Monday, August 29, 2005

Hugh vs. Tim Rutten

RadioBlogger has this transcript of Hugh Hewitt's discussion with Tim Rutten of the LA Times.

It is really frightening that people who are so out of touch with even the wierdos in LA run a newspaper that people actually buy.

TR: But look. I work at the L.A. Times, and I'm pro-life.

HH: But I'm just asking just as a percentage. By the way, being pro-life, does that mean you favor a reversal of Roe V. Wade?

TR: Do I favor a reversal of Roe V. Wade? No.

HH: Well, then you're not really pro-life. I mean, as the term is understood. It's kind of Orwellian.

TR: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. As you understand the term? Or as I understand the term?

HH: No, as the world understands. If we asked like a thousand people...

TR: No, I don't know that it translates into being against Roe V. Wade. And, you know, I think you can make an argument that Roe V. Wade was wrongly decided as a matter of law. I think as a matter of...I am opposed to abortion, but I think in a pluralistic society...

HH: Why?

TR: Why?

HH: Yeah.

TR: Because out of religious conviction on my part.

HH: But what's that religious conviction? That life begins at conception?

TR: Um, that life begins at conception?

HH: Yes.

TR: Uh, I think the question is out on that. But, you know, I'm a Roman Catholic. But the truth is that the Church is...the Church's approach to this issue, and the issue of when life begins, has...has been more fluid over the last hundred years than people tend to credit. Even Aquinas spoke in terms of insoulment.

I am not a liberal because I am pro-life, but I don't support repealing Roe vs. Wade. I am only personally pro-life because I am a devout Roman Catholic but I don't think the whole "life begins at conception" thing is actually settled.

Hello? What planet do you live on?
TR: I go to the Church I was baptised into. I've been married to one woman all my life. I mean, I have, you know, kids I take care of. What's more conservative than that?

Oh, sorry, he is conservative because he married the right person the first time around and has kids he takes care of? Since when did any responsible conservative accuse liberals of being wife beaters, deadbeats, or child abusers? What in the world does the fact that you have a stable marriage have to do with your political philosophy?
HH: When Hollywood figures out that people are buying, getting their impressions of movies from Fandango and from other places, and when Craig's List and Re/Max, and all the classified advertising for real estate goes away, you guys are in...I mean, new media is going to crush you. You're just not going to have any revenues left. Does that alarm you? Or are you close enough to retirement that you can sprint home?

TR: No, I'm not that close to retirement. And moreover, I would still be concerned about the future of newspapers. I think that there's a very good future for newspapers. I don't think all those things are going to happen. And I also think that newspapers are going to become much more adept in using new media to reach readers.

This really scares me. The ad dollars/inch are falling faster than subscription rates at most newspapers. There is a very simple set of explanations for this. I will offer two that apply at my household. We get the local daily paper because my wife wants the sale ads and coupons. She figures the coupon savings exceed the cost of the paper. She never reads the paper and I rarely do in print. I read it online because I hate newsprint and I can get through it many times faster online. On the rare occasions that I do read the print paper I pay little attention to the ads. How much value is an advertiser getting from my paper subscription? News print cannot do hotlinks which makes the value of the ads much lower than their electronic counterparts. People who work at major papers should, by now, have a clue about how quickly the ad budgets of major markets are moving away from newspapers and to talk radio, blogs, online papers, etc.
TR: Blogging is one thing. I think that blogging...I think, you know, now, this is more your field than mine, but I suspect that at some point, there's a kind of convergence that will occur, between blogging and newspapers. I think that bloggers, you know, right now the relationship between blogs and newspapers is symbiotic. I mean, if the so-called mainstream...

HH: Yes, you give us the target, and we hit it.

TR: If the so-called mainstream media didn't exist, you guys would have to invent it, because you wouldn't have anything to write about otherwise.

HH: I know. You give us the target, and we hit it. You betcha. We love you.

TR: I know you do.

HH: Keep distorting the news. Keep sending Dan Rather out to report on forged documents, and we'll get bigger.

TR: I don't know. You know, I can't be responsible for this vast liberal conspiracy and Dan Rather.

This is the most important part of the article. As much as I love the blogosphere, we need the print media (or it's electronic equivalent) to survive. It would be better if it thrived. The major media have the ability to put reporters places that we would never find bloggers. Further, they have the means to pay someone to track down stories that take months and lots of $$$ to get to. The major papers are a scandal at this time in history but those of us that "hit the target" largely do so to assist in forcing them to do better over time. Blogs will forever have their place. I would like to see the day when they are a supplement on point to the electronic major media (including the online version of the paper).
HH: If you took five thousand Republicans, and you put them to work...if you let Ken Mehlman staff the newspapers of the New York Times, Washington Post and the L.A. Times, and he got to pick everone, they would turn out to be as badly biased on the center-right as you folks are on the left. And that's just the way it would be, because people, unless there's balance in the ranks, it's going to turn out badly for fairness, truth, and objectivity.

TR: I don't know. You know, most of my career, Hugh, I have to tell you, there are very few things that have been looked on in major American journalism, in the newspapers I've been around, than an obvious display of politics.

He really is living in a different time/space than the rest of us..... and the scary thing is that he is the norm at any major paper in the country.

Great job Hugh. Tell Tim to leave his knife at home for the next gun fight.


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