Internet Journalism Did Not Kill The Daily Fish Wrap

Today’s New Free Press Is Online Newspapers. Internet Journalism Did Not Kill The Daily Fish-Wrap. It Committed Suicide. This New Era Of Real Reporting Was Just The Fatal “Whack In The Face” For Liberal Media. Government And Liberal Media Will Do Everything They Can To Try And Protect Their Turf. So, Information Thirsty Citizens Must Do The Same And Keep Striking Back! Whether The Internet Will Sustain This Quantity Of New Internet Newspapers Is Up To Readers. These Online Papers Must Have Reader Support To Survive. Although These New Editors And Reporters Work Almost For Free, Bandwidth Is Expensive And Someone Must Pay For It. With Limited Or No Advertising Revenue, When They Ask For A Small Donation It Is Out Of Necessity Not For Profit Like The Media Giants.

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Published July 14, 2021

Exclusive Editorial for The Tennessee Conservative

By William Haupt III [Tennessee Watchdog Journalist, Columnist, Author, and Citizen Legislator] –

“In dictatorships the media is controlled by the State. In democracies the media is controlled by wealthy individuals with political affiliations. There is no more objective journalism.”–Robert Black

Newspapers have played a vital role in our country since the arrival of the first expiates. Publick Occurrences, the 1st U.S. newspaper, in Boston in 1690, printed one edition and was shut down immediately by the colonial government because they did not like their content.  The government feared the press so much it took 14 years before another paper was published again in America. 

By the turn of the century, the colonies wanted independence and news print drove the revolution! Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, in 1776  encouraged the colonies to revolt. This one pamphlet was the battle cry of the revolutionary army, and heavily influenced crafting the US Constitution.

Our founders realized that free speech was necessary in a free society and its vehicle was “the press”! The 1st Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1791, prohibited government from ever “abridging free speech”. Thomas Jefferson proclaimed, “Our liberty depends upon a free press.” 

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During the Civil War reporters fought blatant government attempts to censor them. Reporters like Albert Richardson, Henry Villard, Peter Alexander and Felix Gregory dodged bullets and cannon balls and risked their lives maneuvering through battlefields to report facts about this civil conflict.

The salience of U.S. newspapers reached a new plateau in the 1880s, with the tough reporting of of Joseph Pulitzer. He fought crusades for the poor, immigrants and workers. When Upton Sinclair exposed the contamination in meat processing plants, FDR labeled newspapers “muckrakers and scandal sheet tabloid mongrels.” He went after newspapers like buzzards go after fresh road kill.

During FDR’s reign of terror newspapers helped save republicanism. The Associated Press (AP) was founded in 1848 to share news throughout the world. The 1st newspaper chain, the Scripps-McRae League, published 23 newspaper. By 1922 Hearst owned 30 papers and two wire services. 

On Dec. 7, 1941, within hours after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, US news reporters helped change the attitude of America about WWII. They calmed a troubled public and convinced them to support the war. They conveyed their message through the prism of the war effort, from the buying of War Bonds, rationing, growing victory gardens, donating blood and self-sacrifice for our troops. 

During WWII, newspapers were instrumental in sustaining patriotism in hard times and building it upon allied victories. Reporters like Andy Rooney and Walter Cronkite rode along on air raids to write about bombing missions. Other reporters died in combat trying to bring Americans the news.  Heroic, dedicated reporters helped win the war on the battlefields and inspired America at home.    

At the close of the Second Great War, newspapers were critical in retransitioning America. Stories about returning heroes graced their daily editions. They helped Americans adjust to an era of new  peacetime socioeconomics.

When the Cold War broke newspapers calmed Americans who feared a Red attack. They united America against the evils of Communism and the depravity of socialism.   The 2nd Great War not only rewrote world geography, it redefined competitive journalism. With the success of radio and TV after WWII, papers lost revenue and formed conglomerates. This marked the end of competitive reporting. These watchdogs of our democracy sold out to the highest bidder.  

With few pugnacious beat hacks keeping politicians honest, the media’s rectitude and verisimilitude vanished. Their circulation and their profits plummeted. Avant-garde, under-paid gutless copy-boys replaced seasoned muckrakers and beat reporters which abruptly ended all newsroom credibility. 

