BREAKING: Your Sunday morning Washington Post!


Look magazine re-emerges: It's always instructive to watch the decline of the online Washington Post.

As we type on this Sunday morning, the online paper's front page features these three news reports. They're given full banner display at the top of the online front page:

Russia is grabbing men off the street to fight in Ukraine

On Kari Lake’s campaign for Arizona governor, the mic is always hot

You can now buy hearing aids without a prescription

Online, the Washington Post now gets to "human interest" material remarkably quickly. In the layout as we type, there follows a subset of four reports in a section called ONLY FROM THE POST.

Then, it's back to fully bannered news reports. As we type, the Post offers seven such reports in all. Here are the remaining four:
A knock on Neil Armstrong’s door in 1969 is still reverberating

As housing prices soar, a wealthy county rethinks the idea of suburbia

Tennessee’s triumph over Alabama and other college football winners and losers

Let maple syrup shine in these 9 sweet and savory recipes
That completes the current Gang of Seven—the seven reports which get bannered at the top of the online Post's front page.

The Silly continues from there. Before you reach the paper's sections for WORLD and NATIONAL news, you'll encounter such deathless reports as these:
Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet with these simple tips

Bring toilet paper, snacks and friends: How to run a trail relay

Rake them, blow them or leave them? How to deal with fallen foliage.

You’ve got moths. Here’s how to get rid of them.

6 strategies for creating counter space where there is none

8 ways you may be killing your houseplants—and how to save them
You'll also meet links to four advice columns before you reach WORLD or NATIONAL. The headlines on them are these:
Carolyn Hax: Parents see alcoholic boyfriend as ‘burden’ for daughter

Ask Damon: My boyfriend died. Then I found out he had another partner.

Miss Manners: How do I tell a co-worker I won’t make drawings for her?

Ask Amy: Even with my lists, my husband’s family can’t get gifts right
So it goes at the devolving online Washington Post. 

("You've got moths," that one headline says. Look who's talking! one of the analysts helplessly cried.)

All in all, the online Post has been transformed into something like a modern version of Look or Life magazines, the 50s-era weekly behemoths. A nod is given to actual news, but the focus is on vastly lighter fare, with a sneaking suggestion that the online Post thinks its readers are very dumb and detached.

(We'll assume that judgment is based on extensive market research.)

In its print edition, the Washington Post hasn't made any such move. In essence, two different "newspapers" are being produced, under one famous moniker.


  1. For those who think the "mainstream media" supports the Democrats, consider today's headline:

    "Democrats Spent $2 Trillion to Save the Economy. They Don’t Want to Talk About It.

    Polls show voters liked direct payments from President Biden’s 2021 economic rescue bill. But they have become fodder for Republican inflation attacks."

    If Democrats don't want to talk about the stimulus checks, why is the NY Times making that its banner headline? Hint: It isn't doing this to help the left, assuming the left has been trying to downplay the stimulus in order to reduce claims it contributed to inflation.

  2. There is nothing silly about telling people how to eat more fruits and vegetables. Doctors are talking about Alzheimer's as Diabetes Type III these days. We are coming up on a pandemic of dementia as the baby boomers age. Who will care for a generation with dementia? Not Somerby -- he is part of that national problem. But he thinks it is "silly" to talk about prevention that may make things better for families nationwide and thereby help our economy, which may not have sufficient caregivers to meet the looming need.

    But this is so so silly to Somerby.

  3. "Ask Damon: My boyfriend died. Then I found out he had another partner."

    Somerby, like many narcissists, appears to be lacking in empathy and thus cannot imagine what those who have lost loved ones to covid may be going through. When someone dies unexpectedly, their family inevitably discovers the deceased person's secrets. They can be very shocking, the more so because one is grieving and thus vulnerable to the additional shocks. Now one tells you that this may happen -- except a few "how to be a widow" self help books.

    This particular "headline" is about an experience that is more common now due to covid deaths. But Somerby cannot imagine what may be happening to others, and thus of interest to them.

    He apparently thinks that the newspaper should be organized around only what he wants to read, screw everyone else.

  4. "Before you reach the paper's sections for WORLD and NATIONAL news, you'll encounter such deathless reports as these:"

    As mh pointed out when Somerby first started this now weekly rant, Somerby can go directly to the National and World news using a link at the top left corner of the page.

    This is what happens when you live alone and have no friends or relatives to help you solve life's daily practical problems.

    But perhaps Somerby is doing us all a favor by pointing out that technology poses unique difficulties for the elderly. The Post needs to consider how accessible it truly is to its older readers. Or maybe those older readers are much more interested in the so-called human interest stories, and the paper has decided to make the most widely read material easiest to find, assuming that those who will care about national news will also be the best equipped to find it. Just like putting the push seats for the disabled right up next to the bus front door, assuming the able-bodied kids can climb into the back just fine.

    Meanwhile Somerby shouts and pisses and moans because the Post is not catering to HIM. And if the national news leads off with Herschel Walker's fake badge, Somerby will complain that they are not serious of purpose because they didn't start with how bad Rachel Maddow was while talking on her new podcast. I really don't see how the Washington Post can win.

  5. "All in all, the online Post has been transformed into something like a modern version of Look or Life magazines"

    Look and Life didn't have these sorts of articles -- no advice columns, nothing about secret partners, nothing about eating more fruits and vegetables.

    Here is its described content:

    "With its coverage of U.S. and international lifestyles, celebrities, and events, the collection offers insight into the magazine's photojournalistic documentation of aspects of society and culture--particularly American society and culture--in the middle decades of the twentieth century."

