Not long ago, in an ill-advised moment of levity, I posted, on the website of The New Criterion, a brief but less than somber account of the latest from the doom-sayers who are predicting the imminent demise of the newspaper business in this country. In doing so, I regret any impression I may have given of not being so respectfully grief-stricken as I might have been at the prospective loss of so many distinguished journalistic citizens. In retrospect, I can see that it was highly insensitive to take as my title what Paul Starr, one of the viewers-with-alarm, warned those of us who, like me, were “angry with the mainstream media” not to say: namely, “Let the bastards suffer.” It was also probably unacceptably flippant on my part to have suggested, as I did, that one reason for the parlous state of American newspapers was that they were so boring.

As it happened, none of...

 
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