Back in June 2008, I wrote a chirpy but snooty post about the Putnam County News and Reporter, a very old-fashioned newspaper in upstate New York with headlines like “Sloop Club Strawberry Festival Serves Up Shortcakes and Sails”. Not long afterwards, a Putnam County resident got in touch to accuse me of trafficking in “negative snark” about a region I didn’t understand. And, on consideration, I decided he was right and wrote a post saying sorry. The following month, I noted that the News and Reporter had been bought on a whim by Roger Ailes, Chairman of Fox News, who had just moved upstate. I quoted this short report on the subject:
The paper will “probably stay the same,” said Elizabeth Ailes, Mr. Ailes’s wife, who will be the publisher. “We bought it not to change it, but perhaps it will evolve over time.”
To readers, the change may be imperceptible. “It’s a really quaint paper,” Mrs. Ailes said by phone. “It reflects the community. We really like it, and that’s why Roger wanted to buy it.”
Then, gripped by some sort of mystic premonition, I added this:
I’d watch out if I were you, Mr. and Mrs. Ailes – this blogger found that the citizens of Putnam County don’t take being called “quaint” lightly…
And then I thought nothing of the matter, until I picked up the latest New Yorker – and found a lengthy article about how Ailes has scandalized many of his neighbors by using the paper to criticize Obama, condemn local teachers and promote popery… and how some readers and local journalists took umbrage and fought back. In fairness, the article (sadly only available in print or to online subscribers) concludes that the charges against Ailes are all a bit over-hyped. But, well, what can I say? Global Dashboard saw it all coming long, long before Fox or the New Yorker!