Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 10, 2005 / 1 Iyar, 5765

Remember: You Can't Swat a Fly With a Computer

By Michael Kinsley


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In this great country, there are newspaper editorial pages of every political stripe, from nearly insane far-left rantings to the Wall Street Journal.

But when the United States faces a danger to its most important institutions and values, Americans can count on the newspaper industry to put aside petty differences and speak with one voice.

Now is such a moment. The enemy is invisible, indeed inexplicable, but could be fatal to all we hold dear. In short: Some evil force is causing people to stop reading newspapers! Newspaper circulation figures, which had been drifting decorously downward for years, have started to plummet. At the current rate of decline, the last newspaper subscriber will hang up on a renewal phone call that interrupts dinner on Oct. 17, 2016. And then it will be over.

This alarming possibility threatens all of us, because reading newspapers is, in the end, what makes us Americans. We are prudent, practical, common-sense people.

And what could be more common-sense — more downright American — than chopping down vast acres of trees, loading them onto trucks, driving the trucks to paper mills where the trees are ground into paste and reconstituted as huge rolls of newsprint, which are put back onto trucks and carted across the country to printing plants where they are turned into newspapers as we know them (with sections folded into one another according to a secret formula designed for maximum mess and frustration and known only to a few artisans) and then piled into a third set of trucks that fan out before dawn across every metropolitan area dropping piles here and there so that a network of newspaper deliverers can go house-to-house hiding newspapers in the bushes or throwing them at the cat, and patriotic citizens can ultimately glance at the front page, take Sports to the john, tear out the crossword puzzle and throw the rest away?

Newspapers are essential to every American, and none more so than the fools and ingrates who have stopped buying them. It is up to us, as members of the last generation that experienced life before computer screens, to make sure that future generations of Americans will know what to do when it says "Continued on Page B37." In a recent survey of Americans under age 30, only 26% said "Look in Section B," and a pitiful 13% chose the correct answer: "Look for Section B. It's around here somewhere."

As a service to humanity, and because I like my job, here is a seven-point plan to save the newspaper industry.

Point 1: The government must step in to stabilize the newspaper market through a program of newspaper circulation supports. These would be similar to the agricultural price supports that have preserved a treasured American lifestyle (working from dawn to dusk seven days a week, except for a few brief hours a day down at the diner complaining about big government and welfare chiselers). By paying newspaper publishers not to publish newspapers, the government can reduce the dangerous excess supply and preserve the beloved journalistic lifestyle (drinking at lunch, ruining the reputations of innocent Republican politicians and filling out expense reports).

Point 2: We must establish a Strategic Newspaper Reserve to reduce the nation's dangerous dependence on foreign news. At a time when brides in this very country are fleeing their marriages on buses and pretending to be kidnapped, it is nothing short of scandalous that so much ink is being spilled about some war in distant Iraq. As with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the government would buy vast quantities of newspapers on the open market and store them somewhere for a rainy day (when they can be delivered sopping wet, as the newspaper industry prefers whenever possible). One possible location for the reserve might be my mother's apartment, where there are already neat piles of newspapers dating back to Watergate that she is going to get to soon. (If you go to inspect the reserve, please don't tell her how the 2000 election came out. She wants to be surprised.)

Point 3: The No Child Left Behind Act must be amended to guarantee that everyone in America graduates from junior high knowing how to read a newspaper. Skills such as turning to Page D3 while standing at a bus stop with a Starbucks latte in one hand and a shopping bag in the other are in danger of fading away as the younger generation is seduced by the siren glow of the computer screen. When a tradition like fighting over the comics or noticing that your ex married that guy — unbelievable! — disappears from our shared memory, it is gone for good.

Point 4: Floyd Abrams, the nation's most prominent and enthusiastic 1st Amendment lawyer, must come up with a reason why canceling your newspaper subscription, or failing to renew it, is unconstitutional. C'mon, Floyd — you've kept a straight face through claims about the rights of journalists that are almost as audacious as this one. Now is your chance to go for the gold.

Point 5: Find someone else to come up with three more points.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Michael Kinsley is Los Angeles Times Editorial and Opinion editor and former editor of Slate.com. Comment by clicking here.



Archives



© 2005 Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles