes on to make something of an argument for a return to a somewhat different style of patronage – political entities or interest groups. As a potential model, he cites the “party press” era when political parties financed editors and writers to cover the news and often “to publish vicious attacks against rivals.

“That era’s journalism was hyper-political and deeply biased. But some historians believe that it was also more engaging….As Gerald J. Baldasty, a professor at the University of Washington, has argued, these newspapers treated readers as a group to engage and galvanize. Perhaps as a result, voting rates soared in the middle of the 19th century to record highs.”

Thompson doesn’t explore the problems a modern party press might run into with campaign finance laws. Alaska law, for instance, frowns on any coordination between independent, expenditure-only, political action committees (SuperPACs) and candidates.

A news organization funded by SuperPAC advertising while covering a candidate supported by the same SuperPac could face accusations of acting as a go-between engaged in coordinating the two.

Still, there is no arguing with Thompson’s view that the party press was entertaining, and that some of the advertising-funded news operations that followed resorted to a what he called “a neutered, detached style of reporting—the “view from nowhere”—to avoid offending the biggest advertisers….Large ad-supported newspapers grew to become profitable behemoths, but they arguably emphasized milquetoast coverage over more colorful reader engagement.

“As the news business shifts back from advertisers to patrons and readers (that is to say, subscribers), journalism might escape that ‘view from nowhere’ purgatory and speak straightforwardly about the world in a way that might have seemed presumptuous in a mid-century newspaper. Journalism could be more political again, but also more engaging again.”

Maybe.

Then again, such a shift might only add to the partisan acrimony on which American democracy is at the moment high centered.

The U.S. government shut down is now into its fourth week as Trump and Congress battle over border security with the president proclaiming that “when it comes to keeping the American people safe, I will never, ever back down,” and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi insisting that building ever more of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico to stop illegal immigration “is an immorality.”

Impartial arbiter

Against that backdrop, there would appear room in the market for an entity that could at least establish the agreed upon facts around which to frame national, state or local policy discussions.

But the media in the craziness of the times might already have abandoned that ground.

“Every once in a while, somebody asks me whether we’ll ever get back to a place where the country can agree on a ‘single set of facts,'” Thompson wrote. “Those asking the question tend to be nostalgic for the 1950s, when they could count the number of television channels on one hand and rely on Walter Cronkite and a local media monopoly to control the flow of information.”

He got the nostalgia right, but the era a little wrong. It’s more a nostalgia for the Space Age when facts mattered because Americans understood human progress (and sometimes life and death) hinges on them.

Facts still matter. The problem is they get in the way.

Trump is right about the lack of barriers to illegal immigration. Almost 70 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border is unfenced.

“Some Texans have been waiting so long for the government to secure the border, they’ve taken matters into their own hands,” Business Insider reported in a lengthy examination of the border issue. “Throughout Texas, as well as the other border states, armed civilians have formed volunteer groups to patrol the borderlands and either detain or report suspected illegal border-crossers to Border Patrol.”

The story also noted that there are places where it is almost impossible to build a wall and others where a wall might not be the best means of security or pose large environmental costs.

Democrats opposing Trump are right about the wall. It’s hugely costly and in many places unnecessary. It is in those places that there are humanitarian costs, but they are not directly associated with a wall.

Good parts of the borderlands in the Southwest are already deadly dangerous to cross without a wall.

A humanitarian organization in Arizona told the Insider it has seen “a major decline in the number of people crossing the border….It’s now far more common for the nonprofit to find human remains than to find living migrants.”

Illegal immigrants appeared to have learned that it is simply too risky to try crossing water-less wasteland where summer high temperatures average 100 degrees. The Business Insider story is a pretty balanced look at the issue.

Business Insider is a so-far-successful, international news platform funded by advertising; a research service, Business Insider Intelligence; and subscriptions. The company offers a “Business Insider PRIME” feature that offers “access to our exclusive PRIME stories for subscribers only” and makes people “eligible for our special PRIME newsletter.” 

“We expanded our global editorial team to 330 journalists,”  editorial director Henry Blodget reported last year.  “A decade into our existence, we serve a global monthly audience of more than 400 million people, nearly halfway to our long-term goal of 1 billion. Our stories generate more than 5 billion views a month.”

The Insider staff is small for an international news organization. CNN claims “the support of 4,000 journalists based around the globe.”

The Insider might be a model for the future. Just because competition for revenue makes it difficult to support expensive operations, doesn’t mean it’s impossible to support any operation.

Hopfinger still believes AlaskaDispatch.com could have reached profitability if Rogoff had stayed the course and avoided the temptation to inflate website costs with bills for her various and sometimes expensive Arctic adventures.

