21 April 2007


I made the mistake this afternoon of flipping through a newspaper left on the subway. Worse, the paper was the worst of the Toronto rags.

I found an editorial in which the editor of this fishwrap defends his decision to put full front page pictures of the killer for most of last week, with huge lettered headlines, like "The Devil's Manifesto", or the number of dead, like it was a videogame score. The editor defended his paper's decision to put this on the front as opposed to anything about the victims because "why a killer does it is news." The lives of the victims is news only in Virginia, he claimed. It was the right news decision for Toronto. He also mentioned that people had accused him of running headlines in this manner in order to boost sales. He did not address this in his editorial.

Now let me explain why I never buy newspapers, nor do I watch news on tv.

A newspaper is, first and foremost, a business, and the purpose of any business is to make money. As is well known, newspapers do not make much money from selling newspapers. They make the majority of their money through advertising. This means the paper you buy is not- repeat, not- the foremost product of the company. Their main product is, in fact, you. To repeat, what a newspaper is selling is not news to readers, but readers to advertisers. To put it another way, when you buy a newspaper, in fact you are being sold to advertisers. (When you turn on the tv the same thing happens, except in most places you don't pay anything to watch tv.)

I am not a product and I will not be sold by anyone to anyone, especially not by morally vacuous editors who could write such a defence of their paper's disgusting stand.

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