The daily paper as you’ve known it is going the way of the drive-in movie, the party line, and black-and-white TV.
The financial reasons are well known: The Internet and tax-subsidized direct mail have sucked up much of the advertising revenue — by providing better, more efficient targeting — and significantly altered the business models of many former large advertisers. (In fact, when customers use your store merely to check out merchandise that they then rush home and purchase for less, online, the advertisers themselves are doomed. See “Circuit City.”)
But there’s another reason daily newspapers are failing. A hundred years ago, readers could choose among as many as a dozen newspapers in large cities, two or three even in medium-sized towns. They tended to choose papers whose editorial philosophies matched their own, wherever that might lie on the socialist-to-libertarian or -conservative spectrum.
Now they’re doing that again, choosing politically and philosophically agreeable sources of news and commentary … on cable TV, and especially on the Internet.
Daily newspapers, meanwhile, have been consolidating since the Great Depression, till most cities today support only one or two, run for the most part by folks who figure the only thing accomplished by fiercely opinionated commentary is to offend half the potential readers.
These remaining “objective” dailies (they’re not really objective — they’re fiercely pro-Establishment, pro-Big-Government, apologists for the “progressive” agenda) have almost all now fallen under the pall of the Code of Polite Euphemism, sidestepping plain-talk debate on some of the great issues of the day — allowing the Internet to take over as forum for those debates without contest.
Hardly any American daily newspaper, for example, would dare raise objection to the fact that the current acting superintendent of the Clark County (Las Vegas) School District attempts to explain away the fact that only 61 percent of his seniors can meet the current requirements to gain a high school diploma by whining that “seven out of 40” students are “English Language Learners.” And they certainly wouldn’t point out the superintendent is here using this latest PC euphemism to mean “children of illegal aliens,” a phrase the reporters of your daily newspaper are now barred from using (along with its slightly less accurate substitute, “children of illegal immigrants,”) on grounds these phrases might “hurt someone’s feelings.”
These same administrators then complain about “inadequate funding,” despite the fact the Nevada Policy Research Institute has documented that Nevadans have in the past 50 years tripled what they spend on tax-funded schools, per student, even after adjusting for inflation. (Not only that, Nevada state K-12 spending is up 27 percent since 1994, while Nevadans’ personal income over that decade has grown by less than 9 percent.)
Except for an occasional non-staff letter-writer, writers are discouraged from pointing out how these related problems would be quickly and easily solved in any other civilized nation: Parents showing up to register non-French-speaking children for the French tax-funded schools, or non-English-speaking children for the English tax-funded schools, would immediately be asked to provide proof they are in that country legally. Failure to do so would lead not only to a refusal to matriculate the illegal children, but also instructions to report to the local police station, where the entire family would be told to immediately depart the country or face forced deportation. Inquiries would also immediately be launched to determine who rented these illegals a house or apartment without seeking proof of legal residency, as required by law.
Are the school officials in those countries — pretty much ALL other countries, including Mexico — then immediately condemned as “racists” who are attempting to block children from receiving an education? Of course not. The children are merely advised to return to school in the lands of which they are legal residents, until such time as they can meet the requirements to emigrate legally.
American schools adamantly refuse to do this — a step that Clark County administrators indicate could reduce their overcrowding by nearly 14 percent, overnight — and then use the presence of the illegals as an excuse to whine endlessly about “funding shortages” and their inability to meet any sensible academic expectations.
(For the record, that’s also nonsense. Many of the brilliant foreign-born scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project were legal immigrants who entered American elementary schools as non-English-speakers. They did fine, without any “ELL” programs.)
The result? In a May Day op-ed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Danny Thompson of the Nevada State AFL-CIO wrote: “Because of their status, many of these immigrant families live in the shadows, unable to speak out for themselves or to fully participate in their communities for fear of being separated from their loved ones or deported.”
But legal immigrants — Mr. Thompson compares the group he references to “Irish, Italian, and other European immigrants one hundred years ago,” who arrived here legally — need have no fear of being deported from America for “speaking out.” Mr. Thompson clearly means “illegal immigrants,” but fails to draw that distinction.
The object of such fuzzing up of the language is clear: Anyone who favors the enforcement of existing immigration laws becomes “racist” and “anti-immigrant.”
You are further unlikely to read any objection to an announcement by the interim superintendent of the Clark County School District that he intends to “provide cultural training” to teachers working with high populations of “English Language Learner” students, to fund additional instruction time on weekends and summer breaks to ELL students, or the fact that he has further announced “We are working with legislators to expand funding for pre-kindergarten instruction to ELL students … when they are 4 years old.”
Which will, of course, divert further resources from high school kids who already can’t pass their math and science competency tests, while generating new cries for ever more money, as these new day-care centers for 4-year-olds will now presumably find it necessary to serve free breakfasts and lunches, to provide mandatory vaccinations and other “health care,” to provide potty training and escorts to and from the bus stops, et cetera ad infinitum.
Isn’t it interesting how totalitarian regimes, failing as they always do, can think of no solution but to expand their already massive disaster zones. The Soviet Union, hearing its subjects complain that the Lithuanians and the Poles seem to be faring better with freer economies, responded by conquering Poland and Lithuania in order to bring those populations under the same enervating cloud of poverty and oppression, thus ending unfavorable comparisons, while barring their subjects from traveling beyond the Iron Curtain for a fresh look at any alternatives.
Similarly, compulsion based government school systems blame their failures on the fact that parents whose “non-professional” input and opinions they sneeringly reject “don’t do enough to help us,” and now also on the fact they don’t get the kids soon enough, leading to these calls to grab the 4- and 5-year-olds as well.
The state Legislature’s answer to the fact that 39 percent of kids who have plodded through 11 to 14 years of tax-funded schooling in Clark County can’t pass their state-mandated high-school proficiency tests (which are actually set at an eighth grade level)? Assembly members voted unanimously last month to get rid of the test, a fact the interim Clark County superintendent notes with evident approval.