Thursday, May 7, 2015

Print is dead

photo of Matier and Ross in pompous poses
The last straw for my Sunday San Francisco Chronicle subscription was the literal love letter to Chevron (actual title: "The power of love: Despite everything, we heart Chevron").  That they publish Willie Brown's self-parody of corruption didn't help.  Nor did the tone-deaf editorials by middle-aged white men.  And the generally shoddy journalism was not so compelling.  Ultimately, the problem with the Chronicle, though, is that as far as I can tell it's anti-journalism, comforting the powerful.  San Francisco liberalism is largely, though not completely, phony. The San Francisco establishment is about money and power the same as anywhere else, with progressivism kept in strict boundaries; "liberal" Jerry Brown's power base seems to be real estate developers; "liberal" Feinstein rubber-stamped everything the NSA and CIA did until they attacked her personally, etc etc etc.

So I tried to get the Sunday San Jose Mercury News, which did at least publish the series about the CIA dealing crack cocaine, even if they later betrayed their reporter.  Sadly, they only actually managed to deliver a Sunday newspaper two or three times out of seven Sundays or so.  I reported all the missed deliveries and I think they succesfully redelivered once.  I finally called, was assured it would be taken care of, never got the redelivery, and when the following Sunday was missed, I cancelled.  Print is dying because print is incompetent.

A few days later, a sales rep called.  Roughly:

"Hi, I'm calling to see if we can get you the San Jose Mercury News!"
"Historical evidence suggests you cannot."
"... I'm looking at the record ... seems like you had some delivery problems ... how about the digital edition!"
"No, thanks, I specifically wanted a physical paper for Sunday mornings and you missed five out of seven deliveries."
"I can get you a reduced rate!"
"So I can pay less to not get the paper?"

photo of Matier and Ross in pompous poses
Full disclosure: Since the call was (allegedly) recorded, I should mention that this reconstruction may be slightly improved from the original.  Also, I do pay for the NY Times Sunday, although it presents deeply flawed journalism on its best days.  I did pay for Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish (also deeply flawed, albeit amazing in some ways) until he shut it down, and I paid for Talking Points Memo until they started publishing advertorials, and I still pay for the San Francisco Public Press, although they print maybe quarterly.  I will pay for quality journalism.  Anybody got some to sell?

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