Letter writer: Having fun with the media

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Asheville Disclaimer

Throwing down the Gannett-let: Josh Aw-try — the Asheville Citizen-Times’ now former, aw-shucks wunderkind executive editor — periodically gave presentations, trying to explain Gannett’s latest “flavor of the month” strategy for doing “journalism” while gutting and then destructuring (“perestroika”) and misdirecting (“glasnost”) their newsrooms. “I’ll be back again in a few months,” he told a recent gathering. “I’ll get it figured out.” But, having got it figured out, he got “kicked upstairs”* to corporate, leaving everyone else in the dark.

*See “percussive sublimation,” The Peter Principle, Dr. Laurence J. Peter, c. 1969.

Where’s the rest of me? Echoing Ronald Reagan’s cry in the classic film Kings Row, Asheville’s alternative weekly — the Mountain Xpress — appealed to someone —anyone — to please find and restore its long-missing news section.

“We did an in-depth analysis and found that news just wasn’t carrying its weight,” said Jeff Fobes, the paper’s editor and publisher. “City Council and the County Commission don’t buy ads; restaurants and yoga instructors do.” So, what would ordinarily be just the interior, features-arts-culture-lifestyle-beer-entertainment-calendar-classifieds section of a good, muckraking alt-weekly, is now “the whole enchilada,” Fobes explained.

I.P. Daily: Alliterative and proud, Carolina Public Press says it’s “In-Depth, Investigative and Independent.” If only the online-only, Asheville-based, profit-free news organization got any R-E-S-P-E-C-T, confessed Angie Newsome, its founder and primary fund-raiser. “If only I could quit constantly badgering people for their tax-deductible (hint, hint) donations — not to mention to get online and read us,” she said. “Do you know how much it costs to publish on actual paper? Who’s got that kind of dough?” Meanwhile, Dough, Asheville’s former pre-trend-shus deli on Merrimon, closed after only a year or so in business — for lack of dough. Like Katuah Market.

Oby wan: “We’re not pay-for-play!” expostulated Oby Morgan, the publisher of Asheville’s most slickly produced free — and pointless — vanity publication, Capital at Play. “True,” thought the applicant for managing editor. “Local entrepreneurs probably don’t buy a pricey ad in the magazine as an outright ‘quid pro quo’ for an article about them — only in the probably well-founded hope that the fancy rag will get around to doing one in due course.”

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … The Daily Planet: Or is it The Asheville Tribune? Are these twin titans of local print journalism both still around? Do you ever see Clark Kent and Superman in the same place — at the same time? Meanwhile, “If it wasn’t for DIS-respect, I wouldn’t get no respect at all,” warbled the nation’s only avowed post-theist elected official (and the Tribune’s official whipping boy), City Councilman Cecil “Danger Mouse” Bothwell. “And what is the world coming to when an area’s official Tea Party organ is the only paper doing creditable local coverage?” he wondered.

Street-walker-talker: The January/February issue of Sophie included, on page 8, a woman-on-the-street photo feature … [which] meekly? cheekily? eschewed all principles of journalism by reporting subjects’ apparent, baffling “answers” to mostly un-apparent questions, and by not identifying them by at least first name and, perhaps, occupation or … something.

— David Tell
Editor and publisher
Local Fake News publication (out of print)
Bunkum magazine: That’s a lot of bunk

Editor’s note: The original Asheville Disclaimer notes that it is parody/satire, and we are reasonably sure that this aims to be, too.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

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14 thoughts on “Letter writer: Having fun with the media

  1. MMH

    real area ‘news’ is controlled and dispensed by the agenda driven leftwing as they dictate.

    CPP could be a huge force in the region/state with some internal drive to illuminate scandal more than they do.

    • bsummers

      … and other rightwing talking points.

      The AC-T is owned by Gannett and is run out of Greenville SC. They never fail to hammer on the City of Asheville and ignore stories that would embarrass local Republicans. WLOS is a Sinclair station, another conservative corporate owner that would hardly let them go too far off the center-right editorial bias.

      XPress used to be a strong liberal news venue, but the days of major investigations like Cecil Bothwell going after corrupt Sheriff Bobby Medford, are in the past. There are some good folks there, but they tend to keep a careful reign on seeming too ‘lefty’ in their news coverage.

      CPP could be a huge force, if they actually became that agenda-driven leftwing news venue you imagine. But I’m not holding my breath.

      • NFB

        “WLOS is a Sinclair station, another conservative corporate owner that would hardly let them go too far off the center-right editorial bias.”

        Remember when Sinclar required all the stations it owned to broadcast that anti-Kerry “documentary” during the 2004 election?

        • bsummers

          Yes, but they didn’t call for Kerry to be summarily executed for treason, so that makes them too liberal.

  2. boatrocker

    I think Mr. Tell has nailed it- don’t take much Asheville local new seriously. News in general for that matter, though that does beg the question of where an informed citizen gets his objective facts from.

    If the angry right-wing retiree Citizen Times/Walt Kowalski crowd claims the Mtn X 1), does not publish hard news and 2) is some sort of Karl Marx like publication as has often been said, then how is local news controlled by the left?

    In a recent comment on the Commentosphere here, an editor said in so many words (paraphrasing), ‘no, we are a community based mag that leaves repeated local news stories to other publications’. More than fair enough. Therefore, how are they warping the minds of our children by doing, uh, lefty stuff?
    What is lefty stuff?

    Hah- no, forget I said that. Lefty stuff is anything other than polishing your guns. If by scandal you mean McCrory, yes, bring on the scandal articles. I haven’t had this much fun reading local news since Bobby Medford, that poor misunderstood and tortured soul.

    I do miss the actual multi page insert in the Mtn X when the Disclaimer lampooned just about everything before being whittled down to a single page.
    Now when I want satire, I just mush a piece of Silly Putty on either Mtn X or ACT photographs and stretch them out such that they look funny.

    I look forward to future newsiness from Mr. Tell.

  3. MMH

    face it, we exist in an accurate news reporting desert , like remote food deserts. thankfully the internets have enabled the
    smarter ones to catch on better.

    • boatrocker

      And thank goodness that you can repeatedly inform us of this fact without having to actually provide valid sources for scrutiny as that might present a fact checky type problem.

      I look forward to someday wearing my big boy reading pants for news.

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