METAPHOR ALERT: Washington’s Newseum to close by year’s end. “A museum dedicated to journalism and the First Amendment is set to close its doors near the National Mall by the end of the year.”
A decade ago, John Podhoretz dubbed it “The News Mausoleum:”
The Newseum is chock-a-block with television studios, both actual (ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos is now broadcast from it) and pretend (facilities allow visitors to anchor their own “newscasts”). Nonetheless, its true subject is the glorious history of the newspaper and its vital role in American life since the early 1700’s. But herein lies a stark and bitter irony. For the simple fact is that, slogan or no slogan, the news is not coming to life, at least as far as newspapers are concerned.
For newspapers, these are the end times, or something very much like them. Every week provides a new marker on the road to apocalypse: hundreds of layoffs in Los Angeles, circulation scandals in Dallas and Long Island, buyout packages in New York and Washington. Newspaper-circulation numbers are released twice a year, and for the past decade those numbers have charted an uninterrupted downward curve, accelerating at speeds now approaching an avalanche.
Designed as a monument to the daily, the Newseum may in fact be its mausoleum, with the marble First Amendment slab serving as its tombstone.
Perhaps the Newseum could have stayed opened if its gift shop sold items that people wanted to buy. Flashback to last year: Newseum caves to outraged mob of news reporters, removes “Fake News” T-shirts from gift shop.
● Old and Busted: Journalistic Institutions Shouldn’t Cave to Outrage Mobs*.
As “Comfortably Smug” tweets, “Tricking them into cutting off the journo museum’s only source of revenue to own the libs.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Miller wonders if CNN has “doxxed the creator of that T-Shirt yet?”
* Offer still valid whenever conservative journalists are hired, of course.
UPDATE: “Liberal defenders of the press were angrier about a dumb t-shirt being sold at Newseum than a racist being hired by the nation’s preeminent newspaper. And we wonder why public trust in journalism is at an all time low,” conservative radiologist/journalist Pradheep J. Shanker tweets.