Friday, November 14, 2008

That Wheezing, Groaning, Sputtering Sound

Most days we take no satisfaction in the steady rat-a-tat-tat of bad news regarding daily newspapers. After all, this sorry old world would be a much poorer place without them---and a far richer place if each large- and medium-sized American city had four or five (or 10 or 12!) competing daily papers, rather than one doddering, sclerotic and (above all and for the most part) BORING monopoly product.

Then there is the every-so-often day when we believe the world will mosey along just fine without the daily newspaper, and that the daily newspaper, although falling victim to many factors far beyond its control, may be getting just what it deserves. Today was one of those days, when we pulled our local daily from its prophylactic and discovered that El Chronicle de Houston had devoted well more than HALF of its front page to the hometown-hosted Latin Garmmys* (and chronicled this momentous event, it probably goes without saying, in typical tedium-inducing fashion). If you don't believe the previous hard-to-believe sentence, get out your ruler and take measure of the travesty.

This got us to thinking: How long before America’s daily newspapers begin trying to elbow their way into the lengthening bailout queue? How long

*By the way: Apparently the Site Selection Committee for the Latin Grammys, or whoever picked Houston, was unperturbed by those giant inflatable balloon animals that had our local scenic preservationists and nothing-better-to-do City Council up in arms. In fact, we’d bet those eye-catchers were a selling point.

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