Editor & Publisher reports on the continued hemorrhaging of newspaper circulation:
The Audit Bureau of Circulations released circulation numbers for more than 700 daily newspapers this morning for the six-month period ending September 2007. Of the top 25 papers in daily circulation, only four showed gains... According to an analysis of ABC figures, for 538 daily U.S. newspapers, circulation declined 2.5% to 40,689,617.
For The New York Times, daily circulation fell 4.51% to 1,037,828 and Sunday plunged 7.59% to 1,500,394, at least partly due to a price increase though executives with the paper say the decline from the hike was less than anticipated.
Daily circulation at The Washington Post was down 3.2% to 635,087 and Sunday was down 3.9% to 894,428... Daily circulation at The Boston Globe tumbled 6.6% to 360,695 and Sunday fell about the same, 6.5% to 548,906.
...Daily and Sunday circulation at the San Francisco Chronicle has stabilized, down 2.9% to 365,234 and 0.6% to 430,115, respectively. [Ed: "stabilizing"?]... Both The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News experienced deep declines -- more than 10%...
The numbers point to continued declines among the standard-bearers of the liberal mainstream media: the Times, WaPo, and the Globe. But I'm sure it has nothing to do with Tony Snow's take. The former White House press secretary had some harsh words for today's MSM.
...[We] hear that the First Amendment is under siege. I think that´s true... Yet, while it may be tempting to blame the usual suspects — the government, interest groups, angry factionalists — those forces frequently have always tried to restrict the free flow of ideas, and they always have failed... They´re not the culprits here. Instead, there´s a new and unexpected menace on the block:
...Reporters and editors for three decades have sneered at accusations of bias, as if the claim were novel — it is not — unthinkable — it is not — or false — which it also is not... The major media organs in this country have become purveyors of conventional wisdom— generally, conventional liberal wisdom.
The Roper Organization conducted a poll after the 1992 election and discovered that 93 percent of Washington political reporters voted for Bill Clinton. Only 2 percent identified themselves as “conservative.”
...This is not a smear or a criticism. It is a fact, and it´s worth examining. My theory is that liberal — Democratic — sympathies flourish among reporters for very practical reasons. Democrats ran every major institution in Washington for 62 years — between 1932 and 1994...
And what about conventional wisdom? For months, the media avoided asking about progress in Iraq. Despite repeated reports from the field that Iraqis had turned against al Qaeda, the news seldom made it into newspapers, and almost never on front pages. Last week, the military reported that civilian deaths in Iraq had hit their lowest point since 2003. U.S. and Iraqi deaths and casualties similarly had declined. So what led the paper the next morning? Stories about Blackwater. The statistics that put the war in perspective were relegated to the back pages of the Washington Post and in some publications, to oblivion.
A vigorous press must be one in which reporters challenge their own sympathies and assumptions as aggressively as they challenge the sympathies and assumptions of others. Unfortunately, that too seldom happens, with the consequence that opinion-mongering has driven out straight news.
...media organizations have been seduced by process, conflict and polling stories, and along the way have sacrificed the tradition of looking for creative ways to understand and explain the world. They have become hostages to the easy and shallow stuff and strangers to stories that touch people´s hearts and characterize their actual lives.
The democratic media provide new tools for examining our world, new competitors for reporting about that world, and new reminders to the press establishment that markets really do work — and people want better than they´re getting.
To highlight Snow's speech, the complete numbers for the top 25 newspapers are as follows:
Total Paid Daily Circulation, Monday through Friday average