As universities churned out liberal writers the newspapers moved to the left. America’s watchdogs became attack dogs against republicanism. Newspapers soon allied with Democrats against the GOP. This was a marriage made in heaven for liberals and consummated in hell for Americans.   

When online news websites appeared on the internet in 1990, it was a gift that keeps on giving. According to Pew Research,  by 2008, more Americans reported getting news online than from newspapers. And soon leftist Al Gore stopped bragging to liberal media he invented the internet. 

Metropolitan dailies have been folding like cheap suits for the last two decades. They only budget 10% for reporters. A real journalist is more difficult to find than a Democrat in Wyoming. The only reporting about government today is praise for progressive socialists and scorn for conservatives. 

Al Gore’s creation, internet journalism, is “growing faster than a speeding bullet!” The proliferation of internet journalists who openly and candidly report the factual content that liberal media refuses to cover, has grown exponentially during the past decade. This was driven by liberal media’s eight year love affair with pontiff Barack Obama and their unrelenting hateful attacks on Donald Trump. 

As news sources declined, internet journalism became the go to source for American news. But this had its drawbacks. With users now reliant on a plethora of electronic information sources, the dominant non-news platforms of social media allied with liberal media to force-feed news for them. 

This unholy alliance of liberal news and social media empowered media to manipulate readers even more so than they had done after WWII. Sites like Twitter and Facebook micro-targeted all conservative news and censored postings. Overnight social media became their digital “fish-wrap” for people to exchange mistruths from unreliable progressive web sites and liberal newspapers. 

The real benefit of the internet to the news industry was the Renaissance of factual news sources with new newspapers and real reporters who dispense facts not liberal fiction. Many have eclipsed the circulation of competitive fish-wraps. These are today’s “beat reporters, tough guys, gum shoes and news hacks.” These are fearless professional reporters and real journalists, not social media. 

As print media watched their market share tank, to regain advertisers and readers local fish-wraps spawned online sites. Now every paper has an internet edition. But the fly in the ointment is, unlike online real newspapers they charge fees to read articles. Readers are also bombarded with ads while they read regurgitated versions of the exact same leftist propaganda in their print editions. 

Plato told us, “Never honor men more than truth.” When the media allied with the left, the blessings of technology replaced them with a new breed of online newspapers. When liberal media became a political platform and internet journalists started doing their job, they accused them of trespassing into their once sacred turf. And Liberal media has been trying to discredit these journalists since. 

The New York Times recently ran an op-ed claiming since internet newspapers allow free news access, that’s the only reason people read them. Yet a recent Gallop Poll revealed it was not cost but quality readers wanted. Over two-thirds believed print media failed to provide accurate news. 

Arthur Miller wrote, “A good newspaper is a nation talking to itself.” The reality is; that resources for good journalism are now disappearing faster we can develop them. The financial crisis of the press has compound the media’s crisis of legitimacy. Already under attack from readers across the nation for a multitude of sins, new start ups are necessary to replace traditional media as it goes belly up.

Whether the internet will sustain this quantity of new internet newspapers is up to readers. These online papers must have reader support to survive. Although these new editors and reporters work almost for free, bandwidth is expensive and someone must pay for it. With limited or no advertising revenue, when they ask for a small donation it is out of necessity not for profit like the media giants. 

Before news papers sold out they leveraged the public over government. They were valued as the 4th branch of government. Today’s new free press is online newspapers. Internet journalism did not kill the daily fish-wrap. It committed suicide. This new era of real reporting was just the fatal “whack in the face” for liberal media. Government and liberal media will do everything they can to try and protect their turf. So information thirsty citizens must do the same and keep striking back! 

“The average newspaper has the intelligence of a hillbilly evangelist, the courage of a rat, the fairness of a prohibitionist boob-jumper, the information of a high school janitor, the taste of a designer of celluloid valentines, and the honor of a police-station lawyer.” ― H. L. Mencken

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About the Author:

William Haupt III is a retired professional journalist, author, and citizen legislator in California for over 40 years. He got his start working to approve California Proposition 13. His work also appears in The Center SquareThe Western JournalNeighbor NewspapersKPXJ 21 (Shreveport, LA)Killeen Daily HeraldAberdeen American NewsInsideNovaKankakee Daily JournalMonterey County WeeklyOlean Times HeraldThe Greeneville Sun and more. Follow William on Twitter @iii_haupt.

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