Dispatch was a low-budget operation run out of an airplane hangar at Anchorage’s Merrill Field, and even then overhead could have been reduced further.

For a news organization living in the cloud, there’s little need for an office at all. One could theoretically bring together a group of work-from-home collaborators and stitch together a news collective needing only enough revenue to cover their salaries plus those of a couple of ad sales people and a webmaster.

The cost of overhead for such an organization would be minimal. The only question is whether enough of a demand for the journalism of any earlier time still exists. It is possible the market no longer wants a fact-based reporting.

In the post-truth world of today, there is some reason to believe that outside of science and technical news (and sometimes even inside of them) what most people want from news is reinforcement of what they want to believe.

And there seem to be any number of pseudo journalists – fake news purveyors or not quite – willing to provide that. There might even be a few among the “reporters” reporting such news who actually believe facts are what they wish to believe.

CORRECTION: An early version of this story slightly overstated the percentage decline in daily newspaper journalists since 1990.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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49 replies »

  1. I didn’t vote for Trump, but now it’s just getting dumb.

    “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, said in the special counsel’s first comment on a media report since its probe started 20 months ago.

    https://news.yahoo.com/lawmakers-plan-investigate-whether-trump-told-lawyer-lie-010657648.html?hl=1&noRedirect=1

    Like

  2. And it just got worse!! Some really, really Fake News –
    “The Washington Post warned Wednesday that fake copies of the paper are being distributed around Washington, D.C. Politico’s Ian Kullgren obtained one of the fake papers, complete with fictional news about President Trump leaving the White House for good.

    The A1 headline “Unpresidented,” features a somber image of Trump and says, “Trump hastily departs White House, ending crisis.” Other fake headlines include, “Celebrations break out worldwide as Trump era ends,” and “Pres. Pence begins ‘clipped duck’ term.”
    The bogus paper is strikingly similar to the authentic version in terms of appearance, and the Post also cautioned that digital versions of the literal fake news are circulating. The fake site contains a slew of stories about Trump’s fictional departure from office and the reaction to it.

    “We are aware of a website attempting to mimic The Post’s. They are not Post products, and we are looking into this,” the paper’s public relations department tweeted.”

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      • Bill, I know it is and a good job at that but, take these rocks here. They will believe anything for a freebie. Really shows how stupid Americans really are:
        “Ocasio-Cortez vs. Trump, and the Winner Is…
        Though just one-in-three voters have a favorable opinion of freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, if she were old enough to run for president in 2020, she’d give President Trump a run for his money.

        A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that, if the 2020 presidential race was between Trump and Ocasio-Cortez, 43% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for Trump, while 40% would vote for Ocasio-Cortez. A sizable 17% are undecided.”

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  3. I checked this morning. Looks like Charlie got up early and deleted all the comments posted on his final article last night that did not praise him or kiss his ass. Mine and 10 or more others were deleted. Charlie sure doesn’t have skin thick enough for the game. His skin is 1/100th the thickness of Craig’s! Anyway, his comment editing makes a sad statement about ADN. It goes on a lot. Hanlon is/was another serial comment killer. Shows that ADN doesn’t’ reflect the voice of the community. ADN is a pathetic joke.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Craig,
        I have also seen comments removed from ADN…
        One article in particular was about the fellow who was killed up on the slope this past year…
        One early comment was from a person claiming to be the victim’s brother and how “greed drove him there”.
        A few minutes later, I checked back to get a screenshot and it was gone…
        Just like the king fishing up Valley.

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      • Craig, A screenshot of what? Of my comment not there? No. No screen shot. But let me say that I am perhaps an “edgy” ADN commentor. I get put in the ADN “review by moderator” penalty box a lot. Or before my user account is flagged, many times I have had comments go poof. They get deleted by the article’s author. Apparently that is an option that all ADN staff have. They must get notified whenever a comment is posted on their article. And if they don’t like it, it goes poof. And you go in the penalty box. I’ve had this happen to me dozens of times. Want to see this in action. Wait until there is an article about Natives doing something bad. Like, say, shooting the shit out of a gray whale that swims into the Kuskokwim. Then post a comment that says it’s bad that Natives shoot the shit out of endangered species. Bamm! Your comment will be deleted and you will be penalty boxed. You crossed the PC line. The ADN says absolutely no comments that criticize Natives! The ADN makes their articles’ comment sections self-aggrandizing, biased fake news. It’s ridiculous, and comical. And it reflects on what shitty, third rate reporters the ADN has on staff. Wohlforth was the worst.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. After Charlie posted his last article on ADN, he spent a lot of time deleting all comments that were critical of him. Classic. Vainly trying to rewrite history and edit his legacy. The fact that the ADN kept this pompous ass onboard since the fall of Rogoff has made me hate all the players behind the ADN just as much as I hate Wohlforth. I hope the ADN dies. As for Wohlforth, his arrogance and delusion will ensure the rest of his miserable life is lonely and unfulfilling.

