Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Gilded Monument to Journalistic Vanity Crumbles Before Us


There was a time when the American News Media was who most of the world looked to for the best example of unvarnished truth as could be had. But then came the advent of 24 Hr. news broadcast and with it the rise of the overly self-important media reporters, high payed on-air talking heads celebrities and an undeniable political bias.  So when we see such arrogant people who deem themselves higher then us because they, and they only hold the cup of truth, can we not feel a bit triumphant when they stumble and fall into a pile of their own excrement?

Standing just a half-mile from the U.S. Capitol  is the grand monument to journalistic vanity called 'The Newseum", a seven-level 470,000-square-foot grandiose palace with a facade constructed from 50 tons of Tennessee marble. It commemorates the news business with 60,000-plus baubles and artifacts from the trade. Its owner, the Freedom Forum Foundation, spent $450 million building its palace of journalism in 2008.  But the FFF has hoisted its flag of surrender in the form of a press release. The Newseum owners can no longer afford to subsidize the palace with their endowment's money, and are having to explore plans to sell the building.

Dubbed by even the Washington Post as 'A Slow Motion Disaster", for the hefty price of $24.95 a head you won't get to witness such historical media exhibits such as a 5,000 year old cuneiform clay tablet announcing Sargon I ascension to the Throne, oh no.  But what you will get to see is the Watergate break-in door, props and costumes from the movie 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy', a mock-up of Tim Russert’s office, posters and reporters’ notebooks from the Ferguson protests, Andy Rooney‘s typewrite, a Boston Globe reporter’s running shoes, hundreds of press passes, and for some strange reason, even Bono’s jacket, and much more.

The museum has posted an annual deficit of between 2 and 9 million a year since it opened, even as it has paid hefty salaries to its operators and top executives. But what the hey, it's Washington DC, where it's all about spending other peoples money. Right?

The only thing the Newseum really has going for it is its daily collection of front pages from around the country. Do you need a $450 million building to do that?

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