The Washington Post is trying to sell Newsweek Magazine because it lost $28 million last year, with circulation down more than a third since 2000. A journalism professor explains that a mass circulation publication is “just not going to cut it in this highly niched, politically polarized, media-stratified environment that we live in today.” (NYT, 5-6-10)
The Times writer, Stephanie Clifford, comments, “The notion of a cultural common ground that Americans could all share was changing.” Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham observed that “national coherence was still a worthwhile goal...There are not that many common denominators left.”
You said it! We had better figure what we have in common, speaking of Americans and of the rest of humanity as well. May I suggest security as the common ground - security from war, from terrorism, from Weapons of Mass Destruction, from environmental disaster. Plenty of people would agree - question is, do they have enough civic, political spirit and gumption to act on it, to get beyond the supplication of sign holding and marching and reach for power that can counter the vested interests in mayhem.
On display at this very moment are ratification of START and progress on non-proliferation. The nuclear targeted populations have projected no effective voice about Senate ratification or about the NPT five year review conference, though lives by the million, and civilization itself hangs in the balance.
If targeted populations exercised the survival instincts that they would exercise if they were hunted animals in a forest, which they are beginning to resemble, their clamor would batter down every political, monetary, ideological, and historical block to replacing the world of war with a world of enforced law. They might even discover they still needed common sources of news instead of clicking away separately at their favorite web feeds.