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  5. I would suggest reading Neil Postman’s, Amusing Ourselves to Death. I could go on about why but to do so here would be a waste of time.

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  6. Facts matter . Wikileaks deserves a major journalistic award . Snowden may be a modern day hero . They have helped Americans and all nations become more accurately informed. I hold honest journalists in the highest regard . Facebook and google crimping and manipulation of information and searches should be considered infringement on free speech. Their data collection is infringement on constitutional protection on being secure with your personal papers info home ect . Data collection of any kind through this method is very questionable and needs stopped in all forms unless warrants are obtained. That’s the law right ? Time to investigate and prosecute Facebook and google . Especially our own government for infringement. Good luck I know .

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    • You must remember that the First Amendment puts limits on government and only on government. People, being ignorant or wholly complicit, are allowing private companies into every facet of their lives.

      Read up on the lawsuits in Europe against the facebook, they are a truly scary company who has lied to people all around the world, but they are not bound by the First Amendment the way our government is.

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      • Steve-O, the next thing you’ll be telling us is that we are concerned about being lied to. By the way, it’s not government that’s limited by 1st amendment but Congress.
        We surely wouldn’t want to limit the president from his “alternate facts.”

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      • Bill,

        Would you care to clarify your comment? Not the nonsense part of it but the part where you said “it’s not government that’s limited by 1st amendment but Congress”. Is it your opinion that Congress is the only governmental body that is held in check by the 1st?

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      • Steve-O, Juneau had an interesting first amendment case some years ago when a high school student hung a banner during an Olympic Torch Relay (2002) which read “Bong Hits For Jesus.” He was suspended for ten days and he felt his first amendment rights were violated and he sued the principal. He lost initially in District Court and then appealed where he prevailed in 9th Circuit Court. This decision was then appealed to US Supreme Court where a 5-4 decision went against the free-speech rights of student.
        Government was not limited in this case but it was some time in determining that. https://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-morse-v-frederick

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      • Bill,

        The answer is no, Congress is not the only governmental body that is kept in check by the 1st Amendment. Due process as laid out in the 14th Amendment sees to that.

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  7. Ki d of says it all doesn’t it:

    It was a rough day for author and CNN legal analyst Areva Martin on Tuesday.

    Martin accused Sirius XM radio and Fox Nation host David Webb of “white privilege” during a segment on a radio program before he broke the news.

    “Areva, I hate to break it to you, but you should’ve been better prepped. I’m black,” Webb said

    The embarrassing moment occurred during a discussion about experience being more important than race when determining whether or not someone is qualified for a particular job.
    https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/cnn-legal-analyst-areva-martin-accuses-david-webb-of-white-privilege-before-learning-hes-black

    Like

    • Nice . Concerted misinformation campaign is apparently in action. Look up heath ranger . Bit out there but he has good video and good intentions. Wether he is correct in destruction of human race is planned effort, I can’t say but his projected results are the pretty on par .

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    • Nice qoate . We should all be looking into his ties and why our military is in Afghanistan . Is it for a Rockefeller bush Cheney ect bodyguard? One of richest mineral deposits there . Gems , rare earth, metals , ect ect . Is big money pulling strings to use our military?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Look up mining in Afghanistan. Wikipedia has an interesting write up on its mineral reserves. Gemstone mines for thousands of years . Lithium gold uranium ect ect . Head of ministry of mines took a multi million dollar bribe to allow China to start a copper mine there ,I read somewhere. Might not be true . Can’t trust print these days My fallible memory thinks it was 30 million and the minister head was soon replaced . That’s just a hint at potential value there when a bribe hits millions. Mineral reserves are over a trillion dollars .

