Tobacco Control’s War on Smokers is largely conducted through the media. And so it is refreshing to read that the UK newspaper industry is in free fall.
EUreferendum’s Richard North comments:
This cannot correctly be called an industry in decline – it is in free fall. It is a dying industry. No enterprise can sustain this level of losses and expect to survive.
I’m not surprised that it’s dying. I used to be a regular newspaper reader. Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent: I’ve read them all at one time or other. I used to read a newspaper every day. A bit like I used to go to the pub every day.
Now I feel that, for the most part, they’re newspapers for people other than despised and excluded smokers like me. So why should I want to read them? And, for that matter, why should I want to watch TV programmes on which smokers are no longer allowed to appear?
The mass media, on which Tobacco Control has a vice-like grip – probably because the advertising revenues from it are so high – has swung in obediently behind the antismoking onslaught. But the result has been that, even though they may keep the income from TC’s antismoking ads and puff pieces, they lose the custom of smokers like me.
I don’t know much about the newspaper industry, but I reckon that advertisers of any sort whatsoever are going to be primarily concerned with the number of readers a newspaper gets, and that are thus likely to notice their adverts. When readership falls, advertisers will walk away. So you first lose readers, and then you lose advertisers, and when you cut costs and lay off reporters and editors and produce an increasingly empty product, you lose even more readers, and it becomes a self-feeding death spiral.
The same probably applies to political parties. Just like the media, the UK’s principal political parties signed up to TC’s War on Smokers (and now drinkers and fat people and other undesirable yucky people). So why should I vote for any of them? And yet it’s voters like me that put political parties into office. And when we stop voting for them, then the political equivalent of advertisers – campaign fund donors – are going to walk away too. Why spend money on political parties that aren’t likely to win office, because they haven’t got enough voters behind them? And that makes it difficult to attract real talent into your party. It’s the same death spiral. And it’s just as likely to lead to the demise of the major political parties as it is to the demise of most of the newspapers.
So, if they’re not reading newspapers, what are people reading instead? Well, blogs like mine, it seems. My readership hasn’t been falling. Here’s the past 17 months hit count since I switched to WordPress (and readership had been climbing steadily on Livejournal before that).
What do people find in my blog? In the first place an angry smoker of the sort who isn’t allowed on TV, and who’s ignored by all the main parties, just like most of my angry readers are. And in the second place they’ll find someone who is both a Global Warming sceptic and a eurosceptic. And thirdly they’ll find someone who’ll actually listen to them and respond to them. And maybe they’ll also find a few other curiosities as well: like my new theory of cell growth and division. You won’t find that in the Independent or on the BBC. In fact, you won’t find it anywhere else at all.
And I’m no different. I read the blogs too. Like DP and Leg-iron, and the above-mentioned EUreferendum, and lots of other ones too. I get most of my news secondhand from blogs. Today’s post is an example of exactly this.
There’s no particular reason why such opinions and ideas should be restricted to blogs – except if they have been excluded from the mass media and from public political discourse. Which is of course exactly what’s been happening. And which is why I write my blog.
One day the mass media and the political parties will realise that, when they got behind Tobacco Control’s Global War on Smokers, they sold their soul to the devil.
And what else is it when national institutions of one kind or other (and the medical establishment is another one) declare war on a quarter of their adult population?
As far as I am concerned, they can all go to the devil.