>The Local Newpaper and Its Red Ink

>There is a short scene [see it here] at the end of the HBO movie Conspiracy–a historical recreation of the 1942 Wannsee Conference, in which Nazi and SS leaders gathered in a Berlin suburb to discuss the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”–where Reinhard Heydrich [Kenneth Branagh] retells a story, relayed to him Dr. Wilhelm Kritzinger [David Threlfall], about a man whose life was defined by a father he hated. When the father passed, the man felt empty because he realized that he had allowed the hatred of his father to define his life.

A great movie btw, read about it here. See the actual notes to the 1942 Nazi Conference at Wannsee, here. It is amazing to read the matter of fact tone of the minutes to the conference. As someone who works with numbers, what most effectively captured the Nazi’s evil zeal to me was the fact that, in recapping the Jewish population [over 11 million] by country, they bother to note that 200 were in Albania and that Estonia was ‘free of Jews.’ I came across this movie review by Miles Watson on Amazon, which picks up on that ‘bureaucratic’ angle:

Mandel’s script gets to the heart of the mentality behind the Holocaust, which was that despite being at war with the British Empire, the Soviet Union and the United States of America, despite being outnumbered 6 to 1 in manpower and 20 to 1 in industrial capacity, despite fighting on multiple fronts and lacking most of the natural resources necessary for war, and despite the unspoken consequences to themselves and their country’s reputation if they lost the war and their ‘secret’ was exposed, the mentality of WWII Germany was still open to the idea of diverting massive resources into slaughtering defenseless civilians by the millions. If that isn’t the bureaucratic blindness from hell, what is?

I thought of that movie, and that scene specifically, when I read of the Miami Herald’s financial troubles. If you follow local news and have opinions, the Miami Herald can’t help but have disappointed you on more than one occasion. They are the dominant voice in Miami. It is easy for those of us who criticize them to appear to consider them as some kind of enemy. They are not in any real sense. They represent exactly what we wish for in countries which lack freedom, like Cuba, an independent voice.

If you are a political conservative like me, they have frequently been on the other side of issues, but nothing extreme. [Although the threatened resignations over the endorsement of Reagan in 1984–not 1980, 1984!–still gnaws]. They have consistently been within the left of center position held by most major newspapers in the U.S. Their editorial policy on Cuba has even broken with the orthodoxy on the Left. Until recently, the Herald has been pro-embargo and consistently critical of the Cuban regime’s human rights abuses.

So the prospects of the Miami Herald closing down is unfortunate, not because I would be left for want of an enemy, but because they are an important part of our community–like a MLB stadium [could not help myself]. However, it won’t be easy. Tech innovator Marc Andreessen has been outspoken about the need for media companies to abandon the physical newspaper. I would prefer to have a local paper more in line with my views, but that desire does not prevent me from hoping the Herald survives.

Now when one of the Castro brothers buys the state-owned farm, then I will feel empty. For about 15 seconds, then I’m out the door, Celia Cruz on the ipod, a slow [my only option] and enjoyable jog past Miami Senior High on the agenda. That’s a signpost up ahead, our next stop, Versailles.

About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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