What I sensed was that while the laws of supply and demand governed everything on earth, the easy money was in demand—manufacturing it, manipulating it, sending it forth to multiply, etc. As a rule of thumb (and with some notable exceptions), the profit margins you could achieve selling a good or service were directly correlated to the total idiocy and/or moral bankruptcy of the demand you drummed up for it.
This was easier to grasp if you were in the business of peddling heroin, Internet stocks, or celebrity gossip; journalists, on the other hand, [did not] understand … their role in this [charade].
In the past, newspapers had made respectable margins selling a non-inane product largely because people had little choice but to herald their sublets and white sales alongside the journalists’ tales of human suffering/corporate corruption/government ineptitude.
The times were prosperous enough that much of the print media even chose to abstain from taking a share of the demand-creation campaigns of liquor and tobacco brands…. Indeed, journalism … was about delivering important information about the world—information … democracy … needed, whether [people] knew it or not.
That journalism’s ability to deliver that information—to fill that need—ultimately depended, to an unsettling degree, on the ability to create artificial demand for a lot of stuff that people didn’t actually need—luxury condos, ergonomically correct airplane seats, the latest celebrity-endorsed scent—was an afterthought at best, at least in the newsroom.