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The Manhattan Declaration and the MSM

Tuesday, November 24, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

More than 78,000 have signed the Manhattan Declaration in four days.

A 12 paragraph story on the Declaration appeared on page A 22 of the New York Times on November 20. (Two of those paragraphs were devoted to a critic.)

The “I’m not dead” Los Angeles Times has not covered it, but no doubt columnist Tim Rutten will be along any day now to denounce it as unfairly representing the views of the Catholic Church though of course it has about a dozen bishops as signatories.

Newspapers are dying of many causes, but surely one is the refusal to cover in a serious way the serious conversations in the culture. Newsrooms simply don’t have many reporters aware of much less sympathetic to the tens of thousands of people signing the Manhattan Declaration, so its importance goes uncovered. Those who know of it or who will learn of it from alternative means like my radio show –I had Chuck Colson and Summit Ministries’ John Stonestreet on yesterday to discuss it– will rightly conclude that that which they are interested in doesn’t interest the editors of the newspapers they are asked to subscribe to. The result is the continued growth in the disinterest in a product that is wholly disinterested in the customer.

It isn’t that hard to find the stories that might attract a wider readership from cultural traditionalists, but the crusaders of the left holed up in their ever-smaller staffs on their ever more insignificant newspapers don’t want to make the effort or even acknowledge the existence of the majoritarian belief set.

The ad revenue stats don’t lie. Most newspapers will be dead within a few years. Even as their demise grew more andmore obvious they didn’t even try to return to the basic fairness that might have broadened their appeal.

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