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Monday, December 14, 2009

New York Post Trying Hard to Stay in Business

This Sunday the New York Post introduced its newest distinguished columnist:   Former alleged call girl Ashley Dupre.

This young woman's claim to fame is (as she claims) having had as a client the infamous "Client #9" -- then-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

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This young woman may be depriving a trailer park of its trash.   However, she is merely the latest to cash in on infamy, generated entirely by exploiting the fame and notoriety of those around her or paying her.   This is almost identical to the posse of never-will-bes clamoring "hey-look-at-me" and offering sordid tales (many of which will turn out to be false, I suspect) regarding Tiger Woods.

But there's another point.   If you were already ready to castigate the New York Post for gutter journalism, think about this.  The newspaper business has been hit very hard and actual newspaper readership is declining.   (The web is another story.)   The Post -- which has been hemorraghing money ever since I can remember, even going back to Rupert Murdoch's first term as its owner -- is trying to stay alive.   And some people may be stupid enough to buy the Post to read this woman's assuredly ghost-written column.  

(What?  You mean you don't read the Post for John Crudele?  Now there's a column worth reading.)

The business of newspapers is to be read.   It is not "to tell the truth" -- although that's a nice sound bite.   The broadsheets of yesteryear were a mishmash of ads from snake oil salesman, astrology, lurid and sensationalist claims the National Enquirer wouldn't print today as a parody, and scorching rhetorical opinion columns taken as news in a time when no one cared or thought there was a difference.

The Post is doing what it can to stay in business.   Don't blame them.   Blame your neighbors for not reading newspapers any more.

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