How often have you seen a 12-part newspaper investigation into government corruption or an ongoing TV news investigation into fraudulent business practices? They simply don't exist anymore. Now daily papers operate solely on a 24-hour news cycle which leaves no time for pursuing the deeper story.
So there I am in my last column agonizing over whether Canada should ban that obscene and hateful Internet video called Innocence of Muslims, when it occurs to me that it might be a really good idea to come up with an example of freedom of speech in action. Something easily understandable. Something vivid. Something gutsy.
Most newspaper journalists aren't overly-fond of their publishers. Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger who was publisher of the estimable New York Times was always a splendid exception. In fact, he put his own freedom, and his newspaper's very existence, on the line because he believed absolutely in the public's right to know. Punch Sulzberger died Saturday and got a send-off few publishers anywhere have ever earned.