Why Newspapers Matter
Especially If You Vote And You Should Vote


Leonard Zwelling

         It is said that you can marry more money in a minute than
you can make in a lifetime. Well, you can also buy more influence with an
attorney general over a weekend than you can through lobbying an entire
legislative body over a year. And that’s the latest trend in “government for

recently posted a blog about the manner in which ISIS treated its Western
captors and the government fumbling of the Ebola crisis. Most of what I related
was derived from extended articles in the NY Times. The next day in the Times a
huge piece appeared by Eric Lipton about the lobbying of state attorneys
general. This heavily researched article based on the acquisition of emails under
the Freedom of Information Act is frightening for it shows that even the top
law enforcement officials in entities as large as states are for purchase on
the auction block to the highest bidder. I know, I know, why am I still
surprised? I am not really, but this type of investigative journalism can only
be done with the support of newspapers by readers.

the piece. Worth a look:


the same issue of the Times, Thomas L. Friedman adds to his list of insightful
observations when he compares the current American position in the Middle East,
vis a vis, ISIS, with the American position in a past region of conflict, Vietnam.
In both instances he argues that the US misidentified what was essentially a
nationalist struggle for self-determination as one targeting the US in some
nefarious way. Whether the corrupt South Vietnamese government of the 1960s or
the Sunni-excluded government in Iraq led by the Shiite Nuri al-Maliki are our
putative friends, those we view as our enemies (North Vietnam or ISIS)
primarily have a beef with forces on the ground who were trying to keep them
out of the reigning government. Whether communism in Vietnam or jihadism in the
Middle East, the populations representing these forces are more opposed to
their fellow countrymen denying them participation in determining the future
direction of the country than they are with destroying the US. There would be
far more Americans now if 58,000 had not died in Southeast Asia and there would
be more than enough money (and personnel) to deal with Ebola and the health
care crisis in America if we had not invaded Iraq.

makes the point that separating ISIS’s jihadist threat to America from its
nationalist drive in Iraq and Syria will be a tough trick, but a necessary one if
we are not to be bogged down in another fight that is both unwinnable and not
ours, despite having precipitated it with our unprovoked invasion under Bush 43.

well-researched and well-considered newspaper articles cannot be remotely
equaled by any other media form, electronic or otherwise. Books are great for
history and video great for immediacy, but for thoughtful regard of current
issues without the requisite accompanying pre-reading web site ads, there is
nothing like a newspaper. They truly are the first-draft of history. They
represent to history what journals do for science. Would you rather get your
science from a journal or from a textbook? The same is true here. History books
are important, but to form your own opinion, read a newspaper.

support yours by subscribing and reading it, too. Write letters to the editor
and op-ed pieces if you are so inclined. Don’t be discouraged if they reject
what you write.  Keep trying.

have voted a lot of times since 1972 when I was first eligible. I have voted
for far more losers than winners. But I ALWAYS vote. And I never feel better
about being an American than I do when I leave the polling place.

can turn over an entire government in one day without firing a shot. It’s a
miracle that I still cannot believe (especially after seeing the government in
action in DC).

to vote more intelligently, one needs the newspaper not more TV ads. Besides,
the TV ads don’t have Dilbert and where else can you learn that the place in
which you work is just as crazy as the one where everyone else does!

don’t miss all my pointy-headed bosses. Sorry about yours.

Leonard Zwelling