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'The press is as dead as a hammer'

DISCUSSIONS | May 25, 2006

Bob Lancaster

1972 Nieman fellow; columnist, Arkansas Times, Little Rock

I don’t have any practical suggestions because the old proud sentinel press that I loved and cherished is dead as a hammer. It expired, perhaps of pure embarrassment, during the great Clinton lynching bee. It was replaced by a gang of jingoes with no talent and no understanding or appreciation of the press’ historic role. As with book publishing, there are no editors worth a damn, and that’s what hurts most.

It was sad for a while but society has to move on, or stagger on, without the old guiding light. Our most trenchant political and press critic is now a TV comedian, and retired generals provide our only worthwhile war criticism. We are reduced to handing out Pulitzers as a kind of donation to hurricane relief. There’s no helping a situation like that. At least that’s my opinion. I could be wrong.

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