Monday, October 18, 2010

Up is down, black is white.

If you live long enough...

A statewide newspaper trade association is recognizing two Pennsylvania newspaper publishers for their contributions to the industry and their communities.

Tribune-Review publisher and philanthropist Dick Scaife and Philadelphia Tribune CEO Robert Bogle will receive the Benjamin Franklin Award for Excellence from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, or PNA. ...

Scaife is being recognized for his continued commitment to the principles and purpose of newspapers -- serving their readers and their communities -- as well as his significant contributions to his community, the PNA said.

I can't speak to the latter -- one presumes Richard Mellon Scaife has over the years dumped millions into the local economy -- but "commitment to the principles and purpose of newspapers"? Really? This is true only if "principles" means leveraging one's position as publisher to partially fund Watergate and (via his Tribune) accuse the President of murder.

To hold Scaife up as some kind of paradigm of a newspaper owner is a joke. Scaife's a billionaire who can afford to sink more than $300 million into a "gurgling sinkhole" -- run, says the Washington Post, "with so little concern for profit and loss that it's more a hobby than a business." Maybe on some perverse level this is admirable. Still, I can't help but think that rewarding this guy is a flagrant fuck you to the poor hacks who still work in the very profession Scaife has done so much to devalue.

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