Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"We're in the last year of reading the daily newspaper."

Posted by Google on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 7:12 PM

During a presser for his upcoming documentary Capitalism: A Love Story at the Toronto International Film Festival, filmmaker Michael Moore offered his take on the newspaper industry — which, according to Moore, is surely dead  within the next couple of years. Moore, with a David Simon name drop, argues that without an education system promoting (with more than adequate funding) basic reading comprehension, newspapers are doomed:

We live in a nation of 40 million functional illiterates: that's 40 million adults who cannot read and write above a fourth grade or fifth grade level. We have another probably 40 million adults who can read and write above a fourth grade level but don't have the comprehension beyond that very much. So if you have literally that many tens of millions of adults who either can't read and write above a fourth and fifth grade level or can't comprehend what they do read, you've created a nation of people who are not going to be reading the newspapers.

... we have made education such a low priority in the United States. And what party has led the way? The Republican Party. Every convention they have a thing in their platform about dismantling the Department of Education. ... In the 17 elections between 1940 and 2004, the majority of American newspapers endorsed the Republican candidate for President 14 of the 17 elections. 14 of the 17 elections the majority of American papers ... endorsed the party that was going to cut back on the very thing that their readers needed in order to read the newspaper, which was literacy and education. ... It would be like General Motors funding candidates who promised to get rid of Driver Education. As dumb as General Motors is, what car company would support the elimination of Driver Education, and yet America's newspapers in 14 of the 17 elections between 1940 and 2004 supported the candidate that would guarantee their ruination."

Many speculate potential solutions for saving newspapers, but obviously, none are more fundamental than supporting education in generating interest among students to participate (and be able to actually read). But his big push in his argument is that capitalism has driven the long-coming nail into the daily newspaper ("it is capitalism that has taken our daily newspapers from us"), a nudge to his new doc which early reviews suggest is more of skewer than roast.

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