I come in defense of newspapers, even the ones inspiring your fury

…and not because of the horror in Annapolis.

I read a lot of tweets. (I tweet @joyofsuing, but beats me how to hyperlink this so…)

I also read a lot of comments in both of my newspapers, the Daily News and the New York Times. Lately there have been a lot of comments and tweets raging against both papers but mostly the Times. The essence of these criticisms — and I’m using a civil word here — is how violently politically wrong these newspapers have become.

Anybody who reads, even if only occasionally, both of these papers knows that the Daily News is politically fairly conservative-centrist, although with Trump it has swung editorially vividly, painfully against him and most of his policies. All sorts of people have re-published Daily News front covers because they have been starkly, powerful humane.

I’ve been most struck by the editorial page single-frame cartoons from Bill Bramhall who, in my memory, has been pretty anti-Democrat but whose currently cartoons have, like the Daily News covers, packed a punch so hard I find myself gasping every day. (Bramhall tweets, too, but beats me how to hyperlink blah blah blah.)

Yet the Daily News Voice of the People (letters to the editors) page every day fumes with accusations of the socialist–no, communist — LIBERAL rag the paper has become. Liberals are stupid, dumb failures who have tried to destroy this wonderful country of ours. And here are the FACTS to prove it.

I sigh, and wait a couple of days because other “voices” will present factual arguments against that first wave. And then a few days later…

Enough of that. Because most of my concern is how our impossible nightmare has made rational people crazed and furious at the New York Times. One really prominent media critic recently called it useless, a waste of space and paper.

It isn’t. It’s a great newspaper with an international scope that every day gives us the news, the facts of news events.

And simultaneously, sometimes in one article or editorial, the New York Times drives me crazy mad.

I’m not going to claim I’ve got what Scott Fitzgerald called a “first-rate intelligence”…the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Really, as I read today’s editorial about the Democratic Party, I was testably able to hold one idea in my mind at a time — fury at empty provocation as they stirred up trouble without full information and with prejudice* — but now I’m writing this reasoned analysis of all of this.

That is, I can hold two opposed ideas in my mind, but no way at the same time. Only sequentially can I retain the ability to function.

But I’m doing this to reconnect everyone who’s tearing her hair out over newspapers (I said “her” because a lot of men I know are bald) with a couple of posts I’ve written about how to read newspapers. If I handle myself properly, i.e., not sink into deep distress, I will be putting these together into a pamphlet-sized book, the working title of which is, “How I Learned The Facts of Life: A Primer for Consenting Adults.”

Here, in order, are the posts:


How I Learned the Facts of Life: Shame

How I Learned the Facts of Life: how to read newspapers (if you only have time for one, this is the one to read)

Professor George Young (especially for those who know about NFL football. You might have some fun guessing who is the player I do not name.)

Malcolm Forbes and the Game of Telephone

Okay, done. And now I’m going back to re-read the above, to remind myself how to keepĀ  calmly informed in the face of all my rising rage.

*The only argument I’ll give here is that the New York Times editorial board seems, like many of its readers, not to be aware of Twitter, where it might find, should it care to investigate, a whole panoply of young Democratic Party leaders, along with what the Times condemns, without defining, as the old “Establishment”, who present their actions and ideals directly on Twitter and do not seem to be in any sort of internal battle at all.

And when will the Times offer analysis of a major political party visibly collapsing into dust like Mordor, so feeble that out of a potential seventeen professional candidates it produced as its nominee Donald Trump?

Within a day or so, I’m going to re-encourage you to get an account on Twitter and will suggest some names of politicians whom you can follow.

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