the kicker

Damning With Absurd Praise

September 19, 2011

Check out the comments in Adweek by Gannett’s new chief marketing officer about the company’s flagship newspaper, USA Today. Maryam Banikarim says that the paper was “never trying to compete with The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal,” as USA Today‘s readers are “not focused on being elitist,” then proceeds to deliver the familiar hogwash about giving consumers what they want rather than what they need. That’s right, give America’s proudly ill-informed public as superficial a report as possible on anything of consequence, swaddle it in the manufactured drama, bogus trends, and consumer-driven news-you-can use that is cheap to produce and easy to swallow, and we’ll all go sanguinely down the drain together.

The kicker? “This is a newspaper,” says Banikarim,”that is almost like a morning show.”

Brent Cunningham is CJR’s managing editor.