11.30.2005

Shades of William Randolf Hearst

Well, I was reading through the local "Greater Binghamton" paper, the Press and Sun Bulletin, today. For anyone who is not familiar with the Gannet publishing empire in Upstate New York, the Press and "Fun" is a pretty average local paper, which means it really doesn't cover any of substance when it can possibly avoid it, and when it does talk about things that actually affect our lives, it takes a hard Right-Wing approach where moderates are considered "liberals" and anyone left of George Pataki is something like a socialist. For instance, one day a year or two ago, I visited home and, like usual, I checked the news online when I woke up. It had been a busy night, with major suicide attacks in both Israel and Iraq, major political shake ups in important countries, etc etc. The Press and Fun's cover story was children eating ice cream at the park. Our nearest neighbor, Canada, just had a major political upset, with the ruling party loosing power in a no-confidence vote and was it even mentioned in the front pages? I'm afraid not.
What does this say about our communities when the newspapers, the supposed bulldogs of the democratic process are handmaids to the local officials and fill our minds with drivel? Why is the newspaper of Binghamton, a largely poor working class area, present a face that is only upper middle class? In my mind, the local papers are actually each tentacles of the massive Gannet monstrosity and are the source of many of the problems that face our communities. How can progress be made without debate or even a forum for debate? How can the voice of our community blithely pretend that life is good when a drive through downtown reveals their lie? Rupert Murdoch recently predicted the death of the American news paper, and while normally I disagree with everything he says, in this case I have to concur. But, its only because they are shooting themselves in the foot.
I will not, though, mourn the death of mediocrity and Gannet, because as real forums for discussion, they have been dead for years. I think there is some hope though, because when one door is shut and locked, often times people will find a window. One such opportunity in the Triple Cities near where I live is the
Binghamton Indepdentent Media Center, a great organization that attempts to create a vibrant news alternative in my area. I've been thinking about volunteering, because they need to expand (especially of the net if possible, as we must remember that there is still a class barrier on the Internet) and be stronger.
I wasn't going to write about newspapers when I started this rant, my original goal was to talk about a story in the paper today regarding the County Executive's plan to keep young people in Broome County and about the absurdity and short-sightedness that fills her plan and every other one I've heard. Well, I guess that leaves something for tomorrow.

Posted by Jesse

3 comments:

joesulli said...

hey i have a linguistic move for y'all, whenever you want to talk about the fictional greater binghamton or aspects of their binghamton you should inject the 'P'-'binghampton', and keep 'binghamton' for ours.

Jesse said...

Joe,
I'm afraid I really don't understand what you're talking about. Can you use it in a sentence?

joe said...

their binghamton is binghampton -a fiction. ours is the real binghamton. Anyway, i don't think i'd call the press et fun hard right-wing. I'd call it mass business of news production rag.