Why Dean Singleton's critics should applaud his Mizel Museum award last night

Dean Singleton haters, of which there are many, likely gagged on their Cocoa Puffs this morning while reading "Post Owner Gets Honors, Ribbing," a laudatory account of last night's Mizel Museum dinner, during which the MediaNews Group CEO and Post publisher was given the organization's Community Cultural Enrichment award. But even those who accuse him of every journalistic crime on the books should feel at least some satisfaction at the willingness of those in power to lick his Florsheims. Governor Bill Ritter's decision to serve as co-host for the festivities despite Singleton's well-documented aversion to many, if not most, of the his policies -- exemplified by a November 2007 front-page editorial excoriating Ritter for a pro-union executive order -- spoke volumes about the continuing influence of newspapers and old media as a whole. And so did the tribute letter from none other than President Barack Obama, who had the opportunity last April to listen in person as Singleton equated him with the planet's top terrorist, Freudian-slip style: During an Associated Press luncheon, Singleton asked the future prez if you could envision sending more troops to Afghanistan in light of the fact that "Obama bin Laden is still at large."

Daily newspapers may not be the monoliths they once were, but neither have they become the complete cultural anachronisms many media observers suggest. As proof, look no further than last night, when so many political strong men happily sucked up to Dean Singleton.

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