The Private Intellectual
Ecclesiastes-Based Real Estate Advice

Tuesday, December 01, 2009  

Postcards from the Death of Journalism

So I bought the Tribune yesterday, for whatever reason. It doesn't take long to finish what's left of the news sections, so I browsed the editorials. Reading unsigned editorials is almost always a waste of time, and has been for years, but even given my low expectations of the genre and the Tribune editorial board, I could not figure out what the point of yesterday's "Hugo Chavez sux" editorial. Granting that Hugo Chavez does indeed suck, that he sounds like a ridiculous political throwback, and that he's doing a lousy job, it's a little baffling that the writers had no actual point to make. Are there implications for American foreign policy? Is there a lesson about populism during downturns, or in the Western hemisphere, or whatever? Last week William Finnegan had an informative, surprising piece on the Honduras coup and the career of Manuel Zelaya in the New Yorker. Would it have been so hard to tie in something about those events?

It's just strange. Chicago doesn't have a big Venezuelan population. It doesn't have notable ties to the Venezuelan economy. Why is the editorial board of one of the city's dailies wasting valuable column inches on drawing honrs and a Groucho mustache on a third-rate demagogue ruling a small country? And why should we pay them to do it?

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posted by Benjamin Dueholm | 8:50 AM
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