Newspapers pay people to sit through endless city-council and land-use-planning and legislative-committee hearings, enduring the sausage-making process that is modern government. These reporters tell readers what’s going on and — when they’re at their journalistic best — what it all means. They take the trouble to analyze court decisions and search government records and decipher regulatory filings and pore through leaks from public-spirited civil servants.
They don’t get every story right, and they’re often captives of their sources. But even reporters who are lazy or incompetent or hopelessly compromised provide an irreplaceable service. They keep self-government possible, perhaps even manageable, at a time when the state is growing ever larger and more difficult to understand.
Meantime, my former boss Vincent Carroll and colleague Mike Littwin take on Jared Polis for gloating about the Rocky's collapse.
My piece went to NRO on Sunday, before reports about Polis' victory dance became public. But Littwin had the same reaction to Polis as me.
Polis ... issued an apology Tuesday to "anyone who was offended."
It's the typical, politician's, old- media-style, non-apology apology, in which he apologizes for, uh, getting caught saying what he really thinks.
As for Vincent, he notes what is not exactly the reaction you'd expect from an elected official in these circumstances:
If Polis welcomes newspapers' demise, so be it. If he had a particular grudge against the Rocky, who cares at this point? His comments Saturday and his damage control this week are disturbing not for what they say about his media tastes but rather because of what they reveal about his character.
When people lose their jobs, the normal human reaction is one of compassion. When a politician's constituents lose their jobs — and a number of former Rocky staffers do live in the 2nd District — the obligatory reaction is one of concern.
Polis revealed no trace of either emotion in his remarks at the Net- roots Nation in Your Neighborhood event in Westminster. In fact, he seemed to giggle — or smirk out loud — on a couple of occasions in referring to the Rocky's death. And he never so much as noted the human consequences of the closure.
Then there's Jeffrey Goldberg's post at The Atlantic:
I don't know too many Democrats who think that the death of a newspaper is a positive development for society. And by the way, "All of us" are the new media? I'd like to read the investigations of government corruption produced by "all of us." I imagine there are many journalists -- and advocates of government accountability -- wishing for the death of Polis's congressional career right about now.