I’ve been trying real hard not to comment about the impending demise of the Rocky Mountain News, because, really, outside of sixteen people in Denver, who gives a shit? But I can’t be silent anymore. My joy overfloweth, as they say.
For those of you who don’t live in Denver, and have never heard of the paper, the Rocky’s our local print version of Fox News. Only without the strict adherence to ethical standards and the commitment to unbiased investigative journalism evinced by, say, Bill O’Reilly.
Most of the Rocky’s journalistic contribution consisted of AP retreads and syndicated columns from real newspapers, and the vast majority of the locally penned text was sports and weather coverage. But the little space they reserved for commentary and original reporting would have made Rupert Murdoch stab himself with a screwdriver in existential despair.
There were the feature articles, for instance. Which usually consisted of lengthy, self-parodic fluff pieces that read like they were scribed by a slightly less literate version of Wally Lamb. My favorite was called “The Crossing” (note that even the fucking title is a rip-off), a thirty-three part remembrance of a forty-some year old school bus accident, given us in some of the most turgid, cliché-ridden prose known to mankind. An excerpt, because you know you want it:
Five families lost two children each, and two of those families had no other kids. Cousins died. One boy’s life ended on his 10th birthday. Brothers and sisters lived, while their siblings perished.
For those left behind, that dark day reverberates in different ways. Some can’t talk about it without feeling the burn of tears in their eyes.
Some remember it with a detachment almost devoid of emotion, as though it happened to someone else.
Some give it credit for helping them do good things in their lives.
But no matter where they are and what they do, they all wonder the same thing from time to time:
How would things be different if the train hadn’t hit the bus?
How indeed? A better question: how much brighter would the world be had this article’s author, Kevin Vaughn, been on that fucking bus?
And then there were the editorial pages. Led by slobbering right-wing nutjob, Vincent Carroll, they were chock full of the kind of pro-war jingoism and Ra-Ra endorsement of the unfettered free market that’s pretty much decimated the country. There wasn’t a weapon of mass destruction they didn’t believe in, nor an instance of corporate regulation they didn’t attack. Given the consequences of Carroll’s monumental fucking stupidity, one can’t think of a worthier benefactor of the consequences of his worldview. Here’s hoping he gets to spend the next holiday season digging for his family’s dinner in a fucking dumpster.
But what the Rocky really specialized in was the smear campaign, their most glaring example being their assault on CU Professor Ward Churchill, for daring to express an opinion about US foreign policy that differed from the Rocky. Whether it be hiring anti-Churchill bloggers to, like, prove that Ward Churchill wasn’t an Indian; ignoring the final result of Churchill’s appeals process at CU, wherein the shoddiness of the trumped-up report that lead to his firing was highlighted; or trolling the earth for any rapist, murderer, or lunatic who had a bone to pick with Churchill, there was no low to which the Rocky wouldn’t sink. To paraphrase, Christopher Hitchens, beneath every one of the Rocky’s gutters, there was a new sewer.
Which, again, makes the demise of the Rocky that much more joyful. If there’s any other gang of sleazy cocksuckers more deserving of spending the rest of their days peddling cheeseburgers, I can’t imagine it. Nor can I imagine any greater boon to the city of Denver. With the demise of the Rocky, we’ve lost one of our city’s greatest embarrassments. I, for one, cannot fucking wait for the day I walk past the newspaper rack at the local bookstore, and see the empty slot where that indefatigably idiotic tabloid used to reside.
Yeah, it may be only a small step for journalistic standards, but it’s one giant leap for our fair cowtown.
Update: The Rocky’s media critic, Dave Kopel, has a bitter (and unintentionally hilarious) trainwreck of a piece that includes the following.
More and more people are so intellectually lazy that reading one romance novel per year is too much effort. It’s a stretch to imagine that the reason such cretins don’t subscribe to the Rocky is that, for example, they noticed its science coverage is too credulous about environmental panic-mongering.
So, let me get this straight, the Rocky’s closing its doors because it’s too intellectually demanding?
Right. The staff of the Rocky couldn’t reach middle-brow if they spent their entire combined severance packages on ladders and pogo sticks.
Sorry, Kopel. The Rocky sure as hell ain’t closing because of the cretins outside the doors. It’s the cretins inside the doors that did it in. Nice knowing you, motherfucker. When I see you hustling drinks down at the Bar Bar I’ll be sure to buy you a shot of well bourbon.
As long as you promise to choke to death on it.