I grew up reading the New York Times, the New York Post – and the New York Daily News.
But it looks like one of those papers is on its last legs.
This week the Daily News laid off half its editorial staff, and it appears the paper won’t be a paper much longer – moving in the direction of a digital online-only publication.
I’ll be honest, I’d feel worse if it were the Post – always my favorite. Especially in recent years, the Daily News editorial slant often made me ill.
A few years back, the paper even accused me personally of promoting “hate” on my “extremist anti-Muslim hate site,” and that I, the editor, “suggested air-dropping pig’s blood over Afghanistan.”
It was a total lie, a misrepresentation of reality. I never said, wrote or thought any such thing. I don’t hate anyone. It’s against my religion. My God and Savior instructed me to “love [my] enemies.” And that’s what I try to do by bringing them the truth, the Good News, a dose of reality in a world of deception and fantasy.
Probably the most famous headline ever published in the Daily News was this one: “Ford to City: Drop Dead.” Did President Ford actually tell New York City to drop dead? No. But it was still a great, memorable, spunky headline – wrong, misleading, incorrect. But funny, entertaining, amusing.
Today, as a grizzled old newspaper guy with ink still running through my veins, today I am mourning what appears to be the inevitable destiny of the Daily News, the demise of yet another big-city daily with a lively, engaging personality.
I experienced this heartbreak too many times in my career. I never actually witnessed it as a staffer, but I did work for two historic dailies that went down about two years after I had left as a senior exec or editor in chief – the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Sacramento Union. (Don’t believe the Wikipedia version in which I somehow led them to their demise. I could just as easily say I did everything I could to avert that fate by attempting to change their direction – taking my leave when I saw the handwriting on the wall.)
Nevertheless, with both of those demises, I felt like I had lost a good friend, even a member of the family.
So, despite my differences of opinion and approach with the Daily News team, especially in recent years, I feel sympathy and offer my sincere condolences.
From my point of view, we’re all richer for ideological diversity, not just racial and gender. Sadly, that’s not a common ideal in the media these days.
Let me say, however, to the management of the Daily News: If you think it will be easy to support an online-only edition, you might want to think again.
Having done it longer than any other news exec alive, it’s no walk in the park – and its getting tougher all the time.
There are lots of online news competitors out there today, and many of them are fighting for their very survival. What we have seen happen in the newspaper business beginning 30 years ago is now being repeated online. It’s not so much that people aren’t reading as much or don’t have time for competing ideas. Today voices, especially dissenting voices, are being systematically and purposely and with malice aforethought, systematically extinguished by what I call the “Digital Cartel.”
Can you guess who I mean?
No need to do so. It’s Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon.
They are the new gatekeepers. And, because of their monopoly or near monopoly positions, they can play favorites – doling out on an ideological basis traffic advantages and advertising advantages to approve sites, while making life miserable for the dissident voices like WND.com.
It has become a very rough and tumble business for independent voices – those that don’t serve as an echo chamber for the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, CBS and NBC.
Some days I wonder if anyone will mourn the very first independent online news-gathering site – this one – if we should not survive this crisis.
If you understand what I am saying today, there’s still time to avoid ever finding out the answer to that question. If you appreciate what this pioneering, independent online news organization is doing, has done and can still do for another 20 years, it would be a good time to make a donation to your favorite, credible, fearless and independent news site.