Just when it appears that our corporately-owned pseudo-local newspaper (the Daily Camera) has hit rock-bottom-nadirhood, it plummets to still another new low. It's a bottomless cistern.
We're suffering through a horrid local murder. The Camera is covering the story with rare enthusiasm -- trying to elevate it to JonBenet Ramsey celebrity status. (It's the Linda Damm murder. You can look it up here.)
Some days there's no news. But that doesn't stop Al Manzi and his troops. Let's try to guess at the four-column headline on the front page of the edition of March 28. Hint: It wasn't the Iranian capture of British sailors, which might lead to a wider war in the Levant; it wasn't AG Gonzalez kayaking the disinformation rapids; it wasn't the Senate repudiating the Smirker by setting a deadline on Iraq. Nope. Here it is, folks. It's (drums and trumpets): FINDING A NEW HOME: LINDA DAMM'S DOG ADOPTED BY LONG-LOST FRIEND. Linda Damm's dog! Excuse me, but this "news" is not the truth that is going to set us free. This is poverty-stricken intellectually vacant journalism.
The story itself is heart-rending. One human life has been lost and several others are ruined. And our newspaper can do no better than run a report on Linda Damm's dog! Have the publisher and his reporters no dignity, no sense of proportion, no shame? No ethics. I'm embarrassed to be a reader of this newspaper; I'm embarrassed to be a fellow-citizen of its publisher.
Is it true that crude, yellow, lachrymose sensationalism still sells newspapers? I guess so.
March 31. I received the following from Spike Schapiro, a friend of my youth. As usual, Spike is unhappy with what I've written. "Viv, you've lost your bearings. You've been living in wussy Boulder so long that your brain has turned to tofu. I'd heard that everyone out there was a fey vegan, but I didn't believe it until I read the Damm dog story in your local rag. Let's get this straight. Dogs are not placed in "foster homes" -- they're sent to kennels; they're not "adopted", they're bought and sold; and they don't have "guardians" -- they have owners. Have you people lost the ability to make distinctions? Do you treat all animals as if they were human infants? The Camera reporter can't tell the difference, that's for sure. I have ten bucks that says that she's twenty-two years old, graduated with a degree in communication from some off-brand college (probably Bible U.), and prides herself on her "spiritualism" -- by which she means "spirituality." Plus she volunteers with Squirrel Rescue.
Viv, my friend, get back to your roots! The Camera's story isn't just egregious journalism -- it's immoral trash. Try to recall the intersection of Newkirk and Coney Island, where there wasn't the luxury for such foolish, fatuous sentimentality."