WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8, 2022
The Post slides toward the sea: Let the word go forth to the nations. Your incomparable Daily Howler keeps banging out those results!
So we said, for the second straight day, as we noted the new arrangements on the all-new (but perhaps not improved) Morning Joe TV program.
That said, we cringed at the egregiously divisive remarks by the program's first guest—and then, we turned to the on-line version of the Washington Post, a famous newspaper which is rapidly sliding toward the sea.
We've mentioned the problem in the past. The problem goes like this:
In its print editions, the Washington Post is still a traditional high-end newspaper. Online, the Post is becoming an increasingly dumbnified tabloid entity.
The next step after this is Slate. From there, the road downhill leads straight to The Daily Beast.
What do we mean when we say that the online version of the Post is becoming dumbnified, tabloid? Consider the high degree of dumbnification near the top of this morning's front page.
As we typed at 8 A.M., the front page of the online Post was topped by an unnamed section featuring seven reports.
Five of the seven reports involved actual news events. That said, the section also featured these lesser entries:
So far, perhaps not so great.
Just so you'll know, that "WP Exclusive" about Martha Mitchell's revenge was first posted yesterday morning. This is the second day on which the Post has been featuring it online.
At any rate, so it went at the very top of the online Post's front page. The site then offered links to six Opinion pieces. There followed a section called MORE TOP STORIES, one of which was this:
The news report which tops the front page of the print edition still hadn't been cited or linked. Neither had the other two reports which appear above the fold on the front page of today's print edition.
All this we could have ignored! But as we continued down the website's front page, we now encountered the online Post's daily DON'T MISS section.
The DON'T MISS section appeared before the paper's WORLD or NATIONAL sections. As always, the section featured four DON'T MISS reports.
Below, you see the four reports you shouldn't miss today! At 8 A.M., the four DON'T MISS reports were these:
After it finished with all that dumbnification, the online Post finally got around to offering links to the three (3) hard news reports which top the front page of today's print edition.
In fairness, let's be fair! No one wants to miss the chance to learn who Chelsea Handler has been yelling at lately.
Also, that "Watergate cake" is surely quite tasty. And some of the Post's higher-end readers may live to get those extra towels from those roboticized hotel workers.
That said, if it's roboticized conduct you enjoy, you can now observe such behavior in spades within our upper-end "press corps." And yet, there seem to have been some major changes within the Morning Joe franchise.
As of this week, Joe and Mika are encased in a studio all by themselves. Their "yes men" all appear by remote, from other studios, largely one at a time.
Even Willie and Jonathan appear by remote from separate studios. No clubhouse dynamics allowed!
After taking last week off, a more mature Joe seems to have new patches of grey at his temples. He even seems to shouting less as he offers the standard spiel at the start of each show.
Two weeks ago, we mentioned the way Joe's red-faced ranting had gone crazily over the top. Rather plainly, our thoughtful observations have occasioned these reforms.
That said, the comments by this morning's first guest were almost guaranteed to produce a bad political outcome. Then too, we have the online Washington Post, letting us know about Watergate cake and—in a WP Exclusive!—about the way Martha Mitchell placed that phone call to Bob Woodward, way way way back when.
As a general matter, we liberals aren't able to see how dumb and inept our own corporate tribunes are. We're instructed to focus on Tucker Carlson, and to ignore the incompetence of the upper-class stars who get sold to us as our own.
In the process, the descent continues at places like the Washington Post.
Back out of all this now too much for us, we ourselves have returned to loftier realms—for example, to Einstein's explanation of "the relativity of simultaneity." Last week, we showed you Walter Isaacson's explanation of that central concept, and we noted an instructive fact:
The explanation comes straight from Einstein himself. Yet it makes no apparent sense.
Yesterday, we looked at the way Isaacson started his chapter on Special Relativity in his well-received bio of Einstein. We showed you his first disarming paragraph—but even at that disarmingly simple point, can you really explain what he said?
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our society is in enormous trouble. As it turns out, we aren't "the rational animal" at all, and we pretty much never were.
According to major anthropologists, we humans are wired for tribal war, much less so for ratiocination. Also, there's big bucks to be made in American media at this point in time.
The red tribe is gifted with gruesome "thought leaders." How much better equipped are we Over Here, within our own blue tribe?
Tomorrow: We return to Walter Isaacson, a highly accomplished mainstream journalist and a very good writer