Why Newspaper Readers Are Mad and Don’t Rent from Budget…

March 9, 2013

Why Newspaper readers are mad

Jay Jochowitz, the editorial page editor at the Times Union, complained recently on Facebook about the public’s anger in dealing with the newspaper. One commentator thought the problem stemmed from the Internet and the ability of people to rant and rave–as if letting the public speak and be heard is a bad thing in a democracy. My take is that the anger at the media stems from the breakdown of the distinction between the opinion pages and news pages.

People my age remember when stories on the New York Times news pages weren’t editorials posing as news stories. That breakdown should be seen through the prism of class. The news media is seen as a biased vehicle of those in power in this country. That means non-college educated Americans and working and middle class white males find their views treated with disdain at best in the national news media. Hence the anger, which in the case of the Times Union, is exacerbated by the fact that the TU does not allow readers to comment on news stories.

I suspect Jay and my friend Rex Smith, the TU’s editor, are in favor of allowing reader comments. Maybe they need to let corporate Hearst listen in on some of those angry phone calls. Then they can explain that one way to reduce the number and volume of those calls would be to allow readers to express their views on news stories as well as editorials.

Don’t Rent from Budget Rental Cars…

I made the mistake of renting from Budget on a recent trip to Albany. They were the first name on the list and had I known they are not on the airport, I would have skipped over them.

Having to get them to pick me up at the airport was only the start of my problems. Because it took so long for someone to pick me up, I was worried about being late for an appointment and misunderstood the agent’s explanation of gas payment options–a fact I only discovered when I turned the car in.

Now here’s why you shouldn’t rent from Budget. When I explained the problem to the agent when I dropped off my car, he told me I would have to call Budget’s 800#…which I did only to be told the Albany office is a franchise and I would have to talk to the owners. However, it’s impossible to get the owners on the phone. Either they’re not there or they pretend they’re not.

This problem is not unique to Albany. I’m in Tucson this week. One of the first stories I read in the local paper is about a similar problem. Someone was overcharged and corporate Budget tried to pass the buck blaming the franchisee.

Bottom line. Avoid Budget at all costs.