Archives for November 2016
In an editorial piece this a.m., the Star published an editorial from this day in 1941 by then editor and publisher William R. Mathews, who predicted the Pearl Harbor attack two weeks before it happened.
In its introduction, today’s Star said Mathews bought the paper in 1924. In fact, he bought it in partnership with Ralph Ellinwood.
Ellinwood’s father E.E. Ellinwood loaned Mathews most of the money for him to leave the Santa Barbara Press.
Mathews’ responsibility was to manage the Star’s business. He had been successful at the Press. Ralph Ellinwood
was a liberal who wanted a newspaper in the worst way. His father was willing to give him one but not without
a smart businessman’s partner. They bought the Star from Phelps Dodge, which had made the paper a shill for the copper
business. EE Ellinwood was attorney for the company.
Sadly, Ralph Ellinwood died in 1930. Mathews then declared himself editor and publisher. He wrote editorials,
at least one a day. They were often prescient like the prediction of Pearl Harbor.
Sometimes they light heartedly supported the barber shops $15-cent increase for a haircut.
Mathews’ collection at the UA library contains correspondence between Mathews and Secretary Cordell Hull as well
as many other notable international figures. He was present on the USS Missouri with MacArthur when the Japanese signed the unconditional surrender/
Here is a piece from four years ago that appeared on this blog. The Star tends to look back on its editorials these days because it doesn’t
hardly ever write any of its own because it is afraid taking a stance would irritate its ever-disappearing readers, a position Mathews would have found
abhorrent, irresponsible and cowardly:
William R. Mathews, the Star’s curmudgeon editor and gifted editorial writer
November 22, 2012 by admin 3 Comments (Edit)
The Arizona Daily Star today (Nov. 22) ran an editorial (read it here) that first was published on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 23) 1961. The newspaper did not say who the writer was, but I think I recognize the direct clarity of style and thought as being that of William R. Mathews.
Mathews was a professional curmudgeon, otherwise engaged as editor and publisher of The Arizona Daily Star from 1930 until his death in 1969. It was said one could not get elected dog catcher without Mathews’ approval.
It might have been true. He played politics full time, locally, statewide and on a national basis. He seemed to have a direct pipeline to the State Department. He predicted the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor two weeks before it happened. He was aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo harbor when the Japanese surrendered.
He was a gifted writer as the editorial shows. It surprises me that he was so good. He also was incredibly productive; his editorials appeared everyday even when he traveled so extensively. I imagine he never dreamed he would write editorials for a living.
Mathews fought in the Great War, and was a hero, capturing Germans and winning the Croix de Guerre. He was the business manager of a Santa Barbara newspaper when fate beckoned, and he accepted a position at the Star for 2 percent ownership. In return for the small interest in the paper, Mathews was to watch over the paper’s business affairs, a sort of ballast to Ralph Ellinwood who was editor by virtue of the fact his father bought the paper for him. His father, E. E. Ellinwood, was an attorney for Phelps Dodge.
Ralph Ellinwood was by all accounts a good editor. He was a graduate of Columbia’s School of Journalism and had worked for the Sacramento Union. He, too, had fought in World War I and spent time in a German prison camp. Ellinwood died young in 1930 after only a few years in charge of the Star. Ownership fell to Ellinwood’s widow, Clare, and Mathews. He ran the editorial operations. Mrs. Ellinwood played a part in management.
There’s very little to commemorate Mathews’ contribution to the city. There’s a small plaque with his bust in relief outside the entrance to the UA School of Medicine. He was the driving force behind the UA medical school, having campaigned personally and in print to bring it here.
Mathews carried out Ralph Ellinwood’s desire to establish the liberal tone to the Star’s editorials. Thus he is among the first to blame for the Star’s alleged reputation as The Red Star.
The French have their own Trump. She is Marine Le Pen, the head of the right-wing National Front party. She’s pleased as punch with Trump’s victory. The New York Times quoted her as saying:
“It’s the emergence of a new world. “It’s the end of the 20th century.”
Actually, it seems more like the 20th century all over again, beginning with January 30, 1933. In Berlin. A couple months before the Reichstag fire. Five years before Kristollnacht.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
— George Santayana
It’s amazing that the national press reported that Trump fired Jersey Gov. Chris Christie from his transition team, but never said why. They dutifully reported that Christie was implicated, but never charged, in the Bridgegate affair. But nothing else. The NY Times came closest:
Two people familiar with the reorganization discussion said Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, had wanted to marginalize Mr. Christie, who had come to recognize that he was not in the running to serve as a top adviser in Mr. Trump’s White House. It was unclear whether concerns about his ability to be confirmed might prevent him from being offered a cabinet post.
Doubtful that Christie’s confirmation prospects had anything to do with it. Kushner has every reason to want to “marginalized” Christie. In April, Politico reported that Christie put Jared Kushner’s father in jail. Jared Kushner is now part of Trump’s inner circle, which isn’t big enough the NJ guv and the son-in-law. It’s a safe bet that Jared Kushner loathes Christie.
