Re April 28 column by Mande Wilkes, “Only old people read the newspaper”
“My hunch is that most of you reading the newspaper are naive. You’re the ones who still believe that cops can’t be corrupted, that soldiers won’t lie, that journalists won’t sit on stories, and that Publishers Clearing House really might show up at your door.”
Mande, we do believe that most of the time, because:
• Most of the time, cops can’t be corrupted, even though they face a lot more temptation than most of us because of who and what they have to deal with daily, in order to provide protection for the rest of us. And they do it at the risk of their own lives.
• Most of the time, soldiers don’t lie – certainly not as much as the general population. Because soldiers, particularly combat veterans, have learned the hard way that when soldiers lie, their buddies can die.
• Most of the time, journalist won’t sit on stories – ask Woodward and Bernstein about that. In fact, they do it less so now than they did back in our day. Do you think John Kennedy could be elected today?
• And although, most of the time, Publishers Clearing House won’t show up at our door, we old folks remember enough of our ’Rithmatic to know it’s possible, even if it isn’t a good retirement plan.
We read the newspaper because that’s where we’ve always gotten our news and because, flawed though it may be, there is a degree of checking for the truth in newspapers that doesn’t exist in Twitter or Facebook or forwarded email. The difference between the newspaper and online “sources” is the difference between “letters to the editor” and the front page.
And those of us who have experienced WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the civil rights battles and Watergate have had most of our naivete bludgeoned out of us.
So, Mande, we’ll keep reading our newspaper, believing it a better news source that than what comes to us online – even it it does occasionally publish some thoughtless commentary like your recent column. Because experience has taught us that, most of the time, you’ll do better.