Once upon a time there were two (yes, two) local newspapers in our town, Madison, Wisconsin. One tended Republican, the other Democratic. Once upon a time, those newspapers were reasonably healthy competitors (and come to think of it, so were the political parties).  That was decades ago. Things changed. The conditions that closed newsrooms all over America began to take a toll. The newspaper which had once arrived with a satisfying “thud” grew frail (and come to think of it, so did that thing we used to call “the public dialog”). Broadcast news, being expensive, was put on a morphine drip where it was intended to die, and it did. CNN came and went for the same reason – too expensive, too informative. Where’s the benefit in that? And now in the new century the local newspapers are wasting away.

The morning paper flutters quietly into the driveway… like a kleenex.  We took to calling it “the daily tissue” – so small and inconsequential — and godawful on its editorial page. It was less fun for the dog to fetch.