Fixing the Newspaper Business or “Do I Have to Do Everything Around Here?”

to-do-listThis has been on my to-do list for a while but it keeps getting pushed downstream by other, more pressing issues.   The volume of whining – along with the complaints about the whining – has gotten so loud, though, I figured I’d better take an hour or two and get it done:

“#23: Fix newspaper business.”

Pay attention.  I’m only going to go through this once.

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20th Century Boy

Yes, it’s more than a song by T-Rex last heard in a Suburu commercial, it also apparently describes presumptive GOP nominee John McCain’s grasp of and involvement with our digital age:


Q: What websites if any do you look at regularly?

Mr. McCain: Brooke and Mark show me Drudge, obviously, everybody watches, for better or for worse, Drudge. Sometimes I look at Politico. Sometimes RealPolitics, sometimes.

(Mrs. McCain and Ms. Buchanan both interject: “Meagan’s blog!”)

Mr. McCain: Excuse me, Meagan’s blog. And we also look at the blogs from Michael and from you that may not be in the newspaper, that are just part of your blog.

Q: But do you go on line for yourself?

Mr. McCain: They go on for me. I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself. I don’t expect to be a great communicator, I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need – including going to my daughter’s blog first, before anything else.

Q: Do you use a blackberry or email?

Mr. McCain: No

Mark Salter: He uses a BlackBerry, just ours.

Mr. McCain: I use the Blackberry, but I don’t e-mail, I’ve never felt the particular need to e-mail. I read e-mails all the time, but the communications that I have with my friends and staff are oral and done with my cell phone. I have the luxury of being in contact with them literally all the time. We now have a phone on the plane that is usable on the plane, so I just never really felt a need to do it. But I do – could I just say, really – I understand the impact of blogs on American politics today and political campaigns. I understand that. And I understand that something appears on one blog, can ricochet all around and get into the evening news, the front page of The New York Times. So, I do pay attention to the blogs. And I am not in any way unappreciative of the impact that they have on entire campaigns and world opinion.

Can’t you hear the overtones of panic in the interjections by family and staff?  Why, Senator McCain sounds positively not “with it,” not a hipster or whatever you young people call yourselves these days.  Why, he sounds like a 71-year-old who is describing a foreign country he knows (or has been told) is important, but not one he much cares to visit, much less take up residence in.

Read the whole New York Times interview here; it covers much more than just Senator McCain’s swing-swing-swing-and-a-miss-miss-miss on being connected in the digital age. For example, he also waffles egregiously on whether or not kids should be taught evolution, creationism, intelligent design or who-knows-what.

Jeez, first the Phil Gramm thing and now this slip; where’s the message discipline, dammit!  How can Team McCain run as an in-touch, empathic change agent if people keep screwing up?

- Austin

PS – A tip of the cap to Brother Loveland and his traveling salvation show for spotting this one. tax planning fine

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