So, on C-SPAN: THE DEUCE the other day, John Nichols of The Nation and co-author of The Death and Life of American Journalism was telling an audience at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. that 140 newspapers closed down in the past year, 1,000 newspaper employees have been let go every month for the past two years, and 7-8 minutes of 22-minute newscasts on the teevee are devoted to weather (the rest being crime stories and reports telling viewers they are fat).
Nichols told of a Pew study that zeroed in on the sources of news in Baltimore, Maryland. It found the Baltimore Sun is still the primary source of news in that region, but that the newspaper was producing 33 percent less news that it did 10 years earlier and 73 percent less news that it did 20 years earlier.
Of the news that was getting reported, 14 percent came from the "grass-roots"--that is, average folks calling reporters with tips to stories. The other 86 percent came from the "top-down"--that is, the government, corporations and others in power (through their PR minions) spoon feeding "stories" to "journalists."
Nichols was a downer. Fortunately, Jim Gilchrist came along to brighten my mood.
The founder of the immigrant round-up jalopy known as the Minuteman Project was letting his fans know that a powerful drug cartel is buying off journalists in northern Mexico "to work as spies and smother coverage of a spike in killings on the U.S. border in the latest attack on the media in Mexico."
Seems a cartel just over the Texas border is paying reporters around $500 a month "and showering them with liquor and prostitutes to intimidate and silence colleagues at radio stations and newspapers in towns near the Laredo-Brownsville area."
With a thrust of his virtual pen, Gilchrist revealed how to save journalism in this country. We reporters need to move to the Laredo-Brownsville area. And report in Mexican.
Come to think of it, Clockwork already has not included a lick about a spike in killings near the Laredo-Brownsville area: Give me my 500 clams, booze and ho's, please!
Not being bought off reeks of discrimination. Or maybe that's the prostitutes.
More from the Minuteman:
"For years, ill-paid Mexican reporters have occasionally been forced by cartel gunmen to take money to report favorably on traffickers or hush up killings, but the Gulf cartel now appears able to impose an almost total muzzle on reporting violence from Nuevo Laredo to Matamoros."
It can be stated here unequivocally that this is the first and only Clockwork dispatch that has ever included the words "Nuevo Laredo" and "Matamoros." Who even knows where the hell they are? One sounds like a stinky cologne and the other an advanced form of bad breath.
Crap, now those places have been mentioned.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Hey, Mr. Cartel Man: How about 15 bucks, a sixer of Negro Modello and a torn stocking if Clockwork never again mentions the violence from Nuevo Laredo to Matamoros?
DAMN IT! Mentioned it again!
Oh well, today's highs will be 75 in Santa Ana, 81 in Fullerton and 80 in Los Alamitos.