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Ed Driscoll

Why Does Time-Warner Hate America So?

August 22nd, 2010 - 7:06 pm

Oh, that punitive liberalism!

Why does Time-Warner’s news division hate Middle America so much? Weasel Zippers spots this on the latest issue of Time magazine:

Meanwhile, their low-rated public access cable TV news channel certainly looks like it’s permenently written-off the viewers they’ve lost to Fox News, and are now purely seeking the MSNBC crowd, based on what was on CNN’s Website earlier today:

As John Hinderaker writes at Power Line:

CNN is a reliable Democratic Party outlet, so it is no surprise that it puts the worst face on Americans’ indignation over the Ground Zero Mosque.

Of course. So please, nobody tell the increasingly far-left CNN that Father Coughlin played for their team in the 1930s.

Update: A commenter writes, “Well, as Rush Limbaugh said, these idiots basically write for each other now. Someday soon it may be their only audience.”

That dovetails remarkably well with what Andrew Ferguson wrote in the latest issue of Commentary about Time’s chief competitor in dentists’ waiting rooms:

Newsweeklies were once the pashas of the magazine world. Editors enjoyed lavish salaries, traveled first class to overstaffed bureaus in Paris or London, gorged on expense–account dinners, and escaped each weekend to houses in the Hamptons in limousines paid for by the company. It was a fantasy life beyond the dreams of even the dreamiest literary men, but it came at a price: humility. The hacks had to restrain every impulse toward artsy self-expression and instead serve a readership that wanted only a straightforward and comprehensive account of what just happened. Cashing their checks, newsmagazine people agreed to write short and write snappy. They banished unconventional or discomfiting thoughts from their copy. They resisted any stylistic flourish beyond an occasional cheekiness of tone. And they restricted their subject matter to last week’s news. A sufficient number of these old boys thought the price was worth it, and the newsweeklies flourished.Over the past 30 years, when a new generation of editors launched the magazines on a course of ceaseless reinvention—Meacham is by no means the first newsmagazine editor to fidget—each turn of the ratchet moved the form further away from the kind of magazine that people want to read and closer to the kind of magazine that journalists want to write. “We publish the magazine we would want to get every week,” Meacham told his readers in introducing yet another of his revolutionary reconceptualizations a few years ago. “We are betting that you want to read more, not less.?.?.?.?We think that you will make the time to read pieces that repay the effort.”

He may have been right about that; within reason, people like to read more of what they like to read. He forgot, though, that readers are different from journalists, with different expectations, tastes, and, often, views of the world and what it should look like. He ignored the truth that the old newsmagazine editors lived by: journalists who write to satisfy people like themselves will soon run out of readers. The magazine that lies dying in Don Graham’s arms violated this rule week by week.

To cite one obvious example: newsweeklies annually marked Christian holidays with a cover story on a religious theme, always respectful and sometimes celebratory in tone. I’m sure it was a strain, an exercise in self-denial; few journalists are religious in any conventional sense. The new Newsweek, by contrast, published holiday issues that any good secular journalist would like to read. One issue near Christmas offered a long and fallacious cover story on “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage.” Easter came and the magazine feted “The End of Christian America.” Pieces like this weren’t so much a challenge to traditionally religious readers as a declaration of war. Why not just put a bullet in the Easter Bunny while you’re at it?

The reinvented newsmagazine has pursued a fantasy life of its own. The fantasy is a reverse of the one the old editors enjoyed. The expense accounts may be gone, the bureaus may be shuttered, and not even Meacham gets to travel first class. But editors and writers have dispensed with the necessity of satisfying a large and reliable readership and can indulge their literary aspirations at last. They get to write long “argued essays” and make “original observations” and lace them with their own (minority) opinions on politics and culture. They have released themselves from the obligation of giving readers what readers came to them for: that straightforward and comprehensive account of what just happened.

And in the cable TV world, one cable channel is really looking forward to the day when they no longer have to deal with that pesky thing called an audience.

Related: As Tom Maguire writes that for the Ruling Class media, “Dissent — No Longer The Highest Form Of Patriotism.” But then, for the left, that was true beginning at 12:01 AM on the first Wednesday in November of 2008.

Related: Jim Treacher quips at the Daily Caller, “Mosque lady builds bridges by calling 70% of U.S. bigots.”

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