Michael Kinsley, writing about decline and fall.
Some evil force is causing people to stop reading newspapers! Newspaper circulation figures, which had been drifting decorously downward for years, have started to plummet. At the current rate of decline, the last newspaper subscriber will hang up on a renewal phone call that interrupts dinner on Oct. 17, 2016. And then it will be over.
Among his recommendations to save the industry is that the government should establish
a program of newspaper circulation supports. These would be similar to the agricultural price supports that have preserved a treasured American lifestyle (working from dawn to dusk seven days a week, except for a few brief hours a day down at the diner complaining about big government and welfare chiselers). By paying newspaper publishers not to publish newspapers, the government can reduce the dangerous excess supply and preserve the beloved journalistic lifestyle (drinking at lunch, ruining the reputations of innocent Republican politicians and filling out expense reports).
He also proposes the establishment of a Strategic Newspaper Reserve.
As with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the government would buy vast quantities of newspapers on the open market and store them somewhere for a rainy day (when they can be delivered sopping wet, as the newspaper industry prefers whenever possible). One possible location for the reserve might be my mother’s apartment, where there are already neat piles of newspapers dating back to Watergate that she is going to get to soon. (If you go to inspect the reserve, please don’t tell her how the 2000 election came out. She wants to be surprised.)
Lovely stuff. Reminds me of the young Michael Frayn.