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bryan that was a very good article. an acquaintance who was in Afghanistan said his commanding officer ( I can’t remember) told him it wasn’t simply a peace keeping or revenge mission it had more to do with mineral asset acquisition and big buisness protection. Supposedly this was a high up . Names not mentioned for good reason. Perhaps just C O opinion but it was the common word there I guess. Why there isn’t more factual reporting on our presence there is strange. I’m hoping beyond hope trump can somehow disentangle our military.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Opinion,
        When U think of Afghanistan, remember the Opium and ties to Big Pharma.
        “War has always been about resources and control. Along side the supposed surprise discovery of Afghanistan’s $1 trillion wealth of untapped minerals, the Taliban had successfully eradicated the opium crop in the Golden Crescent before the US invasion. Now, more than 90% of the world’s heroin comes from the war torn country.”

        http://mediaroots.org/opium-what-afghanistan-is-really-about/

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      • Opiniin, I do not believe we are there to aquire Afghanistan’s minerals. I wished we were in Iraq for the oil but, tjat wssn’t the case either. We actually paid the Iraqis .20c a gallon for gas while fixing their refineries. In other words we gave a helluva a lkt more than we took. I did (at the LTC level) bring up the question of “why didnt we destroy the poppies” and was told “we were trying to stimulate an economy”. Not kidding. I scratched my head thinking “destroy the world to stimulate this chithole”. Um, ok!!!

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    • So bush was head of cia at one point. Is it possible he learned how to manipulate the system? Especially information/ media? The bin Ladin family. Pretty close to bush ties ? Helped found a Texas oil company. Bush family has heavy ties to industrial and banking companies that rebuilt Germany before World War Two .They had that company investigated and confiscated or put on hold or something similar I believe. Perhaps it’s time for financial investigations into bush Cheney Iraq Afghanistan “rebuilding” Cheney helped to secure a major no competition bid contract for his old company haliburton. I say coincidences are to many around this whole everlasting “peace keeping”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Never gonna be likeable. Arrogant socialist. Write a book? Get married? Who cares? G-O-N-E is the operative word that provides so much pleasure

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  9. Facts didn’t necessarily matter during the Space Age. My Dad co-wrote the proposal for what became Project Vanguard and designed Vanguard 1. He commented during the 50th anniversary celebration of Vanguard 1 that the media coverage in 1957-8 was poor. I’ve written a history of GPS, which he is generally credited with inventing, and reporters can’t get simple facts right. Thus, one reads many stories and books asserting that GPS started out as a military only system. That’s wrong; my website http://www.gpsdeclassified.com has a 1974 GPS development plan which talks about a signal in the clear for both civilian and military use. But reporters copy erroneous accounts. We’ve always had fake news.

    Liked by 1 person

    • it’s always been a mistake-filled business, Richard, and too often the mistakes are reported over and over and over again because a lot of reporters are lazy.

      over the years, there’s also always been a pendulum swing between clinical assessments of what is factual and propaganda, the latter often driven by what one might call “good intentions.”

      journalists have been sadly prone to create or try to create or join moral panics in this country.. the mother of all those dates to the Progressive Era which brought this country Prohibition via voter approval of the 18th amendment to the Constitution.

      we seem to be now entering another Progressive period when many journalists want to go beyond what the facts will support in the interest of good intentions. i have no doubt as to the good intentions of the New York Times in blaming climate change for “startling disruptions in the fisheries that sustain” Alaskans.

      the problem is the NYT suggested climate change has caused a decline in salmon harvests in recent years when, in fact, the exact opposite is the case. the five year average harvest for Alaska salmon is two times bigger than what was once thought to be the standard for a good year in the salmon fisheries: https://craigmedred.news/2018/08/22/alaska-to-nyt/

      Alaska salmon fisheries have boomed thanks to climate change. sadly, however, the NYT has never attempted to correct its bogus claim as to the “loss of red salmon” in Alaska due to climate change.

      on balance, the NYT’s record for accuracy is better than most, but “climate change” appears to have become the moral-panic issue of the day, and once journalism goes there, the rules limiting discussion to that which can be confirmed factual start to fade away.

      far in the future, the NYT could prove to be right. continued warming of the North Pacific should eventually prove detrimental to salmon, but so far it has proven the opposite.

      i say that not as a raving climate-change skeptic, though i think skepticism is good in all aspects of science, but as someone who hates to see journalists feeling they need to bend the truth to sell a climate-change agenda when there is plenty of documented evidence of climate change.

      factually, the present boom in Alaska salmon is itself an illustration of climate change as is the steady northward advance of forests in Alaska and melting permafrost and more.

      maybe the problem is that the clinical assessment of the pluses and minuses of these changes is too complicated for journalists to handle today. a lot of the smart kids have abandoned the business.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Craig,
        I agree with some of your thoughts, yet I feel we were in the “Progressive Period” back around 2000 when many protests occurred in the U.S. and Canada around G20 and WTO meetings.
        Many historians believe that the U.S. is on an 80 year cycle or around one life span.
        Currently the escalation in world conflict (now called the Global War on Terror) uses advanced invisible tactics such as drone warfare and cyberattacks.
        William Arkin who was an Army Intelligence Officer before his 30 year career at NBC as a journalist is speaking out on the effects of “shallow” news coverage and little to no coverage of the ongoing Global War (which used to be called world war back in the day).
        Arkin claims in a Democracy Now video that this is all a result of the “creep of fascism” that he sees in play currently across the globe.
        Arkin also states that the U.S. has bombed 9 countries in the last year alone with U.S. military personnel stationed throughout South and Central America as well as the Middle and Far East stretching to many African countries and European nations as well.
        Most recent deployments include large amounts of U.S. soldiers being sent to Poland.

