A month ago we asked ourselves, “Are We Done?” Turns out… Yes, we are.
Madison’s last surviving daily newspaper is shrinking year after year. That’s a bad thing for Madison, bad for Dane county, bad for the region. Meanwhile, that same shrinking newspaper’s editorial page often blunders and postures and diminishes the larger organization’s chances of survival. It’s not a business plan we understand.
We used to comment on that puzzle, but now, we’ve apparently lost motivation to comment further. Even major blunders on the editorial page — howlers that in the past would surely have provoked us to sit down and write something — now just come and go.
We’ve seen maladroit handling of many an issue by the State Journal editorial page. This one for example. The part that’s just anti-labor screed is entirely predictable (the State Journal doesn’t care for unions, and the parent company, Lee, actually operates a website opposing unionization at any of its subsidiaries), but for the Wisconsin State Journal to charge that every elected body of local government — city, county, and school board (all three, in a single smear) — is in thrall to labor unions is an outrageous and undeserved insult. And then… as if that weren’t enough, the editorial goes on to cite the NFL referee lockout (a strategy that had already exploded in a nationally televised stinkbomb when the Packers played the Seahawks) as an example of how labor negotiations are supposed to work??? It was amazingly dumb. We mean AMAZING.
But even so, we just sighed, lightly. That’s when we knew we were done.
There’s a world of good analysis elsewhere… serious stuff, informative, insightful, and surprising. There’s an even bigger world of amusements to spend time with. Why lose an hour writing about something that’s just fundamentally not that interesting? For a while we thought we had some answer. As it turns out, we don’t. Probably never did.
OK, that’s it. Unplug the jukebox. Empty the cash register. This joint is closed.