Layers And Layers Of Fact Checkers

by Ed Driscoll | December 23, 2008 2:09 am

Glenn Reynolds[1] links to James Surowiecki in the New Yorker, who asks, “Are Newspapers Doomed?[2]“

“There’s no mystery as to the source of all the trouble: advertising revenue has dried up. In the third quarter alone, it dropped eighteen per cent, or almost two billion dollars, from last year.”

He also suggests something that I’ve noted in the past — we may have been getting more news than we (that is, the market) actually wanted (that is, was willing to pay for) due to cross-subsidies from things like classified advertising. With those gone, we may wind up with less news. I hope not, but it’s a plausible scenario.

Another reason why is that errors such as this[3] are becoming increasingly easier for readers to spot.

To invert The Who, the Gray Lady will get fooled again, as Roger L. Simon[4] writes:

No doubt most of you remember the Jayson Blair affair at the New York Times, when the paper jettisoned the reporter for publishing several plagiarized and, at least partially, fabricated stories on its front page. The ensuing brouhaha caused an editorial shake-up at the onetime “newspaper of record.”

Well, what’s the old saying about the “second time as farce”? [I think it’s from Marx.-ed. So it is.] This time the paper has outdone itself by publishing a putative letter from the mayor of Paris, attacking the potential elevation of Caroline Kennedy to the US Senate:

The tipoff that it’s a phony should be obvious, Allahpundit adds[5]:

In the Times’s defense, the letter does have a decidedly Frenchy tone (“Can we speak of American decline?”), but I ask you: Would the mayor of Paris, of all people, be likely to object to a big break for Jackie Kennedy’s daughter?

Heh, indeed.™

Couldn’t the Times have run the email past the ghost of Walter Duranty? That man knows a thing or two about phonying up foreign stories–and he’s even got a blog[6], to boot. (Although, to be fair, it’s about as quiet at the moment as the real Duranty is.)

Finally, Dan Riehl spots a giant iceberg looming[7] off the port bow of the S.S. Sulzberger:

From 24/7 Wall St – based upon background and financials, ten major companies predicted to go away in 2009. Number 6 on the list? The New York Times. h/t An email from Pundita.

24/7 Wall St. looked at some of the largest and most well-known companies, reviewed their SEC filings if they are public, analyst reports, and media observations about their businesses and picked ten that probably won’t be around at the end of next year.

6) The New York Times (NYT) has to repay $400 million in debt in the first half of 2009. It does not have the money. It plans to mortgage its headquarters, but it is uncertain what that will bring in an uncertain real estate market. The firm’s Boston Globe and regional newspaper operations lose money, so they will be hard to sell. NYT is controlled by the Sulzberger family which has super-majority voting shares. That won’t matter much when the company runs out of money. Another big media operation, perhaps News Corp (NWS) which owns The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, will come in and auction off what it can and keep the flagship New York Times newspaper and website.

If so, that will be one heck of an exit lap for this ever-accelerating race to the bottom[8]:

(Posted originally at Ed[9])

  1. Glenn Reynolds:
  2. Are Newspapers Doomed?:
  3. errors such as this:
  4. Roger L. Simon:
  5. Allahpundit adds:
  6. he’s even got a blog:
  7. a giant iceberg looming:
  8. race to the bottom:
  9. Ed

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