WaPo Obits: Funeral or Just a Sign Post?

If your goal in life is a great obituary, give some thought to a career in print journalism. Few take care of their own quite like newspaper people.

The coverage of the sale of The Washington Post to Jeffrey Bezos looks similar — rending of garments; gnashing of teeth.

Is it really a funeral or perhaps just a sign post reminding us of something we already know?


In mid-July, the Pew Research Center asked US adults a number of questions about their news consumption.

“How do you get most of your news about national and international issues? From television, newspapers, radio, magazines, or Internet?” (2 answers accepted)

Television 69%

Internet 50%

Newspapers 28%

Magazines 4%

Radio 3%


  1. Some of the “50% Internet” could be newspaper related sites.
  2. How important can talk radio possibly be if only 3% of the population admits to getting its news there?

Asked of the 69% who said television: “On television, do you get most of your news about national and international issues from…?”

Local 19%

Fox News 19%

CNN 19%

ABC 11%

NBC 11%

CBS 9%



  1. If the preferred business model is hard left or hard right, why is CNN tied with Fox and local for the top spot?
  2. Are the Fox righties really drubbing the MSNBC lefties by a 3-1 margin?

“In general, do you think news organizations get the facts straight, or do you think that their stories and reports are often inaccurate?”

Get the facts straight 26%

Stories often inaccurate 67%

Takeaway: “Inaccurate” is evolving into a synonym for “not what I want to hear.”

“In presenting the news dealing with political and social issues, do you think that news organizations deal fairly with all sides, or do they tend to favor one side?”

Deal fairly with all sides 19%

Tend to favor one side 76%

Takeaway: “Favor one side” is in hot pursuit of “inaccurate” toward its new meaning.

“In general, do you think news organizations are pretty independent, or are they often influenced by powerful people and organizations?”

Pretty independent 20%

Often influenced by powerful people and organizations 75%

Takeaway: Who are the 20%?

If these figures suggest either a disinterested public or an ill-informed public, who benefits?


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