A pivotal scene in Orson Welles’ film classic Citizen Kane depicts New York Inquirer publisher Charles Foster Kane penning a Declaration of Principles by which the paper will operate. Kane declares: “I’ll provide the people of this city with a daily paper that will tell all the news honestly.”
Of course both the New York Inquirer and that philosophy of journalism are fictional, as illustrated by the latest real-life validation of President Trump’s campaign against so-called Fake News.
The Boston Globe—emulating those mastodons which once got trapped in the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles but struggled for several months before finally sinking—this week is engaging in a pathetic bid to pretend it is still relevant by mounting a publicity stunt that would be comical if it were not so sad.
The Globe—once owned by the New York Times which purchased it for $1.1 billion but offloaded it in 2013 for only $70-million due to its plummeting circulation and revenue—is “coordinating” an effort to get all newspapers from coast-to-coast to publish editorials attacking President Trump on Thursday, August 16th. The focus: to “fight” the president’s charges of Fake News.
Marjorie Pritchard, deputy managing editor for the Globe’s editorial page, is calling on newspapers nationwide to denounce “a dirty war against the free press.” (Um, “coordinating” such an effort would be the dictionary definition of “collusion,” but The Boston Globe and others reserve that term exclusively for references to Donald Trump.)
The Boston Globe claims over 70 newspapers so far—including The Denver Post, The Houston Chronicle and some small weekly newspapers—have signed on to this juvenile, newspaper version of “Who will bell the Cat?”
However, in justifying the need to mount the barricades…The Globe falsely states: At an Aug. 2 political rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump told his audience that the media was ‘‘fake, fake disgusting news.’’
That, of course, is a provable lie. The President was specifically referring to low-rated cable channel MSNBC. And while his rhetorical characterization of that network as “fake, fake, disgusting news” may offend MSNBC’s literally dozens of viewers...it is fairly accurate.
The American Society of Newspaper Editors is now promoting this Boston Globe collusion with other failing print outlets, and the effort is being distributed nationwide by—who else?—the Associated Press, which never met an anti-Trump story it didn’t like.
So what should the rest of us do on Thursday in the face of this print media version of Don Corleone calling all the heads of the five mob families to a meeting-of-the-minds inThe Godfather?
Unlike the mastodons at The Boston Globe, I would not presume to tell anyone else what to think or what to do. But as for me—and I suspect many others—I won’t be putting any coins in any newspaper box August 16th. I’ll probably just watch a re-run of Citizen Kane and wistfully recall a lost era when newspapers were honest and not agenda-driven.