The local paper, once a part of the community, is now part of the problem

Well, I did it.

I cancelled my subscription to the South Bend Tribune.

With many apologies to my Tribune buddies, mostly to the ones who are still working there, I just got tired of it.

I have been reading the Tribune faithfully for almost 60 years. As a teen-ager, I learned a lot about sports from According to Doyle and Woody’s Weekly Winners. As an adult, I was a part-time sportswriter, back when the Tribune was locally owned.

I loved the opportunity to sit and read the “mostly considered” opinions and news stories on lazy Saturday mornings and (earlier) afternoons. It was and still is part of my DNA.

However, news is now packaged differently. I started losing interest when I was covering Notre Dame football in my early 50s and the “kids” next to me were tweeting out their stories in real time. 

News, I decided, had become rumor-mongering, and it seemed no one noticed but me.

Then, with the advent of the Rush Limbaughs, the Sean Hannitys, and the Don Lemons of the world, broadcast “news” became straight-out lying. News had become a divisive way of controlling people’s minds. 

For a time, the print media remained a place where you knew facts and opinions were separate things.

However, when the Tribune was bought out by USA Today, and when the sports stories were in the paper two days after the fact, and when my “daily paper” quit being delivered “daily” because of the mismanagement of the traditional paperboy system,  I decided that was it.

So, I called up the Tribune, spoke to someone who I am pretty sure was not from South Bend, and reported that I was leaving, they naturally wanted to know why.

I told them.

I doubt anyone other than the young man who took my report will ever see those reasons. Instead, the MBAs at USA Today will put their own twist on what happened and the print media will have another foot in the inevitable grave to which it is headed.

I will grieve for the loss of the Tribune. It once was full of local news. It was full of local people. It was full of local heritage. In short, it was a common connecting point. Part of the community. Something to talk about with my buddies over breakfast.

Now, I will have to figure out another way to stay connected, or I might just disconnect. I have yet to decide. 

As one of my friends once said, “All news is local news.”  I happen to agree with that statement. But factual news is going away and being replaced with slanted opinion. My Hannity friends quote the guy as if he is God at times. There is little room for thought in those people. 

Same with the Lemonheads.

Democracy is a gray area. Always has been, always will be. The Tribune used to be where I read the nuances in the news, where I got carefully considered opinions based on research and deep thought. 

The Rush Limbaughs of the world came along with their right/wrong approach and stole the eyes and ears of the non-thinkers.

The same approach has been destroying the print media. Where the thinkers actually live.

I hate to admit this, but the Hannitys are winning.

And America, as we know it, is in big trouble.