: Kvetchers :

Rodger Blackburn
kvetches about the problem with newspapers Audio

Kvetchers Rich Alcott
Kvetchers

RICH: Rodger, you say you try to avoid reading daily newspapers these days. Why is that? You seem like a literate sort of fellow.

RODGER: Well, the general answer is that the level of journalism has sunk to such a low level, I’d much rather read a seventh-grade book report.

RICH: What’s so wrong with newspapers nowadays?

RODGER: Oh, well, gee, we could be here for the rest of the century talking about that. They’ve been overrun by vacant-headed yuppies who do not do research and cannot write and a little-known, unknown factor to the great American public is that there’s a professional newsfeed for all the major newspapers that comes out like at dawn and they simply pick stories off that newsfeed and write prose around it. In terms of going out to get a story, they don’t. That’s a true story.

RICH: So today’s journalists aren’t really going out and finding out what’s going on? They’re just copying what everybody else is doing?

RODGER: No, they’re not, and I think they’re incapable of it, intellectually. Now that they’ve done so little work, I don’t think they don’t know how. They can collect data on the internet, for whatever that’s worth now, but if they actually go out, get on the ground, follow through a story, write it, finish it — that’s very rare. And these rags — the Mercury and the Willamette Week — they’re just below contempt.

RICH: Well, they’re shoppers. They’re glorified shoppers.

RODGER: Yeah, they are. They’re just like shopping rags and subsequently they aren’t important, but if you happen to look at their attitudes and stuff, it’s like, wow, you know? The only thing that amazes me particularly about the Willamette Weep is that they’re so nasty. Intellectually, they’re so nasty. I don’t know how anybody under 30 can be so nasty, that burned out, that cynical and that mean. Culturally — all I care about is cultural news —all they do is basically rack up a list of things they’re going to find ways to hate.

Free Speech TV at least does in-depth stories and they at least have people on the ground covering their stories, and they’re at least authentic and sincere, and that’s a source. But the majority of it, being a writer, I just race through and laugh at it and get rid of it. I think it’s kind of astounding that it’s come to this, but there you have it, you know?

As far as the (New York) Times goes — they started a war.

RICH: The Times started a war — which war?

RODGER: I mean, basically, they flogged the Iraq war without question.

RICH: That was Judith Miller.

RODGER: They allowed Judith Miller to run hog wild. So they’ll have that on their conscience ’til the anthropologists from Venus show up to sift the rubble — that the big newspaper, our flagship newspaper — put their head up their ass and basically allowed some half-baked Westchester drunk to allow them to advocate for a war that shouldn’t have ever happened.