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      • Simon Winchester has a good reputation. His most recent book is well written; he discusses GPS at length and gets the big picture correct. However, lots of the details are wrong. See my review. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RYT8V9Z4ZG30N/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B072BFJB3Z
        I find major problems in most articles or books I read about GPS. It’s reasonable to assume that there are major errors on other topics but I may not have the background to recognize them.

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      • my experience on topics that i know well is the same, which only adds to your observation that it’s reasonable to conclude (not assume) that this problem is wide spread.

        i will confess i often avoid stories on subjects i know well for this very reason. it’s not worth reading anything just to have it cause steam to come out my ears.

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  10. Charles was not candid in providing the reasons for his departure. When some tried to make that clear in comments to his last piece, the ADN censors struck them.
    Not only was Charles given his walking papers, as you correctly state, because of budget issues, he also has a very personal reason for heading back east. And it is a good one that he should be happy about and not afraid to disclose. Many of his friends and followers know that he is engaged to a wonderful woman in NJ who was raised in Alaska. It will not come as a surprise if they get married. Telling us about this would certainly go a ways to make Charles more likeable and give us, who disagree with his liberal slants, a more favorable view of him. I wish him the best in any event.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wohlforth is just the latest to suffer from this current era of “Mccarthyism” sweeping across the Banana Republic of Alaska like a Siberian Wildfire out of control.
    Partisanship has reached an all time high in AK as the Republicans get set for four years of trench warfare and consolidation of power in Juneau.
    Having an in-state press that only presents one side to an opinion helps no one in the end.
    How many of the bloggers that were listed actually sit down with folks (of different opinions) and interview them in an old school manner that looks at “body language” and responses…prior to releasing a story about them?
    Did Craig call or Email Charles and ask him any questions about why he is leaving ADN and possibly Alaska?
    How many first person accounts or “protected sources” are even used in today’s business model for “news” stories and online blogs?
    Many journalists look to online sources and social media accounts for data collected within their stories.
    The advertising strategy is nothing new, back in the 90’s ADN’s profits were still linked to ad’s only now sites like Craigslist and FB have replaced classified ads and giant PR firms compete to grab money from BP and Exxon along with Big Pharma.
    I do think the partisanship of online news sources and political blogs will only further degrade the truth and we will continue to see government press releases passed off to the “Sheeple” as News.
    This current state of politics in Alaska reminds me of a comment written a few years ago in an ADN piece on Wally Hickel who incidentally switched from the Republican Party to the Alaska Independent Party since he saw what partisanship was doing to our state politics many years ago.
    Vic Fischer (a Democrat) and close friend of Hickel describes him in this comment:
    “He used to say that he is beyond parties, basically he felt we should be not just bipartisan, we should do things nonpartisan for the sake of Alaska.”
    I am afraid these smart and Independent minds are being lost to super pacs (Citizens United), corporate greed and the “Cult of the Self” we are seeing throughout office in America. (Think Trump)
    What we are seeing now more than ever in my lifetime is that journalism is the fourth branch of government and silencing of any alternative narrative that is considered “challenging” is here to stay.

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  12. Craig, it all begins at home with liberal parents indoctrinating their kids in the same Socaialist/Marxist beliefs that they carried over from their parents and college. Then the student is indoctrinated throughout the primary education system to a certain degree. Then comes college, where they get to shine as a liberal Journalism major. No secret to succeed the more batty you are the better. Next comes graduation and that first, big job interview. The students present their college stories, interviews, etc. for review. If their stories are far left of center they might get that hidden handshake of consideration or the job. Then the liberal expectations are set. To become a good journalistic drone you must pander to the batchit crazy left-wing of the Democrat Party. To receive promotions you must fabricate, omitt, and always tow the party line no matter how goofy. So, there you have it, the making of a journalist of today. Ah, I say screw em. Let them sink in the hole of their making. Go to Google and type anything negative of Obama. The first 4 pages will either change the topic of what you typed and give you pages of what “they think you meant” or you have to schroll 4 or 5 pages to find something other than liberal news links.

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