It is said that newspaper’s editorial page is its conscience.
The Star, you may have noticed, had naught to say about the presidential election, before or after. I would suppose this means the Star has no conscience. Its reluctance to support or oppose either candidate reflects the Star’s fear that taking a position would drive readers away.
The Star, like all newspapers, is the only business that enjoys a place in the First Amendment. It is said that as such the Star has a responsibility to a free press.
On the contrary: The First Amendment means the Star is free to be a cowering, chicken-shit enterprise whose only interest is profit.
In one of the opening scenes of the 1940 Hitchcock movie Foreign Correspondent, a New York newspaper publisher is scanning his newspaper for war news. There are stories relating to the war, but he mutters, “No news.” He calls his editor and asks who is the best cop reporter. He sends that reporter — Joel McCrea — to Europe.
I thought of that publisher last night as I watched the broadcast of NBC News the day after possibly the most important presidential election of the century, perhaps in history.
There wasn’t a lick of news. There were excerpts from Trump’s speech, from Clinton’s speech, from Obama. There was a piece on what a surprise. There was a report of unhappy voters. There was a segment on the new first family (humdinger there). And there was the obligatory segment on how we make nice in presidential transition, Trump’s spite and contempt notwithstanding.
There was nothing explaining how the frigging American press got it wrong, why the polls were wrong about Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan or why it was constantly reported that Trump had no clear path to 270 votes.
There was nothing about how much was spent on the polls, how they were conducted, not a breath of how years ago Arrianna Huffington poked holes in how polls were taken.
In 1990, Nicaragua held a presidential election. National polls reported Daniel Ortega, hero of the Sandinista war, would win in a landslide. He lost in a landslide. Violeta Chamorro, his nemesis and ideological opponent served as president for seven years. Poll respondents lied.
And it seems possible that poll respondents in the 2016 U.S. election also lied.
In its extended coverage of the election aftermath Wednesday, NPR spent most of its time chatting about what Trump said he would do if he were elected and whether he would actually do it. Now there’s a noose service for you, worse than an empty suit, a vacuous exercise in shit think.
It might be news if someone reported what it would take to restore manufacturing jobs in the United States. That is to say how Trump would accomplish his goal. It might be news if some alleged news outlet discussed what would happen if the North American Free Trade Agreement were declared null and void. Much of that information is available at your one-stop Libertarian stronghold, the Cato Institute, which for decades now has argued that all barriers to foreign workers should be dropped and worldwide labor should be allowed to flow freely.
Chump/Trump has been allowed to shovel horse pucky for 18 months without serious, thoughtful challenge. Someone has to point out to those legions of deluded rural red-state voters that what they want is impossible, that time travel exists only in Hollywood imagination, and the Happy Days of the 1950s will never return.
It seems that the same may be true of serious news reporting. There are so few news organizations that practice it that it can be labeled an endangered endeavor. The press is the only business sanctified by the First Amendment. It used to be considered a sacred responsibility. But no more. It has been lost, floating in the ether of dwindling corporate profits, corporate governance and other financial evil. It is, I fear, about to join the Dodo bird.
I am always surprised by roses in November. After they have gone through the punishment of June, they bounce back with the desert fall, lovely as spring.
This column by David Fitzsimmons: Clickith aqui
I should add — as I have been a critic — that today’s edition of the Arizona Daily Star was interesting and well-edited.
Today the Star chooses to highlight on Page One — the most important story, allegedly — the All Souls procession that will take place in three days. This is an important story because it is about marching. It is also about the dead. There are, if you have not already surmised, many dead people. Presumably they do not read the paper and won’t be marching. When it comes to the Star, however, they may make an exception and take in the deathly prose. They — the dead, that is — should be honored sometimes. Usually we do that when they die. But then Nov. 2 was the DAY OF THE DEAD. That’s a time to remember those who have kicked the bucket and to go to the cemetery and dine with the dead. November 6, the day of the dead march, also marks the temporary death of Daylight Savings and the birthday of Emma Stone, who is not dead. It’s also Ethan Hawke’s birthday, who isn’t dead either, but nonetheless gives deadening performances.
But back to today: The paper noted in a deadly dull story on Page one below the fold that some cancer drugs pose “rare heart risks.” There’s another story below the fold that says Hillary Clinton’s appearance in Tempe was one of her biggest yet.
That was news.
Please note that at the top of the Star’s alleged editorial page, there is a label “editorial page.”
This is a lie.
There are no editorials. In the place where you might think an editorial might be, there’s a columnist from the Washington Post. She does not represent the view of the newspaper. The paper has no views. It is afraid of views because it is afraid of offending somebody. It has not occurred to the intellectual giants running the paper that some readers might be offended that it has no editorial page. It would be good to change the label to the “noneditorial page.”
Meanwhile, one wonders if the fear of being offensive might account for the fact that in the last 10 years 49,996 daily Star subscribers have quit the paper. Sunday circulation over the same period has dropped 54,099.
Maybe some change is in order?