Growing by the Bay

The San Francisco Chronicle is still brain dead

I suppose there is some comfort in knowing that some things never change. More than thirty years ago, in the movie All the President’s Men, Jason Robards as WaPo’s Ben Bradlee dismissed a proposal for a feature recapping yesterday’s weather for people who were too drunk to remember it by saying “Try selling it to the San Francisco Chronicle, they need it.”

Since then the Chronicle was bought by — or merged, with, I forget the official line — the Examiner. It was, in any case, a sham deal that made both papers worse.

In 2003 I cancelled my Chronicle subscription out of frustration over their coverage of the build-up to the Iraq war (an ineffectual protest, since as a newspaper junky I usually buy it off the racks, God knows why).

Today the Chronicle reaffirms its commitment to wrong-headed editorial decisions. What is the top news of today? Let’s see what Google News is picking up from papers around the nation and world:

mumbai attacks

Yep, it’s the Mumbai attacks, in which more than 115 160 people were killed and more than 300 370 injured. You know, the ones that presage new terrorist tactics, raise tensions between two nuclear powers, and threaten to destabilize the South Asian region and damage American interests and influence there.

Most papers have this as their lead, or at least the second story on their front page (I admit I haven’t check all 7,255 news articles picked up by GN). Where is it in the Chronicle? Let’s see (rummage, rummage . . .) Ah, here it is — on page 19.

The Chronicle‘s lead story on page one is about a land use law that Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into law in September. Its other front page stories are about an oral history project, an increase in charity Thanksgiving meals, and stores that are reviving layaway plans.

I don’t understand this paper.



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  1. Nancy

    Not drinking the Chron Kool Aide, eh? I stopped subscribing ages ago and now, read it on line while supplementing my news du jour with the webs bounty. What’s happening to news papers is a disaster, albeit a rather self-inflicted one.

  2. oh the mumbai attacks, i remember drinking coffee at home when the news broke… my jaw just dropped…

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