    Life Magazine was mostly serious in its focus (July 20, 1953), although emphasizing photography:

    "Pg… 17 THE WEEK’S EVENTS: Helicopters Take a Birthday Portrait of the U.S. Pg… 28 THE WEEK’S EVENTS: A New Royal Heartache for Britain Pg… 30 THE WEEK’S EVENTS: LIFE on the Newsfronts of the World Pg… 33 THE WEEK’S EVENTS: The Beria I Knew, by Alexander Orlov Pg… 45 THE WEEK’S EVENTS: Raindrops Into Teardrops Pg… 26 EDITORIAL: The Cause and Cure of the Korean Truce Pg… 71 PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY: Everything Goes On In the Piazza, Photographed for LIFE by Henri Cartier–Bresson Pg… 49 MODERN LIVING: Outdoor Cooking Pg… 81 CLOSE–UP: Spyros Skouras and His Wonderful Cinemascope, by Robert Coughlan Pg… 59 MOVIES: Heels and Heroics Pg… 38 SPORTS: The General Bags His Bear, by General James A. Van Fleet Pg… 65 SPORTS: Hogan in the Heather Pg… 8 OTHER DEPARTMENTS: Letters to the Editors Pg… 10 OTHER DEPARTMENTS: Speaking of Pictures: Typewritten “Paintings” are the Work of a Lady Police Clerk Pg… 95 OTHER DEPARTMENTS: LIFE Goes Courting with U.S. Senator Pg… 100 OTHER DEPARTMENTS: Miscellany: A Matter of Form"

    Most people care how other people live. If Somerby doesn't, that makes him an outlier. Expecting the world to cater to his idiosyncrasies is unreasonable. Making this into some sort of media criticism is ridiculous.

  6. The real problem is that women and children now read newspapers, when before it was only manly, serious, news-oriented types who could read. Universal literacy is a bitch.

  7. Here is what passed for an editorial in the NY Times this morning (by Pamela Paul), on becoming middle aged:

    "You realize you are getting closer to something inconceivable only a short time ago: the grandma years. When you are a grandma, you won’t even need excuses. You can behave in ways entirely inexplicable to everyone younger than yourself and it will be seen as an eccentricity. You can sidle up to strange men in line for the movies and take some of their popcorn to give to your grandchild, the way my grandma did. You can pretend to have gone entirely batty whenever it suits you. You can pretend you don’t know that you’re shouting or that you can’t hear anything anyone else says.

    And you know what? It starts to feel like something to look forward to."

    Who is pretending? And Somerby is screaming at those kids to get off his lawn again.

    When formerly respected media critics who once bravely defended Al Gore against trivial criticism, start to rant about too much human interest in the online news, maybe it is not so cute. Maybe it is a plea for help in an increasingly confusing world, where not even turning Republican makes one feel safe any more. Not everything about becoming older is fun and games.

  8. For someone who wants nothing but hard news in his Sunday paper, Somerby spends remarkably little time discussing hard news on his own blog.

  9. "with a sneaking suggestion that the online Post thinks its readers are very dumb and detached."

    Why is it dumb to worry about moths? They put holes in your woolen clothes.

  10. That "liberal world has been constructing novelized versions of highly important real-world events, sanding off all complexity until we're left with the primal anger, fear and loathing traditionally associated with the world of the fairy tale."

  11. Who are you quoting?

  12. The gay Cable News host hating blogger who repeats right wing talking points.

  13. And Somerby is so eager to get to this novelized fairy tale each day that he won't read about moths, which are also real-world events?

  14. No one is worried about Jan 6 except Democrats who will pay the price for trying to force people to think it was of serious concern.

  15. It should be of serious concern, in our humble opinion.

    When masses of the governed travel to the capital from all over the country to protest and riot, then something might be seriously fucked up within the government. A lack of consent of the governed is worrisome.

  16. And here Mao displayed his unfamiliarity with the USA. There are protests every day on the mall in DC. It exemplifies the right of Americans to express their views, not governmental dysfunction. We use voting to change our government, not rioting, as in Russia. That's part of what makes Trump's plot to stay in office so wrong.

  17. Democrats are also the only ones worried about the economy. It doesn't mean it's not important.

  18. How bout that Kari Lake?

    1. Sarah Palin step aside. In the mold of Lauren Boebert who is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    2. Just one mercenary lunatic of many, who the “liberal media” will not make uncomfortable.

    3. Kari Lake the Obama voter?

    4. No. The one running in Arizona must be a different one, because she doesn't lead every public appearance by reminding Republican voters she's an Obama fan.

  19. Nicely summed up at 1:45. We might only add that Bob has implied for years that Trump may be excused for attempting to overthrow the government of the United States and install himself as leader because he actually believed he was the popular vote winner in 16 and 20. This ridiculous premise was laid to rest this week.
    Bob’s response was to fume over the differences in the online edition of the WP, even though everything in the Print edition is easily accessible in the online edition as well.
    To paraphrase on of Bob’s old songs, “Can a system that harbors such silliness long endure?” Christ, this guy went to Harvard.
    Praise Allah, what a strange embarrassment he has become.

  20. Polls are looking really really bad for Democrats.

  21. Don't worry. No More Mr Nice Guy blog will tell us on whom to put the blame for the inevitable, forthcoming drubbing. Don't worry. We will bear no responsibility whatsoever.

  22. But Joe Biden wore aviator sunglasses and rode a motorcycle! How could anyone be disenchanted with Democrats after that?

  23. Your whining is music to Steven Bannon's ears.

  24. Of course. It's my fault!

  25. "Your whining is music to Steven Bannon's ears."

    Did "Steve Bannon" autocorrect from "Bob Somerby"?